Exercises to Gain Weight

While most people struggle to lose weight, there are several who face the opposite challenge: gaining weight.

If you are underweight or want to tone your body with some muscle gain, it is essential to follow the right regimen of diet and exercise.

It is important that you gain muscle and not fat, so that your body stays lean and healthy, and puts on weight in a safe manner.

Just like weight loss, weight gain also has to come through a regular and consistent routine that suits your body.

Can Exercising Help You Gain Weight?

Working out is often associated with fat loss, but it just as effectively increases muscle mass given that you are picking the right exercises for your body.

To build muscle, your regimen will include less aerobics and cardio – which burn calories and fat – and more strength training exercises.

These will strain your muscles and, when done consistently over a period of time, help you gain weight and attain a lean body. There are several exercises that can help you gain weight safely.

Here are our top picks!

1. Push-Ups

This common exercise can be extremely difficult to pull off if you have never done a push-up before. Start slow, and build your stamina over several days or weeks.

Targeted Muscles: Chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

  • Lie down on your stomach with your hands flat on the ground at shoulder-width.
  • Bend your elbows and place your toes on the ground.
  • Tighten your core and slowly push your body off the ground while putting weight on your hands.
  • Keep your elbow slightly tucked in. Raise your body until your arms are completely stretched.
  • Gradually lower your body while bending your elbows. Make sure your body stays off the ground except for your hands and toes.

If this is your first time doing a push-up and it seems impossible to do, you can rest your lower body on your knees instead of your toes. Build strength with knee pushups until you are ready to do a proper pushup.

Ideally, you should build your strength up to at least 10 reps. You can eventually take it a step up by doing various versions like diamond pushups.

2. Pull-Ups

To do pull-ups, you will either need to be at the gym or use a high-quality and steady pull-up bar that you can install in your home gym. If you don’t already have one, find pull-up rigs, bars, and other accessories at Nirvana Fitness.

Targeted Muscles: Biceps, back, and forearms.

  • Grab the pull-up bar with your hands facing outwards and placed at shoulder-width.
  • The bar should be at a height that completely stretches your arms while your feet touch the ground.
  • Pull yourself up towards the bar till your feet are lifted off the ground.
  • A perfect pull-up will be achieved when your chin raises above the level of the bar.
  • Slowly lower your body back down till your feet rest on the ground.
  • Repeat according to your stamina.

3. Squats

This is one of the simplest but most effective lower body exercises to gain weight and safely build muscle.

Targeted Muscles: Thighs, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

  • Stand with your back straight and your feet spread to hip-width.
  • Extend your arms in front of you and clasp your hands. This will aid form and balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes, tighten your stomach, and lower your body, pushing your butt outwards while keeping your spine as straight as possible.
  • As you lower your body, your knees should not cross your toes and your body weight should be on your heels.
  • Bend until your thighs are parallel to the ground. A full squat goes even lower until the hips are lower than the knees.
  • Hold the position for 2-3 seconds.
  • Slowly push your body back up till you are standing upright again.
  • Repeat at least 5 times or according to your stamina.

As you build strength, you can begin holding weights while doing squats. You can also do a low-impact version in the beginning by supporting yourself against a wall. These are called wall squats.

4. Bench Press

You will need a flat bench and a weighted bar to do this exercise. Make sure you keep the weight on the bar low at first and gradually build up depending on how well you are doing since you can injure yourself with excessive weight.

If you are a beginner, it is best to carry this out with a helper for safety. For your very first time, lift the bar without any weights to first understand the exercise.

Targeted Muscles: Triceps, shoulders, chest, and back.

  • Lie down with your back flat on the bench.
  • Grab the bar with both hands, using all your fingers.
  • Take a deep breath and extend your arms to lift the bar up until your arms are fully stretched upwards.
  • Lock your elbows and slowly bring your arms down until the bar lowers to your chest.
  • Bring the bar to the original position.
  • Repeat 4-5 times or according to your stamina.

5. Bench Dips

This exercise will need a gym bench or a weighted surface that is unlikely to move or slip. It is a difficult exercise to master but is incredibly efficient in building muscle mass.

Targeted Muscles: Triceps, shoulders, and chest.

  • Stand with your back to the bench.
  • Grip the edges of the bench with your palms flat and your fingers towards the ground.
  • Extend your legs forward till they are fully stretched.
  • Slowly lower your buttocks while bending your elbows.
  • Lower until your arms are at a 90-degree angle at the forearm.
  • Use your triceps to slowly pull yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat 4-5 times or as comfortable.

Along with these effective weight-gain exercises, it is recommended that you change your diet to include more lean proteins, eggs, and whole-grain foods.

You should also aim for lifestyle changes like adequate sleep and reduced alcohol and smoking to reap the most benefit.

Set realistic goals for yourself; start small and simple, and slowly increase the difficulty as your stamina increases.

Remember that slow and steady weight gain is safe, healthy, and lasting.

About The Author:

Ken Zhang, has been involved in the fitness industry for the last 8 years. Ken’s passion for all things fitness, in particular power-lifting and strength training. Ken’s interests in weightlifting and bodybuilding extended to the supply of gym equipment to both commercial gyms and to the home enthusiast. Having to source equipment himself, Ken found a gap in the market for decent quality equipment at a reasonable price matched with quality customer service to go with it. Nirvana Fitness was born in 2018.

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