Blame steroids. Or cut-off tees. Or The Situation. Whatever, or whoever, the culprit is, the weight room has fallen out of vogue, replaced by supposedly more sophisticated body-sculpting methods. And while spinning classes, boot camps, and yoga deserve to be front and center in the minds of educated fitness buffs, if you want to get in the best shape of your life, experts say, you can’t ignore the basics. You need to add six classic total-body exercises to your weekly regimen—the pull-up, bench press, squat, farmer’s walk, military press, and deadlift. “These six are beneficial because they involve functional movements you use in everyday life and they work multiple muscles at once,” says Melanie Piccolo, a private trainer at Reebok Sports Club/NY. But just because you know the moves doesn’t mean you know how to get the most out of them. “You can’t just saunter into the gym, pick up a few weights, and expect to morph into Ryan Gosling,” says Jason Ferruggia, a strength coach and the author of Muscle Gaining Secrets, who designed this plan. But do them right and there’s a big payoff. “When you perform these moves with a heavy weight, you gain strength and add muscle everywhere,” Ferruggia says. That new muscle, in turn, increases your resting metabolism rate, the key to getting rid of stubborn fat and revealing muscle tone—just promise to keep your shirt on in the bar.
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