10 Tips for Custom-Made Muscle

Easier: Squat

Band-assisted squat

Place a stretchable band around a chinup bar and stand just behind the bar. Hold the band with both hands as you squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up.

Why it works: The band lends stability as you squat, and assists your legs as you press back up to the starting position.

Easier: Deadlift

Elevated straight-leg deadlift

Stand between two 6- to 12-inch-high boxes with your knees slightly bent, holding a barbell with an overhand grip. Bend at your hips and lower your torso until the barbell touches the boxes. Pause, and return to an upright position.

Why it works: The box limits your range of motion, helping you master the deadlift. Discover five other smart shortcuts to bigger muscles.

Easier: Chinup/Pullup

Negative chinup/pullup

Stand on a box beneath a pullup bar. Grab the bar and jump up, pulling your chest to the bar. Then take 6 to 10 seconds to lower yourself until your feet touch the box. Repeat.

Why it works: Slowly lowering your body can help build your upper-body muscles and increase the pulling power you need for chinups or pullups.

Easier: Barbell Bench Press

Negative pushup

This isn't a bench press, but it provides the same benefit. Perform a pushup, and take 6 to 10 seconds to lower your body as you keep your core tight. Once you're an inch above the ground, explosively push your body back up.

Why it works: When you slowly lower your body, you activate more muscle fibers, increasing your chest, back, and triceps strength. And be sure you don't believe any of the five muscle myths holding you back.
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