If you’re looking to gain muscle, you’ll want to make the most of your gym time. Here’s a list of 10 exercises that are guaranteed to help you build strength and mass.
Squats are king as they engage multiple major muscle groups at the same time, including your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. What’s more, this compound movement activates a strong hormonal response, which is critical for muscle growth.
Along with squats, deadlifts should also form the cornerstone of any weightlifting program aimed at gaining muscle mass. If done with proper technique, the deadlift is a great muscle-building exercise that targets the posterior chain, including your glutes, hamstrings, core, back and trapezius muscles.
The bench press is an excellent compound exercise for gaining upper-body muscle, specifically targeting the chest, triceps and shoulders. Like deadlifts and squats, it also triggers a powerful hormonal release that can lead to significant gains.
That’s where the row comes in. There are so many different types of rows to choose from (e.g., bent-over row, seated cable row, renegade row, Pendlay row) that no matter where you’re at in your fitness journey, you’re sure to find a good option for gaining muscle.
Pull-ups (and chin-ups) are a must for anyone looking to build a strong, muscular back, arms and shoulders. The pull-up is definitely a challenging exercise—and a thrill when you crank out your first one unassisted!
A balancing exercise to the pull-up, the overhead press is another excellent compound movement that targets the upper body, specifically the shoulders, triceps and upper back.
The dip is a classic upper-body exercise that allows you to pack on muscle in the chest, triceps and shoulders. The dip is an excellent body-weight exercise that you can often do outside at a park, after a run.
If you’re looking to build your booty, the hip thrust is a must. By isolating and targeting the posterior chain—primarily the glutes and hamstrings—hip thrusts promote significant muscle activation and growth, especially as you increase the weight.
Lunges are one of the best muscle-building exercises because they engage multiple lower-body muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Plus, their unilateral nature provides an excellent opportunity to correct muscle imbalances.
curls are a great way to target the biceps and add mass to your arms. There are lots of variations to choose from to challenge the muscles and keep the gains coming. Bicep curls are best performed toward the end of a workout, after you’ve completed your bigger lifts.