When it comes to selecting the best muscle building exercises from the thousands of different bodybuilding exercises that are popular these days, it can be a difficult job to narrow the list down to a manageable number of only the best bodybuilding exercises. What you find with nearly all of the exercises that are popular these days, is that each and every movement is either knock off of one of the basic free weight exercises or a unique movement designed to target an individual muscle group. If your goals include building muscle mass naturally, then it’s vital that you record a short and manageable list of the muscle building exercises that have been proven to help your muscles get stronger and grow.
Sure it’s true that nearly any muscle building exercise will induce muscle growth up to a certain point, there is one style of free weight training in particular that has stood the test of time, basic free weight exercises. While certainly not flashy or trendy compound exercises are the most basic free weight exercises around and are very effective at helping you gain muscle mass and increase your strength levels simultaneously.
The best part of basic free weights exercises lies in the fact that they allow you to train with heavy weights through a complete range of motion that typically works multiple body parts and multiple joints. This allows you to induce muscle growth in more than one muscle group by performing only one exercise. If you incorporate these types of free weights exercises you’re all but guaranteed to get the most out of your time in the gym.
That being said, there are a lot of compound muscle building exercises and variations of those exercises, so which exercises are the most effective for stimulating muscle growth? As with anything in the bodybuilding realm, the specific exercises that you decide to incorporate into your workouts will be based completely upon your preferences and goals. What works well for me may be impractical for you, so make sure to take the time to identify the best bodybuilding exercises for your needs!
Listed below is my go-to list of the most effective muscle building exercises. These are the exercises that make up about 98% of all of my body building workouts. While basic, focusing on these muscle building exercises most of the time allows me to continue to progress in a steady fashion over time, rather than peaking right away and plateauing out.
My Favorite Muscle Building Exercises
- Barbell Squat
- Lunges (Barbell or Dumbbell)
- Weighted Step Ups
- Stiff Legged Deadlift
- Barbell Rows
- Dumbbell Rows
- Lying Triceps Press
- Overhead Triceps Extensions
- Barbell Curls
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls
- Bench Press (Barbell or Dumbbell)
- Incline Press (Barbell or Dumbbell)
- Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
- Seated DB Shoulder Press
- Barbell Shrugs
You probably noticed that a few of these exercises are technically not compound movements. In order to target certain muscle groups (like your traps and shoulders), you will need to perform some isolation movements. In order to make sure that I’m getting most out of them however, I incorporate isolation exercises that allow me to train with a heavy weight. Any movement that limits my range of motion too much will not allow me to train heavy.
Stop loading up your workouts with less effective isolation movements and start getting the most out of your time in the gym. If you mix in these basic yet effective bodybuilding exercises into your workouts and put some effort into training as intensely as possible, you’ll begin to gain muscle mass and strength quicker than you ever thought you could.
Nick Andrade is a certified personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant who specializes in helping people gain muscle mass quickly and naturally. If you found these exercise tips helpful, check out Nick’s muscle building exercises guide for more techniques, exercise demonstrations and free muscle building workouts. While you’re there make sure to sign up for 6 weeks of free bodybuilding workouts!