13 Best Muscle Building Exercises

muscle building exercises

When building muscle, you need to make sure that your form is correct and stick to a diet. Despite the title, there is no official “best muscle building exercises” because there are a lot of muscles to exercise that require different exercises. Here, we will discuss the muscle groups and the best muscle building exercises for those groups.

Leg Exercises to Build Muscle

Many exercises work different muscles in your legs. Some work multiple muscles and others will work specific muscles, it all depends on what you want to do. Here are some of the best exercises that you can do to build muscle on your legs.

1Back Squat

Back squats are a great exercise that everybody knows when training their legs. Many muscles are involved in these exercises but they mainly focus on your quadriceps. The back squat is to target the quadriceps although they also work other muscles.

For this exercise, we recommend that you limit the number of reps that you lift for this weight. Keep it between 4-6 reps but make sure you load up (aim for the heaviest weight you can lift) then do 3-4 sets for each workout.

2Front Squats

The front squat is where the bar will sit on your arms instead of your back. With the front squat, you won’t be loading your glutes or hamstrings and then targeting the quadriceps. To do this article, you place the bar in front of your chest and you can have your arms crossed or have a full grip. With this exercise, you avoid lifting the same weight that you would have for your back squat. These exercises are good because it allows for greater degrees of knee flexion.

3Hack Squats

Hack squats are arguably one of the best exercises for the quad muscles. It also allows you to heavily load on this workout. The majority of the gyms you go into will have a hack machine although some might not. For a hack squat alternative, place a foam roller on the wall and perform your squats whilst rolling the foam roller down the wall. This won’t work as efficiently as the machine because of the weight but, it still works the quadriceps. If you are doing this variation, we recommend you use kettlebells with a lot more reps. That way, you are still lifting weight upwards.

4Leg Press

This machine is for those that are not confident with accomplishing a front or back squat. It is a machine for pushing a heavy weight that also has a safety mechanism in place. Again, you can maximize the weight you can lift. We recommend that you stick to lower weights with this exercise if you want to put your muscles to the test.

Bicep and Triceps Exercises to Build Muscle

There are many bicep and triceps exercises to help you attain muscle mass. If you wish to gain any mass, you need to isolate the muscles alone. Here are three exercises for biceps and triceps that will help you build muscle.

5Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl

This exercise activates this muscle the most out of any other bicep exercise. If you want to get the most out of the traditional bicep curl that everybody does, we suggest that you alternate your arms. In a study, it is believed that lifters can lift more weight when doing one bicep curl and alternating instead of doing both.

So how do you do it? Sit down on the bench and make sure the backrest is 90 degrees to the seat. Whilst seated, you want to have two dumbbells in either hand and as you are curling them, alternate each arm.

6Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curl

It is similar to the seated alternating dumbbell curl, however, the angle of the backrest is slightly different. For this exercise, you want to have the dumbbells in either hand and the backrest 45 degrees or maybe a little more. Make sure your palms face forward with your exercise to target the biceps.

In terms of how heavy you want the dumbbells to be, it is entirely up to you. If you wish to gain mass, we recommend you go for smaller reps with heavier weights. If you are aiming for muscle endurance, go for a lighter weight with even more reps, roughly around the 10-12 mark.

7Standing Cable Curl

If you are one of those that use cable machines then this one’s for you. Whilst dumbbells and barbells will put more stress on the elbows, a cable works differently. This time, the cable will keep your bicep tensed throughout the workout, working it a lot harder. Not only is this a great exercise for gaining muscle mass, but it is also great for keeping your muscles endurance.

8Skull Crusher

You should include this exercise in your workout simply because of the name, it sounds intense. This exercise is for targeting your triceps however, you have to ensure that you are doing it correctly for you to be working the triceps. With the EZ barbell, we suggest that you have a close-hand grip on the bar.

This exercise can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have anybody around to spot you. Keep the weight that you know you are capable of completing your total amount of reps without your arms giving way. Another thing to mention, ensure that you are getting the best angle for you to put your triceps to the test.

9Triceps Dips

If you are an experienced gym member, triceps dips are an exercise highly recommended. In all fairness, if you are capable of lifting your body weight, we suggest that you include bodyweight exercises in your gym workout routine. The reason for this is that you will be lifting a much heavier weight during these exercises as well as working for multiple muscle groups.

With this exercise for your workout, we highly advise that you do this at the end of your workout. With the reps, we say dip until failure! Aim for three sets and make sure that all of these are until failure.

10Rope Triceps Pulldown

Finally, another cable machine exercise and this is one of my favorite exercises for triceps. Again, with a cable, your muscles tensed throughout the workout. Furthermore, with this weight, you don’t want it to be too heavy because you won’t be able to complete your reps in your sets.

When performing this exercise, we would recommend you keep your elbows tight to your ribs. That way, you are going to be targeting your triceps. Once you have fully extended your arm, pull your hands out to make a bigger V-shape with the rope.

Chest Workouts to Build Muscle

Again, many chest exercises can gain mass which works different muscles. Here are some of the best muscle building exercises you can include in your workout.

11Flat Barbell Bench Press

It is a common bench that many people will be using in the gym. Again, it can be risky to do this workout if you have nobody spotting you whilst you are doing it. With this exercise, you will be exercising both your triceps and your chest muscles. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you are lifting a weight. With this exercise, ensure that your hands are positioned at shoulder width on the bar to make sure that you are targeting your chest muscles.

12Incline Barbell Bench

The incline barbell bench needs to be performed the same as the flat bench press. The only thing that is different with this exercise is that you are angling your bench to a similar angle as the incline bicep curl. It also works different muscles on the chest.

If you are not confident with a barbell bench press, we suggest that you use dumbbells instead. You don’t need to worry about having a spot with you and it isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as a barbell bench press. However, we still recommend that you have somebody spot you to make sure your form is correct.

13Pec Fly

The pec fly can be done in two different ways. You can either use a machine or you can use dumbbells. For beginners, we would suggest that you use a pec fly machine if you have access to one. If you don’t then use dumbbells. When using the dumbbells, to have the correct form you need to bend your elbows slightly as you lower your arms, ensuring that you are focusing on your pectoral muscles.


There are many more muscle groups that you can work on when you are doing exercises to build muscle. These are just some of the common muscle building exercises you often include in your workout. If you wish to gain muscle, eat between 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of your bodyweight.

Nutrition is key if you wish to see any improvements in the gym. Make sure you are eating more calories than you usually consume and you will see the results you want. One final thing to remember, make sure you give yourself enough recovery time throughout the week. Good luck!

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I enjoy watching my local football team and trying new restaurants. Another thing I enjoy is cooking although due to my busy lifestyle, I get healthy ready meals delivered to free up time. I am a writer who has a passion for many things such as football, boxing, health, fitness and marketing. I graduated from University back in 2020 and I have been writing ever since.