The Best Muscle Building Exercises

First of all, the best muscle building exercises train more than one muscle group at a time. These are known as multi joint or compound movements.

Here are four core exercises that should be included in your routine if you're serious about building muscle:

  • squats
  • deadlifts
  • bench presses
  • military presses

You can build muscle fast by including these exercises in your routine.

(For the best exercises for each individual muscle group, see this article)


Squats are one of the most avoided exercises, but they're probably the most effective exercise you can do for muscle building and fat burning.

No list of muscle building exercises is complete without including squats.

Many weight trainers avoid doing squats. One of the reasons is that they’re hard! They use up a lot of energy.

Squats train your quads mainly, but here is a full list of muscle groups that are recruited when you do a squat:

  • quadriceps
  • hamstrings
  • core muscles (abdominal area)
  • hip flexors
  • glutes
  • erector spinae (postural muscles)
Squats actually help build your entire body – top to bottom! How?

When you squat your body releases large amounts of growth hormone. An increase in growth hormone puts your body in a more anabolic (muscle building) state.


Deadlifts are another killer muscle building exercise. They train your

  • hamstrings
  • quadriceps
  • upper back
  • lower back
  • glutes
  • core

Just like squats, when you do deadlifts you’ll see gains in other parts of your body.

Bench Press

Call me crazy, but push ups will probably always be my favorite chest exercise because they work so many muscles. However…

The bench press may be the most effective exercise for building size and increasing strength in your chest area.

In addition to chest, your shoulders and triceps get some work when you bench.

Military Press

The military press is great for building cannonball shoulders. Your triceps and traps are other muscle groups that are worked when you do military presses.

There you have it - the best muscle building exercises. Do not train without including these exercises in your routine.

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