My Top 10 Exercises for Building Muscles & Strength

In this article, I'll share my top 10 exercises that I would choose to do if I were limited to just these for the rest of my life. This list is inspired by Chris Williamson, who frequently poses this question to health and fitness experts on his podcast, Modern Wisdom.

Top 10 Exercises for Building Muscles & Strength

1 - High Bar Squat

The high bar squat is an exceptional exercise for developing the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. It also engages the upper back and core muscles, particularly when performed with heavy weights. Whether trained with low or high repetitions, the high bar squat is invaluable for building both strength and muscle mass. Its superior range of motion aids in maintaining and enhancing knee and hip joint health.

2 - Barbell Conventional Deadlift

Similar to the high bar squat, the barbell deadlift targets the hamstrings and glutes effectively. This compound movement mimics real-life activities such as lifting heavy objects from the ground, making it highly functional. Additionally, the deadlift strengthens the core and significantly enhances grip strength.

3 - Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Instead of the traditional barbell bench press, I opt for the incline dumbbell bench press for its added benefits. This exercise primarily targets the chest and triceps while also engaging the shoulders for stabilization due to the incline angle, which provides a greater range of motion compared to the flat bench.

4 - Pull-Up

The pull-up is an excellent upper body exercise that primarily works the lats and biceps. It also promotes scapular stability and strengthens grip, contributing to overall upper body strength and stability.

5 - Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

While considered more of an assistance exercise compared to the previous ones, the rear foot elevated split squat offers a unique stimulus by challenging unilateral movement. This exercise helps maintain balance, prevents muscle imbalances, and strengthens stabilizing muscles.

6 - Seated Cable Row

Among various horizontal row variations, the seated cable row is my preferred choice. Incorporating horizontal rows into your routine is crucial for back development, posture improvement, and shoulder health. Plus, a strong back enhances overall aesthetics.

7 - Hanging Leg Raises

As we near the end of the list, it's essential to target smaller muscles for extra attention. Hanging leg raises effectively strengthen the core muscles and also improve grip strength, benefiting spine health and longevity.

8 - Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Direct shoulder work is vital and often overlooked. Dumbbell lateral raises effectively target the shoulder muscles, promoting both aesthetics and shoulder strength and stability when performed correctly.

9 - Single Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

For nostalgic reasons and effective bicep isolation, I include the single-arm dumbbell preacher curl. This exercise targets the biceps, adding aesthetic appeal to your arm development.

10 - Tricep Dip

Completing the arm workout, tricep dips not only target the triceps but also engage the chest muscles effectively. With two back movements on this list, including additional chest work provides balance to the routine.

Let's Wrap Up!

In today's fitness industry, we're bombarded with trendy exercises and equipment. However, these 10 exercises have stood the test of time and are likely to remain essential in strength and longevity enthusiasts' programs for years to come. If you recognize the importance and benefits of these exercises but are unsure about proper execution, don't hesitate to reach out and ask for assistance!

Looking for expert guidance and top-notch facilities to master these exercises and achieve your fitness goals? Look no further than Desert Barbell Strength Gym! Renowned for its exceptional coaching and state-of-the-art equipment, Desert Barbell is your ultimate destination for strength training in Dubai.

Chris Patterson, Head of Online Coaching at Desert BarbellMeet the Author

Meet Chris Patterson, the author behind this blog and Head of Online Coaching at Desert Barbell Strength Gym. As a certified strength training expert, Chris is passionate about helping individuals achieve their fitness goals. With years of experience and a strong commitment to fitness, Chris provides unparalleled guidance and support to clients looking to improve their strength and overall well-being.

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