Top 10 Exercises And Workouts To Build Muscles

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Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of different exercises and workout techniques that people suggest you for building muscles? Does the confusion make you lose interest when your efforts don’t yield the desired results? If that is the case, you have come to the right place. In order to pick a correct exercise to develop those brawny muscles, it is important to know about different muscle groups and what exactly is worth trying.

For better understanding, we have categorized the muscles into several muscle groups. Check out the top ten workouts for developing the most important muscle groups. Check out what actually works in order to dispel your myths and avoid disappointment.

Exercise for Building Muscles – Top 10 Exercises

Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles, better known as abs, form the front part of the torso, i.e., the stomach. It is vital to know that abdominal muscles are not supposed to be stretched. They need to be strengthened instead. There are 2 most effective exercises to strengthen the abs.a

1. Twisting Crunches: 

Twisting crunches are good for the abs as well as the obliques, a group of muscles forming the side of the body.

Step 1: Lie down flat on your back on an exercise mat.

Step 2: Bend your knees and make sure the soles of the feet are flat on the floor.

Step 3: Put both hands behind the neck and make sure the chin doesn’t touch the neck.

Step 4: The gravity offers a resistance. Raise your back, pulling yourself up by utilizing the power of the abdominal muscles. Make sure you don’t twist your neck while performing the crunch. You have to twist your torso instead, in such a way, that your left elbow tips towards the right side, at the knee.

Similarly, simple crunches can also help fortify the abdominal muscles.

2. Leg Raises: 

Exercise For Building Muscles - Leg Raises
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Leg raises is an amazing exercise for core muscles for toning the abs. It can be performed on an exercise mat or on a bench.

Step 1: Lie down flat on your back on an exercise mat, with your arms lying on the ground by your sides and palms flat on the floor.

Step 2: Slowly raise both legs at 90 degrees, so that they are in alignment with the hips. Gently bring down the legs at an angle of 45 degrees.

Step 3: Raise them back again so that they align with your hips. Continue this workout for a minute or two, or till you can sustain.

Step 4: Slowly bring the legs back on the ground and rest for a minute, and continue to exercise again.

Initially you may bend the knees a little to make it work. You can also use your hands to support your lower back as you raise the legs.

3. Erector Spinae: 

Exercise For Building Muscles - Erector Spinae
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The erector spinae are the muscles of the lower back. In the world of fitness, trainers emphasize on strengthening the lower back a lot. The Cat Stretch is the most efficient workout for the lower back muscles.

Step 1: As the name suggests, this exercise needs you to position your body like a cat. You need to get on all fours, on an exercise mat.

Step 2: Imagine yourself as a table. Your arms should be just under the shoulders and knees just under the hips. Your shins should be flat on the ground, pointing backwards.

Step 3: Make sure your fingers are spread out and pointing forwards. You should be looking at the ground.

Step 4: Now, slowly push your tummy towards the spine, so that your spine forms an outward curve. Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds and take long, deep breaths.

Step 5: As you come back to normal position, gently breathe out. Do this exercise for 4 to 6 times again.


These muscles are the one in our buttocks. This is yet another major muscle group that can add oomph to your look, if properly developed. Squats and leg press are the best ways to get a shapely butt.

4. Squats: 

Squats workouts
Image: Shutterstock

Step 1: Stand straight with your legs two feet apart from each other. Extend your hands in front of your chest, so that they face forward. Take a breath.

Step 2: Now, you have to keep the weight on your heels and bend your buttocks backwards a little. Your knees would bend as well, causing your butt and thigh muscles to stretch. Keep your back straight.

Step 3: Breathe out. Come back up to stand straight again. Keep going for at least 20 squats, initially. You may go up to 30-40 squats in one go, if your stamina permits.

5. Leg Press:

Exercise For Building Muscles - Leg Press
Image: Shutterstock

You would be surprised to know that leg press helps build not only the gluteus muscles, but also front muscles of the thighs (quadriceps) and hamstring muscles.

Step 1: Leg presses are done using specialized equipment, i.e., the leg press machine. Position yourself comfortably on the seat of the machine and place your feet at a distance of one foot from each other, on the platform in front of you. Make sure your soles lie flat against the surface of the platform.

Step 2: The knees should be perpendicular to the feet and in front of your chest. This posture ensures you are seated properly on the machine. Hold on to the safety handle bars on the side of the machine.

Step 3: Now, take a breath and let it out. Push the platform forward with your heels till your legs become completely straight in front of you. The resistance offered by the weight behind the platform helps strengthen the butt and thigh muscles.

Step 4: Breathe in again; return to the original position by bending the knees to bring them in front of the chest and perpendicular to the knees again.

[ Read: Isometric Exercises And Their Benefits ]

6. The Quadriceps: 

The quadriceps is the muscle in the frontal part of the thigh. The leg press and squats explained above are very much beneficial to build up the quadriceps. There is one more workout known as lunges, which can give you fabulous thighs. This exercise can also be done without dumbbells. People with knee issues should not do this workout, as it puts a lot of pressure on the knees.

Step 1: Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand.

Step 2: Put your right leg forward, approximately 2 to 3 feet, bend forward and flex the knee so that your shin is perpendicular to the ground. Flex the left knee as well, so that it almost touches the ground.

Step 3: Stay in that position for a moment.

Step 4: Use the heel of the right foot (the forward foot in this case) and go back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat with the left leg forward. Perform the workout for the number of times advised by the trainer.

The Hamstrings

As explained earlier, hamstrings are the muscles of the back of the thigh. Apart from squats, leg extensions and leg curls are a great way to strengthen and tone up the hamstrings.

7. Leg Extension:

This workout is performed on a leg extension machine that has a leg pad; this works like a weight to offer resistance. It is advisable to perform this workout under the supervision of a trained fitness expert. Let us warn you that leg extension is not suitable for people with knee problems. Leg extension must be performed using lightweight or no weight at all, so as not to cause undue stress to the knee joints.

Step 1: Take a position on the leg extension machine so that your back is straight against the support and your knees perpendicular to the ground. Gently hold on to the handle bars at the side of the machine.

Step 2: Breathe out. Lift the leg pad upwards using the lower part of the legs by straightening your knees in front of you.

Step 3: Take a breath. Come back to the starting position by bringing your leg down again. Repeat the workout.

8. Leg Curls:

Leg curls are also performed using a machine. Another perfect exercise to make muscles! The machine offers substantial resistance needed for the development of the hamstrings. This particular workout is popularly known as ‘seated leg curls’.

Step 1: Take a comfortable position on the leg curl machine so that your back is straight against the support pad. Make sure the adjustments of the machine are tinkered according to your height.

Step 2: Your knee should be perpendicular to the ground. The lower part of the leg should be right in front of the leg pad. Rest the lap pad in your lap, just a little below the thighs. Hold on to the safety handle bars of the lap pad.

Step 3: Raise the legs to make them completely straight in front of you. This is the starting position. Pull the leg pad back with your thighs by bending the knees and hold on for a moment. Do not flex your torso. Use the power of your leg muscles only.

Step 4: Breathe out and return back to the original position, and repeat the workout.

[ Read: Triceps Exercises And Their Benefits ]


This muscle group is situated in the mid-back and upper back. Learn the right exercise for building muscles. Upright rows and shoulder shrugs are the two most effective workouts for building back muscles.

9. Upright Rows: 

The upright rows workout can be performed using a barbell or dumbbell, depending upon your stamina. It helps build and strengthen the muscles of the shoulders as well.

Step 1: Clutch onto the bar of the barbell at shoulder width while you stand with your back straight.

Step 2: Pull the barbell upwards towards your shoulders. The wrists would twist slightly as you raise the barbell.

Step 3: Take a breath while you lower the barbell. Repeat the exercise as advised by the trainer.

10. Shoulder Shrug:

The shoulder shrug is a workout performed with the help of a dumbbell set. This is a great exercise for shoulder muscles to build the traps for beginners who wish to give a pass to the upright barbell rows.

Step 1: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your back straight. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart from one another.

Step 2: Now, slowly raise your shoulders upwards as you normally give a shrug. Raise them as high as possible. Don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.

Step 3: Hold on for a moment and slowly bring them back to normal position. Repeat the exercise as advised by the trainer.

[ Read: Top Ten Strength Training Exercises ]

We hope your doubts are quite clear. You now know what muscle groups are important and how their proper development can enhance your physique. All you need to do is, perform these exercise for building muscles with utmost dedication under the supervision of trained professionals and follow a healthy dietary regimen.

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Maanasi Radhakrishnan
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