Muscle Building Exercises – The Top 9 Exercises

muscle growthHey Everyone!

I want to share with you the Top 9 Exercises for Muscle Growth. I will break this down with an introduction and three exercises today, three in the next post, and finish off with three in the following post.

Let’s get started!

An Intro, of sorts…

arnold schwarzenegger

If we are being honest with ourselves, the main purpose of going to the gym is to increase the size of our muscles. Kn order to do this, we must get stronger. In order to get stronger, we need to focus less on single-joint movements (isolation) and focus more on multi-joint movements (compound).

I discussed compound exercises in this article and there is a link to an excellent article. There will be a bit of a repeat in this article, but it is well worth the read.

The nine exercise that will be highlighted in these article should form the foundation of your training plan. In other words, you MUST include them in any routine you are using. These exercises are beneficial in many ways:

  • Help you build overall strength – the stronger you get, the more weight you can push and pull. The more weight you can push or pull, the more muscle you can build
  • Work on multiple muscle groups at the same time – this will ensure a well-balanced program and a well-structured frame on which to build muscle
  • Increase testosterone and growth hormone production – both of these hormones are essential in muscle growth, recuperation, and bone strengthening
  • Increase metabolic rate – increasing your metabolic rate will assist in burning fat. The lower your body fat percentage, the more testosterone you will produce. Also, a faster metabolism will allow organisms to grow and reproduce (testosterone, and growth hormone).

I think we would all agree that Arnold Schwarzenegger was strong and muscular, and he is quoted as saying:arnold schwarzenegger

To get big, you have to get strong. Beginning and intermediate bodybuilders shouldn’t be concerned with refinement as with growth”

Arnold believed that executing these nine moves with perfect form, and continuing to challenge yourself physically and mentally with progressively heavier weights (while maintaining perfect form) was the most critical component of gaining strength and size.

So here they are, in no particular order of importance. Just remember to include all nine exercises into your workouts throughout the week. These exercises should be the foundation of your program. Keep track of the weight you are using, the number of reps and sets, and how you feel at the end. If you were completely pushing yourself near the end of the sets and reps, then you are using the correct weight. If you think you have more left in the tank, and you are done the sets and reps for the day, then increase the weight the next time you perform the exercise.

Keep pushing yourself while keeping perfect form.

Good luck!

Exercise # 1 – Deadlift


The deadlift is the exercise that uses the most muscle groups – eight in total, simultaneously. It is considered the “King” of mass building, and has many benefits:

  • As mentioned, 8 muscle groups are used at once. This forces your body to grow symmetrically due to the fact that there is an equal amount of strength needed in all muscle groups to execute the exercise
  • Core stability will be increased as you perform this exercise properly as all the major muscle groups responsible for posture and core strength are used.
  • Strengthening of the supporting muscles of the waist, hips, glutes and lower back will also occur
  • Grip strength will also improve, provided you perform this exercise without any external grip assistance such as wrist straps, wraps, or weight belts. An improved grip will benefit many other exercises that you will need to perform to build mass
  • Your testosterone level will increase. Testosterone is only produced in our bodies when the brain senses that we need more testosterone. By performing the deadlift, and constantly pushing yourself to increase the weight you are using, your brain will send the signal to produce more testosterone.


The process of completing s deadlift is a little more complex than just gripping the bar and lifting. As I have said many times before, I am not an expert, but someone who wants you to be as strong and muscular and healthy as you can be, so I will include a video here that shows the best possible way to stay safe while lifting as much weight as possible in your deadlift.

That’s one. On to the next exercise.

Exercise # 2 – Shoulder Press

shoulder press

Even though the word shoulder is in the name of the exercise, don’t mistake the shoulder press as an isolation exercise. Yes, the shoulder press will build your shoulder muscles, all three of them (anterior or front deltoids, lateral or middle deltoids, and posterior or rear deltoids). But it will also engage many other muscles such as your traps, your biceps, your triceps and your upper chest to name a few.

By developing strong shoulders, you will increase your ability to perform other exercises with ease, and therefore with more weight. Strong shoulders will allow you to perform bench presses, dips, push-ups, back rolls and many other exercises with greater ease.

There are a variety of ways you can perform a shoulder press. You can use dumbbells or a barbell. You can do them in front of your head or behind your head. You can have your palms facing you or away from you. You can even include a twist on the way up from palms facing you to palms away (also known as the Arnold Press) for some added stress on your shoulder muscles and therefore greater growth.

Please enjoy this video as a demonstration of how to perform a shoulder press.

Remember, this exercise can also be performed seated, just be sure you are doing the exercise safely and not using the bench as a crutch to assist in lifting more weight.

Exercise # 3 – Classic Push-ups

push up

The classic push-up engages a plethora of muscle groups: chest, arms, shoulders, back, abdominals, and the core in general. It is such a great exercise, yet we often forget to include it in our routines. Again, this is an exercise that will have benefits to other exercises as you get stronger and perform it regularly.

The push-up will add size to your pectoral muscles, and can be done with absolutely no equipment. It is in fact, better at building chest strength than the bench press, as the push-up does not take your abs, legs, or back out of the movement.

The classic push-up also build great core strength, as you must maintain the plank position throughout the exercise.

Just start doing them, and you will notice an increase in your ability to perform many other exercises. When they become easy, and you can do 15 – 30 reps with ease, you can start adding plates to your back to increase the difficulty.

There are also many varieties of pus-ups that you can do: diamond, wide grip, decline, incline, one foot in the air, clapping, battle rope push-ups, shoulder tap, etc.

Here are a couple of videos to assist you in adding push-ups to your routine.

Last Words

So there you have it. Three of the nine best exercise you can perform for muscle growth. Keep in mind that these are just thepush up basis of your workout routine. Start with these. You will need to research and add other exercises of your choice to make a complete workout, which is generally two or three exercises per body part, performing three sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Stay tuned for the other exercises. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

See you in the next post.

Have a great day!

Tom Fitzsimmons

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