I’m a Trainer, and These Are 24 of My Favorite Muscle-Building Exercises

4. Single-Arm Row

  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand — 10 pounds is a good starting point — and place your left knee and left hand on a bench. Your hand should be underneath your shoulder and your knee should be underneath your hip. Your spine and head should be in a neutral position.
  • Engage your core, relax your shoulders, and extend your right arm towards the floor. Do not rotate your torso or let your shoulder lower towards the floor.
  • On an exhale, pull the dumbbell up with control, driving your elbow towards the ceiling. Do not rotate your torso.
  • On an inhale, lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position. This completes one rep.

5. Dumbbell Walking Lunge

Dumbbell Walking Lunge

  • Stand upright, feet together, with 10-pound dumbbells at your side. Take a controlled step forward with your left leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. Your back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over your ankle.
  • Press your left heel into the ground, and push off with your right foot to bring your right leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side. This completes one repetition.

6. Deadlift With Knee Drive

  • If you’re a beginner, you can do this exercise without weight. For more advanced levels, grab a set of dumbbells. Ten pounds is a good starting point.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and stand tall.
  • Engage your core, and keep your spine neutral as you begin to hinge at your hips, pushing your hips backward. At the same time, lift your left leg off the ground. Be sure to keep your left foot dorsiflexed (don’t point your toes). Continue to hinge at your hips until your back is parallel to the ground; your leg should be in line with your back. Your back should be flat, and your head/neck should be in a neutral position.
  • Return to your standing position without placing your left foot on the ground. Once you’re upright, drive your left knee up, creating a 90-degree angle at your knee joint. Your left foot should still be dorsiflexed. Be sure to stay tall and keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement. This counts as one rep.

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