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

10. Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett

  • Grab a pair of 10-pound dumbbells. Begin by placing the toes of your left foot on a bench, box, stair, or chair, with your right leg straight.
  • Make sure your right foot is out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.
  • Bend your right knee, squeeze your left glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground.
  • Press your right heel into the ground to straighten your right knee. This completes one repetition.

11. Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

  • Holding the barbell (or two dumbbells at your side), keep your arms straight and knees slightly bent.
  • Slowly bend at your hip joint, not your waist, and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight. Looking forward, not at the ground, will help you avoid rounding your back. Keep the weights close to, almost touching, your legs.
  • Squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up. Be sure not to use your back or round your spine!

Trainer tip: use 20-pound dumbbells (or a barbell). If that’s too heavy or too light, change the weight.

12. Renegade Row

Renegade Row

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios

  • Start in high plank, each hand holding onto a dumbbell that is resting on the floor. Move feet wider than shoulders.
  • Pull right elbow back, raising dumbbell toward chest, keeping right elbow close to torso, abs tight, and hips facing down.
  • Lower weight for one rep; repeat on the opposite side.

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