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

13. Dumbbell Squat

Dumbbell Squat

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell at each shoulder.
  • Slowly bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping all the weight in your heels. Don’t let your knees move beyond your toes, and don’t let the knees roll out or in. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted, your spine long, and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Press through your heels, and slowly straighten your legs to stand up. Make sure to keep your spine neutral. Do not round your back.

Trainer tip: use 15-pound dumbbells. If that’s too heavy or too light, change the weight.

14. Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint.
  • Exhale and lift both arms to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then, with control, lower the dumbbells back toward the ground. This completes one rep.

15. Barbell Hip Thrust

Barbell Hip Thrust

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett

  • Sitting on the floor with your legs extended, rest your back against a stable bench.
  • Place a towel or shoulder cushion on the bar for comfort (optional). Roll the barbell over your thighs until the bar is directly above your hip joints.
  • Brace your core. As you drive your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips up to full extension, meaning your hips are even with your knees.
  • With control, lower back down to the ground.
  • This is one repetition.

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