Build Muscle With These Exercises

The easiest way to train all the muscle groups in the body is by breaking down the movements into categories. Below you will find eleven different categories. Each category addresses multiple muscle groups.

Upper Body Based Movements

  1. Vertical Push ( overhead pressing)
  2. Vertical Pull (pull ups, pulldowns)
  3. Horizontal Push ( bench press) 
  4. Horizontal Pull (bent over row, inverted row)

Lower Body Based Movements

  1. Bilateral hip dominant  (deadlift)
  2. Unilateral hip dominant (single leg deadlift)
  3. Bilateral knee dominant  (squat)
  4. Unilateral knee dominant (lunges)

Core Based Movements

  1. Abdominal Anti- Extension (plank)
  2. Abdominal Anti- Rotation  ( pallof press)
  3. Anti-Lateral Flexion   (side plank) 

For example, in a vertical push movement (overhead pressing) you are working the upper pec, tricep and shoulder. And if we wanted to train the opposite muscle groups we would do a vertical pull. When you break movements down into categories it prevents muscle imbalances from forming. 

For each category I selected five exercises in order of difficulty. The first exercise listed will be for a beginner and the last one for someone who is more advanced. I have selected these exercises based off my experience as a personal trainer. Granted, there are 100s of exercises that work very well and you could make a case for those exercises too. But the exercises below have worked very well for my clients and I believe they will work for you too. 

Your goal should be to perform at least one exercise from each category throughout the week. That means you must perform at least 11 exercises by the end of the week. For each exercise perform between 8-12 reps by 2-4 sets and rest for a minute between the sets. 


Horizontal Push: Bench Press

Reps: 10

Sets: 3 

Rest: 1 minute

  • Unilateral Vertical Push
  1. Half Kneeling Press
  2. Seated Press
  3. Tall Kneeling Press
  4. Landmine Press
  5. Standing Offset Press
  • Bilateral Vertical Push
  1. Kneeling Press
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Military Barbell Press
  4. Feet Elevated Pike Pushups
  5. Handstand Wall Holds
  • Vertical Pull
  1. Half Kneeling Single Arm Pull-down
  2. Tall Kneeling Pull-down
  3. Static Chin Up Holds
  4. Chin Ups/ Pullups
  5. Weighted Chin Ups/ Pull Ups
  • Horizontal Push
  1. Neutral Floor Press (DB/ Barbell)
  2. Pushup
  3. Bench Press (DB/ Barbell)
  4. Feet Elevated Pushup
  5. Dip
  • Horizontal Pull
  1. Inverted Row (suspension trainer or bar)
  2. Seated Low Cable Row
  3. Single Arm 3-Point Row
  4. Barbell Bent Over Row
  5. Feet Elevated Inverted Row
  • Bilateral Hip Dominant
  1. Nordic Hamstring Curl
  2. Barbell Hip Thrust
  3. Sumo/Romanian/Conventional Deadlift
  4. Barbell Good Morning
  5. Kettlebell Swing
  • Unilateral Hip Dominant
  1. Single Leg Hip Thrust
  2. Single Leg Barbell Glute Bridge
  3. Barbell Split Squat
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbells or Barbell)
  5. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
  • Bilateral Knee Dominant
  1. Bear Squat
  2. Goblet Squat
  3. Offset Kettlebell Squat
  4. Barbell Front Squat (Kettlebells can be used too) 
  5. Barbell Back Squat
  • Unilateral Knee Dominant 
  1. Anterior Loaded Barbell Step Ups 
  2. Anterior Loaded Reverse Barbell Lunge
  3. Anterior Loaded Barbell Cossack Squat
  4. Loaded Bowler Squats
  5. Counterbalance Pistol Squat
  • Abdominal Anti- Extension
  1. RKC Plank
  2. Dead Bug
  3. Reverse Crunch
  4. Bent Leg Hollow Hold 
  5. Ab Wheel  /   Suspension Roll Outs
  • Abdominal Anti- Rotation
  1. Half Kneeling Anti Rotation Cable Chop
  2. Tall Kneeling Pallof Press
  3. Wide Stance Anti-Rotation with Rope
  4. Prone Plate Switch
  5. Standing Landmine Anti-Rotation
  • Anti-Lateral Flexion
  1. Side Plank
  2. Suitcase Deadlift
  3. Suitcase Carry
  4. Offset Kettlebell Front Rack Walk
  5. Single Arm Overhead Carry  
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