Blog Fitness Top 7 Exercises to Build Muscle and Gain Optimal Mass

Top 7 Exercises to Build Muscle and Gain Optimal Mass

Your deepest desire is to build your core, arms, shoulders, thighs, and abdomen. However, you’re uncertain of how you can achieve your muscle-building dreams in the comfort of your home. Here are 7 exercises to build muscle and guide your home reps and sets.


Fitness gurus at Medical News Today emphasize the importance of working specific muscles together to get results (17). Let’s see which exercises build muscle by working in groups together to achieve the ultimate results and muscle mass. 

Can You Gain Mass With Exercises to Build Muscle at Home?

Fortunately, Medical News Today shares the muscle groups you must work on simultaneously to achieve the best results at home (17). Four primary muscle groups should work together in exercises to achieve optimal mass building: 

  • Push Muscles: The chest, triceps, and shoulders work together to build mass. 
  • Pull Muscles: The biceps and back muscles are excellent for working together for mass. 
  • Leg Muscles: The hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quadriceps should work together. 
  • Ab or Core Muscles: The abs and core muscles work well with any other group. 

7 Exercises Needed to Build Muscle Working Multiple Groups Together

Sometimes, the best way to gain solemn muscle mass at home is to work as many groups as possible. Before targeting specific exercises to build mass at home, let’s discover seven full-body or multiple-group workouts. 

  • Barbell Row: Team USA recommends the barbell row as a multiple-muscle group workout to build mass (3). It primarily works the rhomboids, trapezius, and deltoid muscles. However, you can also gain mass in the core, upper body, and leg muscles. 
  • Bench Press: Dr. Jabeem Begum suggests using bench presses to work multiple upper-body pull and push muscles (6). For well-rounded mass, the bench press builds strength in the pectoralis major and minor, deltoids, triceps, and biceps. 
  • Deadlifts: Master of Public Health Zia Sherrell states how deadlifts work the core muscles but build mass in other regions (16). Deadlifts also build mass in the quadriceps, hamstrings, upper back, and shoulders. 
  • Hanging Leg Lifts: The Cleveland Clinic recommends leg lifts to build muscle in your core, lower back, and glutes (7). Including a hanging or pull-up movement will add the benefits of building mass in your upper body and shoulders. 
  • Planks: Physiopedia points out how planks work for multiple muscle groups throughout the body to build mass (10). It’s well-known as a core muscle-builder. However, you also work muscles from your calves to your shoulders, too. 
  • Push Press: Better Me confirms how the push press builds muscle in various body locations (11). A push press can build strength in the triceps, quads, glutes, lower back, deltoids, and core. It’s an ideal all-body mass improver. 
  • Squats: Registered Dietitian Danielle Hildreth explains that squats work in various muscle groups (4). Adding dumbbells or weights can add an upper body strength session. 
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Sets of 7 Best Exercises to Build Muscle In Different Groups

The top four are the best exercise routines to build muscle in various groups that work together. Still, you can also find additional workouts to build muscles in the arms and thighs and use your body weight. That way, you can create extra muscle mass where necessary. 

3 Exercises to Build Push Muscles

Health expert Gavin van de Walle suggests using specific push-muscle exercises to buff your chest, triceps, and shoulders (12). Complete three to four sets of these exercises while resting for two minutes between each. Do ten reps for each activity in a set.

Exercise 1: Dumbbell Incline Chest Press

  1. Hold dumbbells to your chest’s sides.
  2. Press upward until your arms extend completely.
  3. Lower your elbows back to your chest.

Exercise 2: Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  1. Keep your elbows lower than your wrist as you hold the dumbbells to the sides of your shoulders. 
  2. Extend your arms overhead by pushing upward.
  3. Hold the position for two seconds.
  4. Lower your elbows back to the start. 
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Exercise 3: Bodyweight Triceps Dips

  1. Grip the end of a chair, facing the other direction.
  2. Bend your hips and knees but keep your arms straight.
  3. Bend your arms slowly to lower your body.
  4. Stop when you feel your chest stretching.
  5. Push yourself back until your arms straighten. 

7 exercises to build muscle  

3 Exercises to Build Pull Muscles

With three exercises, fitness guru Gavin van de Walle suggests targeting your pull muscle groups (12). Complete three to four sets for each workout with two-minute rests in between. Furthermore, rep each activity in the sets ten times. 

Exercise 1: Biceps Curls

  1. Hold dumbbells with an underhand grip at shoulder width.
  2. Slowly extend the arms upward while keeping your elbows to your sides.
  3. Raise the dumbbells until they’re parallel to your shoulders.
  4. Hold them for two seconds before slowly lowering the dumbbells. 

Exercise 2: Dumbbell Shrugs

  1. Hold dumbbells in both hands to your sides.
  2. Shrug your shoulders as forcefully as possible without hurting yourself.
  3. Relax them before shrugging again.

Exercise 3: Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

  1. Hold dumbbells in both hands with an overhand grip, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees and separate your feet hip-width.
  3. Keep the dumbbells near your legs as you hinge your hips back.
  4. Bend your elbows and move them back slowly while maintaining a straight spine.
  5. Release them in a reverse position. 

3 Exercises to Build Leg Muscle Groups

Dr. Dan Brennan suggests exercises to target muscles in your legs for thicker thighs and calves (5). Complete three to four sets of Dr. Brennan’s recommendations. Rep the exercises in each set ten times to achieve greater muscle mass. 

Exercise 1: Plie Dumbbell Squats

  1. Hold dumbbells in each hand as you separate your legs wider than your shoulders. 
  2. Go as wide as comfortable with your toes facing outward.
  3. Bend your knees to lower into the squat until your knees go lower than your hips.
  4. Keep your back upright as you lower down and rise back up. 

Exercise 2: Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Stand straight with dumbbells at hip level.
  2. Hinge your hips and lower your upper torso as you bend over.
  3. Stop leaning over when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. 
  4. Your weights should be slightly lower than your knees.
  5. Stand back up by pushing your hips forward.
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Exercise 3: Reverse Lunges

  1. Hold dumbbells at your hips and sides as you spread your feet to your hips.
  2. Step backward while keeping your torso straight.
  3. Slowly bend both legs to a 90° angle while keeping your feet flat.
  4. Push back upward with both legs.
  5. Repeat the steps with the opposite leg.

Read more: Fire Up Your Muscles With Effective Resistance Bands Leg Workout

3 Exercises to Build Ab Muscles

Dr. Michael Smith recommends specific exercises to target the core muscles and build abdominal muscle mass (1). Use three to four sets for each activity, resting a minute between sets. Rep each exercise in the sets ten times for fabulous abs. 

Exercise 1: Reverse Crunches

  1. Lie with your lower back pressed against the floor.
  2. Extend your hands palm-down to your sides.
  3. Bend your knees and cross your ankles before raising them slightly.
  4. Exhale as you contract your core muscles and your ankles and rise higher.
  5. Inhale as you rest your core and lower your ankles. 
  6. Alternate between inhales and exhales. 

Exercise 2: Captain’s Chair

  1. Rest your back into a chair while sitting straight.
  2. Hold the chair’s hand rests for stability.
  3. Slowly raise your knees toward your chest.
  4. Drop them to the starting position.

Exercise 3: Plank

  1. Rest your upper torso on your forearms as you belly onto the ground.
  2. Dig your toes into the ground as you slowly raise your buttocks.
  3. Keep your back straight as you maintain the plank position for 15 seconds.
  4. Drop to the floor and repeat.

7 exercises to build muscle  

2 Exercises to Build Arm Muscle

Dr. Louise Chang recommends simple exercises to build arm muscles (13). Complete three to four sets for each activity and rest between sets. Rep each movement in the sets ten times for maximum results. 

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Exercise 1: Wide Push-Ups

  1. Place your hands palm-down next to your face as you lay flat on your belly.
  2. Keep your spine erect as you push your upper body upward.
  3. Follow the same form as you rest back down.

Exercise 2: Close-Grip Bench Press

  1. Keep your hands in line with your chest as you grip the barbell 
  2. Keep your elbows near your body with straight wrists.
  3. Lift the barbell by extending your arms, then slowly bring it to your chest.
  4. Exhale while you lift it again, and inhale as it comes down.

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2 Exercises to Build Thigh Muscles

Dr. Dan Brennan focuses on the best exercises for the leg and thigh muscles (5). Practice three to four sets of Dr. Brennan’s thigh muscle-builders. Rep each set movement ten times to see the benefits of thicker thighs. 

Exercise 1: Jump Squat

  1. Spread your toes shoulder-width without any weights in your hands.
  2. Slowly lower your body with a straight back until your hips are at a depth your mobility allows. 
  3. Forcefully jump into the air, landing back in a squat position with control. 

Exercise 2: Dumbbell Lunges

  1. Keep your feet hip-width apart with dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Step forward with one leg and a straight torso.
  3. Bend both legs to a 90° angle while keeping your feet grounded.
  4. Push yourself back with both legs.
  5. Repeat the lunge with the opposite leg.

Bodyweight Exercises to Build Muscle

Bodyweight exercises are convenient and cost-effective if you don’t want to use weights and props. Meanwhile, Harvard Medical School confirms how you can build muscle with bodyweight workouts (15). Additionally, you can use your body to condition your body. 

The New York Times recommends these bodyweight exercises to target various muscles (14):

  • Bodyweight split squats,
  • Bodyweight squats,
  • Burpee with push-ups,
  • Hanging leg raises,
  • Mountain climbers,
  • Plank,
  • Push-ups,
  • Single-leg hip raise,
  • Single-leg toe touches.

Military Workout Program to Build Muscle

High-intensity muscle-building workouts with accountability can keep you on track at home. Sometimes, home muscle-building feels limited. At this point, sign up for our military workout muscle-building program to join a boot camp of mass effect, pun intended (8). 

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Are Bodyweight Exercises Enough to Build Muscle?

Bodyweight workouts are affordable, convenient, and the most mobile-friendly options. They might build muscle slower than weighted workouts but can still build mass. Harvard Medical School lists the benefits of bodyweight exercises, including muscle mass gains (15).  

How Many Exercises Per Workout to Build Muscle?

The City University of New York recommends a greater exercise volume to build muscle mass (9). The American College of Sports Medicine suggests eight to twelve repetitions per set within a periodized program, leading to heavy sets of 1-6 reps.  (2). Focusing on various muscle groups per set is also important. 

How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group to Build Muscle?

A review by the City University of New York City emphasizes how volume sets, reps, and targeted muscle groups will increase muscle mass (9). You should target the six major muscle groups at least twice during each workout to achieve greater mass. 

What Exercises Build Thigh Muscles?

The best leg strengthening exercises build muscle in your thighs. Dr. Dan Brennan recommends lunges, squats, and deadlifts (5). Variations also work well, including dumbbell squats, Romanian deadlifts, and reverse lunges if you want bigger thighs. 

What Exercises to Build Arm Muscles?

Dr. Louise Chang recommends targeting the biceps and triceps to build arm muscle mass (13). Exercises that work the triceps and biceps are curls, close-grip bench presses, and push-ups. You could also strengthen arm muscles with hand grippers. 

The Bottom Line

Building muscle mass requires determination and frequent workouts to achieve muscular hypertrophy. However, the sets, reps, and exercises don’t take much time if you split them into two to three times weekly. Target the muscles you desire, and start repping. 



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Abs: From Flab to Fab Abdominal in 4 Weeks (2013,
  2. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults (2009,
  3. Barbell Row | Form, Muscles, Benefits, Mistakes, and More (2020,
  4. Benefits of squats: Advantages, disadvantages, and how to do them (2021,
  5. Best Exercises for Leg Muscles (2021,
  6. How to Bench Press (2023,
  7. How to Do a Leg Lift Properly: A Step-By-Step Guide (2021, 
  9. (PDF) Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2016,
  10. Plank exercise – Physiopedia (n.d.,
  11. Push Press Muscles Worked, Variations, and Benefits (2023,
  12. Push-Pull Workouts: Routines and Guide for Building Muscle (2023,
  13. Strength Training: Building Arm Muscles (2009,
  14. The 9-Minute Strength Workout (n.d.,
  15. The Advantages of Body-Weight Exercise (2022,
  16. What muscles does deadlift work? How-to, variations, and more (2022,
  17. Which muscle groups to work out together, from beginner to advanced (2021,
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