What are the Different Types of Exercises to Build Muscle?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
The human muscular system.
The human muscular system.

The best exercises to build muscle will vary according to the area of the body a person wants to develop. In most cases, weight training exercises are used to build muscle, though some cardiovascular activities can also build muscle. One of the best ways to consistently build muscle throughout the body is to isolate particular areas of the body the person wants to develop and research the best exercises for those areas of the body. Some of the best exercises to build muscle include bench presses, curls, squats, dips, and rows, though plenty of other exercises exist to help build muscle in certain parts of the body.

Some people use free weights.
Some people use free weights.

Many weight lifters focus almost exclusively on building muscle in the upper body, but it is just as important to do exercises to build muscle in the legs as well as the core muscles. Bench presses and curls, when performed correctly, can help develop muscle in the chest and arms, but the core muscles may not be able to support the spine adequately, leading to pain or discomfort. Sit ups, squats, leg cycles, and other core building exercises will be necessary to ensure the abs and lower back muscles get developed adequately as well.

Bench presses may help build muscle.
Bench presses may help build muscle.

Squats are one of the most important exercises to build muscle, since so many different muscles of the body get worked through this one exercise. The squats can be done in a variety of ways, either using a squat machine at a gym or by using a squat rack that works in conjunction with a barbell and weights. Some squats can even be done at home with no weights at all. Squats will work many of the leg muscles including the calves, thighs, hip flexors and groin, as well as the core muscles such as the abs and lower back. This is a great exercise to include in any muscle building workout.

Push-ups are an easy chest exercise that don't require any equipment.
Push-ups are an easy chest exercise that don't require any equipment.

Cardiovascular workouts can also act as exercises to build muscle, particularly running, swimming, and cycling. These exercises improve oxygen intake and help burn fat, which are both key components to overall health that can promote muscle growth. The muscles of the body are used constantly throughout these exercises as well, which can lead to muscle development. Cardiovascular workouts improve blood flow to the muscles as well, which means the overall function of the muscles will be greatly improved.

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    • The human muscular system.
      By: adimas
      The human muscular system.
    • Some people use free weights.
      By: Rido
      Some people use free weights.
    • Bench presses may help build muscle.
      By: stryjek
      Bench presses may help build muscle.
    • Push-ups are an easy chest exercise that don't require any equipment.
      By: Alliance
      Push-ups are an easy chest exercise that don't require any equipment.
    • A person must lift heavy weights in low repetitions in order to build muscle mass.
      By: Christopher Howey
      A person must lift heavy weights in low repetitions in order to build muscle mass.
    • Squats can be done with or without weights.
      By: Monkey Business
      Squats can be done with or without weights.
    • Core workouts focus on the back muscles as well as the abdominals.
      By: theartofphoto
      Core workouts focus on the back muscles as well as the abdominals.
    • Performing squats can help strengthen the thighs and other muscles of the legs and lower back.
      By: gekaskr
      Performing squats can help strengthen the thighs and other muscles of the legs and lower back.
    • Leg extension machines allow users to exercise their quadriceps, or thigh muscles.
      By: Jasminko Ibrakovic
      Leg extension machines allow users to exercise their quadriceps, or thigh muscles.
    • Push-ups, which require no equipment to perform, can strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.
      By: z3zo
      Push-ups, which require no equipment to perform, can strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.
    • Bench presses, when performed correctly, can help build muscle in the chest.
      By: dulsita
      Bench presses, when performed correctly, can help build muscle in the chest.