9 Most Effective Exercises for Bigger Muscles

If you want to make the most of your workouts, it’s vital to focus on primarily the most efficient muscle-building moves. This usually means exercises that hit multiple muscles at once, and which recruit secondary muscles while working the prime movers. Here are some of the most effective exercises for bigger muscles:

Bench Press

When it comes to developing upper body “push” strength, nothing is more effective than a barbell bench press. Using a barbell recruits both arms in equal measure, and it works your chest, your shoulders, and your triceps. You will have much more “pushing” strength thanks to this effective workout.


The Deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for your lateral muscles, the muscles along your back. It hits your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, but it will also help you to develop serious forearm and grip strength. It’s an exercise that definitely deserves a place in your workout.


If you can do pull-ups, you’re in pretty good physical shape. Pull-ups require functional strength, as you are lifting mostly your body weight. It’s a brilliant exercise to work your upper body, shoulders, and even your arms (biceps and forearms). The more pull-ups you can do, the more fit you are!


Yet another great exercise to work that “push” strength for your upper body! The fact that you lift your body weight means that you are developing functional strength. The exercise hits your chest, triceps, and shoulders, and is one of the best to help you improve upper body power.


This movement is wonderful to help you develop serious power in your thighs, but your hamstrings and glutes also get an amazing workout. Newbies can do this movement with bodyweight alone, or you can add as much weight as necessary. The beauty of this exercise is that it mixes in a bit of cardio with the hardcore strength training.

Back Squat

This workout shreds your quads, but it will also hit your glutes and your hamstrings. Using a barbell across your shoulders can help to keep your upper body stable while adding a bit more weight. Never skip leg day, and make sure that Back Squats are a main staple of your leg day workout.


You may have worked every muscle in your upper body, but don’t neglect your traps–those big muscles alongside your neck. They do get a bit of a workout with most shoulder movements, but Shrugs will target them specifically. Shrugs are actually quite challenging if done right. The movement of shrugging your shoulders to your ears places a wonderful strain on your traps muscles, and helps to improve both shoulder strength and the overall appearance of your shoulders. Add it to Shoulder Day to round out your workout.

Bent Over Row

For your upper and lower back, this is an excellent exercise to try! Your lower back is engaged in order to hold your upper body in the bent over position, and your upper back muscles do the work of rowing the barbell to your chest. Your biceps and forearms get a great workout at the same time.

Military Press

For a good shoulder workout, nothing beats the Military Press. This movement recruits your deltoids very efficiently, and it even hits your upper chest muscles and triceps. Perform the Military Press while standing, and your core is engaged to keep your upper body balanced and steady. All in all, it’s one of the best upper body movements you can do, and it’s definitely one to add to your training regimen.

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