Top 20 Bodybuilding Exercises for Every Muscle Group

If you want to look like a bodybuilder, you must train like a bodybuilder. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and more than lifting weights, but what you do in the gym determines the outcome of your efforts.

The best bodybuilding exercises are the ones that you like and can perform without pain or discomfort. However, a select few stand out as the best options for most lifters. Here are the top 20 bodybuilding exercises for every muscle group.

You can find all the exercises in this article in the StrengthLog workout log app. You can download it for free using the buttons below.

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It offers an easy but comprehensive overview of all exercises with detailed descriptions, in addition to many training programs and, of course, the ability to log your workouts.

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Who doesn’t like chest day? Walk into any gym on a Monday, and chances are you’ll find bodybuilders doing their best to hammer their pecs into submission. A well-developed chest is essential to look like a bodybuilder and for overall athletic performance.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Chest Muscles: Exercises & Workout

#1: Bench Press

The barbell bench press needs no introduction. It is probably the most popular compound lift and the foundation of many bodybuilding chest workout programs.

The barbell bench press is a fantastic exercise for upper body muscle growth. It works your chest, front deltoids, and your triceps effectively and allows you to use heavy weights for maximum intensity. Starting your training sessions with compound exercises when your energy levels are high is a good idea, and the bench press is a great go-to option for the chest.

The dumbbell bench press is an excellent alternative exercise if you can’t do regular bench presses or want some variety.

Bench Press Exercise

Muscles Worked in the Bench Press

Bench press muscles worked

How to Bench Press with Proper Form

  1. Lie on the bench, pull your shoulder blades together and down, and slightly arch your back.
  2. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Inhale, hold your breath, and unrack the bar.
  4. Lower the bar with control, until it touches your chest somewhere close to your sternum.
  5. Push the bar up to the starting position while exhaling.
  6. Take another breath while in the top position, and repeat for reps.

#2: Dumbbell Incline Press

The dumbbell incline press is the perfect exercise to complement the bench press for a complete and muscular chest.

Research shows that performing the exercise on an incline rather than a flat bench leads to greater upper chest muscle thickness.1 Also, by using a pair of dumbbells, you get a full range of motion, which could be beneficial for building muscle mass. 

The incline bench press is an option if you prefer using a barbell.

Incline Dumbbell Press exercise technique bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Incline Dumbbell Press

Muscles worked in incline dumbbell press

How to Incline Dumbbell Press

  • Sit on a bench, and lift a pair of dumbbells up to the starting position.
  • Press the dumbbells up to straight arms, while exhaling.
  • Inhale at the top, or while lowering the dumbbells with control back to your shoulders.
  • Repeat for reps.

Add a chest fly exercise of your choice, like the standing cable chest fly, the dumbbell chest fly, or the machine chest fly, and you have a complete chest workout. Combining compound movements like bench presses with isolation exercises like flyes is an effective way to build a full, muscular chest.


As a bodybuilder, you need a balanced upper body, with a back that matches your chest, shoulders, and arms.

Building a massive back requires hard work and dedication. Unlike smaller muscle groups like your biceps, a high-intensity back workout can leave you drenched in sweat and exhausted. However, the effort is worth it in the long run. A bodybuilding contest is won from the back, as they say.

Looking good from the front is easy, but a massive and detailed back shows that you’ve put in the work that separates the best from the rest.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Back Muscles: Exercises & Workout

#3: Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown is an excellent exercise for your upper back. In addition to building a wider back, it also hits your biceps effectively.2

Use a medium-wide overhand grip, as it offers some advantages over narrow and wide grips.3 Also, make sure to observe proper form. Don’t use an excessive amount of weight that forces you to involve your entire body. Focus on pulling the bar to your chest using your back muscles and avoid body momentum.

Many bodybuilders find isolating the lats with the lat pulldown easier, but classic pull-ups are an excellent body-weight alternative.

Lat pulldown pronated grip

Muscles Worked in Lat Pulldowns

Muscles worked in lat pulldown with pronated grip

How to Do Lat Pulldowns

  • Grip the bar with a pronated grip (palms facing away from you), slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Sit down with your thighs under the leg support, keep your chest up, and look up at the bar.
  • Inhale and pull the bar towards you.
  • Pull the bar down until it is below your chin or touches your upper chest.
  • Exhale and slowly return the bar until your arms are fully extended.

#4: Barbell Row

For building a massive back, look no further than the barbell row. It targets your entire back and helps you build upper body thickness and size better than most other exercises.

By bending forwards more or less from the starting position, you can focus on different parts of your back. You can bend at the hips to just above a 90-degree angle where your upper body is almost parallel to the floor, or you can stand more upright and transfer more of the load to your traps and upper back. 

Barbell Row bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Barbell Rows

Muscles worked in barbell row exercise

How to Do Barbell Rows

  1. Grip the bar with an overhand grip, and lean forward with the bar hanging from straight arms.
  2. Inhale and pull the bar towards you.
  3. Pull the bar as high as you can, so that it touches your abs or chest if possible.
  4. With control, lower the bar back to the starting position.

Add another rowing exercise like the dumbbell row, maybe some lower back work in the form of back extensions, and a trap exercise like the shrug, and you’re good to go and on your way to building a complete back.

The deadlift is a powerlifting staple and a fantastic exercise for building overall strength. Include it in your training program if you desire, but deadlifts are not necessary if your main goals are bodybuilding and muscle hypertrophy.


Wide, muscular shoulders are the hallmark of an athletic physique and make you stand out in the gym and on a bodybuilding stage. Even if you don’t have naturally wide shoulders, you can make your delts grow and enhance your entire upper body appearance with hard work and the proper selection of exercises.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Shoulder Muscles: Exercises & Workout

#5: Overhead Press

The classic mass-builder for your shoulder muscles is the overhead press using either a barbell or a set of dumbbells. Both options offer pros and cons.

  • The barbell shoulder press allows you to use more weight but limits your range of motion. It also focuses primarily on your front deltoids.
  • You get a complete range of motion and more side deltoid action using a pair of dumbbells. However, you can’t use as much weight with dumbbells.

According to research, you get the best muscle activation from the standing dumbbell overhead press, more significant than when using a barbell.4

Whether you prefer dumbbells or a barbell, the overhead press is one of the best exercises for building massive shoulders. Including both or switching between them regularly is probably a good idea to force all muscle fibers to grow.

Barbell Overhead Press

Overhead press exercise

Muscles Worked in the Overhead Press

Muscles worked in overhead press exercise

How to Overhead Press

  1. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Inhale, lightly brace your core, and unrack the bar.
  3. Let the bar rest against your front delts while you take a step back from the rack.
  4. Press the bar up to straight arms, while exhaling.
  5. Inhale at the top, or while lowering the bar with control back to your shoulders.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press exercise technique bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in the Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Muscles worked in dumbbell shoulder press exercise

How to Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lift them up to the starting position at your shoulders.
  • Inhale and lightly brace your core.
  • Press the dumbbells up to straight arms, while exhaling.
  • Inhale at the top, or while lowering the dumbbells with control back to your shoulders.
  • Repeat for reps.

#6: Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Cap those delts! The lateral raise targets the outermost head of your deltoids, an area you don’t want to neglect if you’re looking to build full, round shoulders.

The most common way to do lateral raises is using a pair of dumbbells, but the cable lateral raise is a viable option. Using a cable allows you to keep the tension on the working muscle throughout the movement.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise exercise

Muscles Worked in Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Muscles worked in dumbbell lateral raise

How to Do Dumbbell Lateral Raises

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells, in almost straight arms hanging by your sides.
  • With control, lift the dumbbells outwards to your sides, until your upper arm is horizontal.
  • Lower the dumbbells with control.
  • Repeat for reps.

#7: Reverse Dumbbell Flyes

Many bodybuilders have underdeveloped rear deltoids, but bodybuilding is all about balance. Adding reverse dumbbell flyes to your shoulder exercise arsenal helps you achieve that balance. They also add to the overall appearance of your upper back and give you that impressive 3D look.

Reverse machine flyes and the face pull are good alternative exercises you can use for variety.

Reverse Dumbbell Flyes exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Reverse Dumbbell Flyes

Muscles Worked in the Reverse Dumbbell Fly

How to Do Reverse Dumbbell Flyes

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells, lean forward and let your arms hang towards the floor.
  • With almost straight arms (just a slight bend at the elbow), slowly lift the dumbbells by raising your arms out to the sides.
  • Reverse the movement and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.


The biceps get an unfair amount of attention when it comes to arm training. Your triceps make up roughly two-thirds of your upper arms and are more than twice the size of your biceps. You probably think of the latissimus dorsi and the pectoralis major as large muscles, but your triceps are bigger than both.5

If you want big guns, it only makes sense to give your triceps at least as much attention as your biceps.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Triceps: Exercises & Workout

#8: Barbell Lying Triceps Extensions

The barbell lying triceps extension is a complete triceps mass-builder, perhaps the greatest one at your disposal. It targets all three heads of the triceps and lets you use a heavy load for maximal muscle gain.

Unlike the standard skull crushers where you bring the barbell down to your forehead, lowering the bar behind your head allows for a greater range of motion and a full triceps stretch, an important thing for complete muscle development.

Barbell Lying Triceps Extension bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Barbell Lying Triceps Extensions

Muscles worked by lying triceps extension

How to Do Barbell Lying Triceps Extensions

  • Lie down on a bench which your head close to the edge. Hold a barbell with a close grip, and lift it up to straight arms over yourself.
  • Lower the barbell down behind your head. Try to keep the same distance between your elbows throughout the movement.
  • Reverse the motion and extend your arms again.

#9: Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions

Your triceps consists of three heads: the short or medial head, the lateral head, and the long head. The long head is the largest, making up half of the mass of the triceps.

While any tricep extension, including chest and shoulder presses, trains all three heads, you want to include some overhead triceps work to emphasize the long head specifically.

The overhead cable triceps extension is one of the best exercises to focus on the long head of your triceps. By using a cable, you place constant tension on your triceps. 

Overhead Cable Triceps Extension exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions

Muscles worked in Overhead Cable Triceps Extension

How to Do Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions

  • Fasten a rope handle in the lower position of a cable pulley. Stand with your back against the pulley, with a slight forward lean, and hold the rope behind your head and your upper arms next to your ears.
  • Straighten your elbows until your arms are fully extended.
  • Reverse the motion by bending your arms again.

Adding tricep pushdowns using either a bar or a rope is a great way to finish your triceps workout and get a good pump.


Even though the bicep is a small muscle, it holds a special place in bodybuilding tradition and lore. In addition, the biceps are the most instantly recognizable muscles that identifies you as a bodybuilder to the general public. If someone asks you to flex, you know they mean your biceps.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Biceps: Exercises & Workout

#10: Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is the number one biceps mass builder. Using a barbell, you can overload your biceps with a heavy weight, one of the basic principles for building muscle mass.

Swinging the bar to gain momentum is common in the gym, and cheating bicep curls have their place. But for best results, observe good form and let your biceps do the work.

Barbell biceps curl exercise technique bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Barbell Curls

Muscles worked in the barbell curl

How to Barbell Curl

  • Grip a bar with an underhand (supinated) grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift the bar with control, by flexing your elbows.
  • Don’t let your upper arm travel back during the curl, keep it at your side or move it slightly forward.
  • Reverse the movement and lower the bar back to the starting position.

#11: Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is a variation of the standard bicep curl. It is an excellent exercise for your biceps, especially the long head, but offers several additional benefits. The hammer curl also develops your forearms, works the brachialis muscle that lies deeper than your biceps, and adds size to your upper arms.

Hammer Curl exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Hammer Curls

Muscles trained in the hammer curl exercise

How to Hammer Curl

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in a neutral grip (palms facing each other), arms hanging by your sides.
  • Lift the dumbbells with control, by flexing your elbows.
  • Don’t let your upper arms travel back during the curl. Keep them at your sides or move them slightly forward.
  • Reverse the movement and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Add an exercise that lets you focus on isolating the biceps and go for the pump, like the concentration curl or the preacher curl, and you’ve got a biceps-building bonanza!


Skipping leg day is not an option if you want a balanced physique. Building massive quads require the most energy and effort of any muscle group, and a high-intensity leg workout leaves even an experienced bodybuilder exhausted. A set of big quads show that you’ve got the mindset to put in the work it takes for success.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Quad Muscles: Exercises & Workout

#12: Squat

The barbell squat is the best overall lower body exercise in your arsenal and a staple in most strength training programs. It improves athletic performance like no other exercise, and heavy squats have built the legs of countless bodybuilders over the decades.

Powerlifters try to move as much weight as possible, but as a bodybuilder, you want your quads to do the work. Using a fairly narrow foot placement, with your feet shoulder-width apart, placing the bar on or just below your trapezius muscle lets you focus on your quads and work them through a more extended range of motion.

The squat allows you to use a significant amount of weight, but don’t let your ego get the upper hand. Concentrate on lifting with the right muscles throughout the intended number of repetitions. It’ll give you better results in the long run.

The leg press is a viable alternative if you don’t want to squat. It allows you to work your quads without worrying about balance and stability. 

Barbell Squat Exercise bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in the Squat

Muscles worked in barbell squats

How to Squat with Proper Form

  1. Place the bar on your upper back. Inhale and brace your core slightly, and unrack the bar.
  2. Take two steps back, and adjust your foot position.
  3. Squat as deep as possible with good technique.
  4. With control, stop and reverse the movement, extending your hips and legs again.
  5. Exhale on the way up or exchange air in the top position.
  6. Inhale and repeat for reps.

#13: Leg Extension

Leg extensions are the perfect addition to heavy squats for building massive, balanced quads. As the name suggests, your quadriceps consist of four muscles: the vastus lateralis, the vastus medialis, the vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. 

Squats are a fantastic overall mass builder, but they don’t do much for the rectus femoris muscle, according to recent research.6

quadriceps muscles

Leg extensions to the rescue! The leg extension activates the rectus femoris to a greater degree, meaning the squat (or the leg press) and the leg extension is the perform combination for complete quad development.

Leg Extension exercise technique bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Leg Extensions

Muscles worked in leg extensions

How to Do Leg Extensions

  1. Adjust the machine so that you are correctly positioned. Your knees should be in line with the machine’s joint.
  2. Extend your knees with control, until they are completely straight.
  3. Slowly lower the weight again.

Consider adding a lunge-type exercise for additional quad work, like the barbell lunge, the dumbbell lunge, or the Bulgarian split squat. The lunge improves your stability, balance, and flexibility and is an excellent muscle-building exercise for your quads and glutes.


If you want an optimal bodybuilding physique and a balanced lower body, you need hamstrings that match your quads. Hamstrings are often somewhat neglected, with a few half-hearted sets thrown in at the end of a leg workout. That won’t do if you’re looking for bodybuilding success, though. Treat your hamstrings as equally important as any other muscle group.

Your hamstrings consist of the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris muscles.

Hamstring muscle anatomy

For complete hamstring development, you need exercises that target hip extension and knee flexion. No hamstring exercise covers everything, but you can remedy that with a combination of movements for optimal hamstring development.

#14: Leg Curl

The leg curl is a great exercise to isolate your hamstrings. Using momentum and body movement while doing leg curls allows you to use more weight, but decreases the amount of work your hamstrings are doing. Always use strict form to avoid involving other muscle groups. 

You can do either lying leg curls or seated leg curls. Recent research suggests that the seated version is slightly more effective for hamstring muscle growth.7 

However, the seated and lying leg curl target your hamstrings in slightly various ways, so including both regularly might be a good idea.

Lying Leg Curl

Lying Leg Curl exercise technique bodybuilding

Muscles Worked in Lying Leg Curls

Muscles worked in lying leg curls

How to Do Lying Leg Curls

  • Adjust the machine so that you are correctly positioned. Your knees should be in line with the machines joint.
  • Lift the weight by bending your knees as far as possible.
  • Slowly lower the weight again.

Seated Leg Curl

Seated Leg Curl exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Seated Leg Curls

Muscles worked by seated leg curl

How to Do Seated Leg Curls

  • Adjust the machine so that you are correctly positioned. Your knees should be in line with the machines joint.
  • Push the weight down by bending your knees as far as possible.
  • Slowly let the weight back again.

#15: Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is an excellent exercise for strengthening your entire posterior chain. The leg curls work your hamstrings through knee flexion, and the Romanian deadlift is the hip extension exercise that gives you the total package.

According to recent research, Romanian deadlifts with a full range of motion are the best way to activate your hamstrings and glutes.8 The stiff-legged deadlift is a good alternative, though, if you want variety in your hamstring training.

Romanian deadlift

Muscles Worked in Romanian Deadlifts

Muscles worked in romanian deadlift

How to Do Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Get into the starting position by deadlifting a barbell off the floor, or by unracking it from a barbell rack.
  2. Inhale, brace your core slightly, and lean forward by hinging in your hips. Keep your knees almost completely extended.
  3. Lean forward as far as possible without rounding your back. You don’t have to touch the barbell to the floor, although it is OK if you do.
  4. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Exhale on the way up.
  5. Take another breath, and repeat for reps.

Note: you can stand on an elevation (for example a weight plate) if you want to extend the range of motion without hitting the floor.

Read more:


For many bodybuilders, calves are a weak point. They are notoriously difficult to develop, and if you’re not genetically blessed with massive calves, you’re in for a challenge to bring them up to par. Improving them requires both hard work and a well-considered selection of exercises.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Calf Muscles: Exercises & Workout

#16: Standing Calf Raise

The standing calf raise is the best overall exercise if you’re looking to build bigger calves. By keeping your legs straight, you work both your gastrocnemius and your soleus, the two muscles of your calves.

Perform the exercise in a strict manner, without bouncing at the bottom. Contract your calves forcefully at the top position and resist the weight as you lower it. 

Standing Calf Raise exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Standing Calf Raises

Muscles worked in Standing Calf Raises

How to Do Standing Calf Raises

  • Place your toes and the ball of your feet on the foot support. Place the shoulder pads against your shoulders, and stand upright in the starting position.
  • Lower yourself down by bending your ankles in a controlled movement.
  • Push yourself up by extending your ankles.

#17: Seated Calf Raise

The seated calf raise places the gastrocnemius in a weak position, unable to assist. That means that your soleus muscle is forced to do more of the work, making the seated calf raise the best exercise to target this wide and flat muscle.

Seated Calf Raise exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Seated Calf Raises

Muscles worked by calf raises

How to Do Seated Calf Raises

  • Sit down on the seat, and adjust the knee pad to correct height. Place your toes and the ball of your feet on the foot support.
  • Lower the weight by bending your ankles in a controlled movement.
  • Push the weight up by extending your ankles.


Everyone has abs. If your body fat is low enough, your abs become visible. However, to get good abs, the deep, muscular abs of a bodybuilder, endless reps of sit-ups won’t cut it.

Treat your abs like any other muscle group and train for muscle growth.

Read more:

>> How to Train Your Abs: Exercises & Workout

#18: Cable Crunch

Regular crunches and sit-ups are fine, but they become less effective once you can do dozens of them. The cable crunch allows you to easily adjust the amount of weight you need to keep your reps in the hypertrophy range.

Cable Crunch exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Cable Crunches

Muscles worked in cable crunches

How to Do Cable Crunches

  • Fasten a rope handle in the upper position on a cable pulley. Sit down on your knees a few feet away, facing the pulley.
  • Bend your upper body forward by contracting your abs. Hold the ropes on either side of your head throughout the movement.
  • Reverse the motion and return to the starting position with control.

#19: Hanging Knee Raise

You can’t isolate your upper or lower abs, but you can emphasize one of the areas a little more than the other. You’ll feel it in your lower abs the day after doing knee or leg raises, especially if you haven’t done them in a while. Avoid body momentum and swinging your legs up. Instead, concentrate on using your abs and hip flexors only.

If you find the hanging knee raise too easy, you can do hanging leg raises instead. They are significantly more challenging.

Hanging Knee Raise exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Hanging Knee Raise

Muscles worked in hanging knee raises

How to Do Hanging Knee Raises

  • Jump up and grab a bar, placed high enough that you can hang from it with straight legs.
  • Without swinging and with bent legs, lift your knees as high as you can in front of you.
  • Lower your legs again, with control.

#20: Wood Chops

Your obliques are the “side abs” that run along the sides of your core. You only really see them when you’re shredded, but well-defined and muscular obliques make your entire abdominal area stand out. And they are crucial for bending forward and rotating your torso during training.

You rarely see the horizontal or high-to-low wood chop in the gym, but it’s a phenomenal exercise for oblique development. Use a resistance band or a cable machine and chop either high to low or in a horizontal movement. Alternate between the two variants as you prefer.

High to Low Wood Chops

High to Low Wood Chop with Band

Muscles Worked in High to Low Wood Chops

Muscles worked by High to Low Wood Chop

How to Do High to Low Wood Chops

  • Fasten an elastic band high up. Grip the band with both hands, step away, and stand sideways to the band’s anchor point.
  • With almost straight arms, make a sweeping, chopping-like movement diagonally downward.
  • Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Horizontal Wood Chops

Horizontal Wood Chop with Band

Muscles Worked in Horizontal Wood Chops

Muscles worked in Horizontal Wood Chop with Band

How to Do Horizontal Wood Chops

  • Fasten an elastic band at shoulder height. Grip the band with both hands, step away, and stand sideways to the band’s anchor point.
  • With almost straight arms, make a sweeping, horizontal movement to your other side.
  • Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Do You Have to Use These Exercises?

No, you don’t! These are some of the best bodybuilding exercises available, but no exercise is mandatory, at least not for bodybuilding. If you’re a powerlifter and want to increase your deadlift, you’d have to deadlift regularly. But as a bodybuilder, there is always an alternative if you don’t like an exercise or have an injury that prevents you from performing it.

That being said, you can’t go wrong basing your bodybuilding routine on these exercises. They are the bread and butter of many successful bodybuilders and can help you build the body of your dreams as well.

Setting Up A Training Program

Time to organize the best bodybuilding exercises into the best bodybuilding program. For you, that is. The best bodybuilding workouts and training splits are the ones that work for you. Depending on your training experience, time commitment, schedule, and what you enjoy help determine what type of bodybuilding split is right for you.

Fortunately, the bodybuilding exercises you find in this article fit into any training routine, from a beginner’s workout split to the advanced bro-split of a veteran bodybuilder.

As an example, let’s design a Push/Pull/Legs split routine on the fly, using the exercises above.

Workout 1 – Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

  1. Bench Press
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press
  3. Standing Cable Chest Fly
  4. Dumbbell Overhead Press
  5. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  6. Reverse Machine Fly
  7. Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
  8. Overhead Cable Triceps Extension

Workout 2 – Back and Biceps

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Barbell Row
  3. Dumbbell Row
  4. Dumbbell Shrug
  5. Back Extensions
  6. Barbell Curl
  7. Hammer Curl

Workout 3 – Legs and Calves

  1. Squat
  2. Leg Extension
  3. Barbell Lunge
  4. Seated Leg Curl
  5. Romanian Deadlift
  6. Standing Calf Raise
  7. Seated Calf Raise

There you go – a complete bodybuilding split. Throw in some ab work at the end of one or two workouts, and you’re good to go.

For a complete run-down of the ten best bodybuilding splits to help you decide which one fits you the best, check out our comprehensive guide, aptly called The 10 Best Bodybuilding Splits: a Complete Guide:

And for more bodybuilding, take a look at the resources in our bodybuilding hub.

Track Your Training in the StrengthLog App for Free

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You’ll find the bodybuilding exercises in this list in most of the programs in the app. They are incredibly versatile and help you reach your fitness goals, whatever they may be. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, an athlete, or just an average person looking to get stronger, gain muscle, and lose body fat, you can’t go wrong with these exercises.

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  1. Int J Exerc Sci. 2020; 13(6): 859–872. Effects of Horizontal and Incline Bench Press on Neuromuscular Adaptations in Untrained Young Men.
  2. Asian J Sports Med. 2015 Jun; 6(2): e24057. Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises: Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy.
  3. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2014 – Volume 28 – Issue 4 – p 1135-1142. Effects of Grip Width on Muscle Strength and Activation in the Lat Pull-Down.
  4. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: July 2013 – Volume 27 – Issue 7 – p 1824-1831. Effects of Body Position and Loading Modality on Muscle Activity and Strength in Shoulder Presses.
  5. Strength and Conditioning Journal: October 2017 – Volume 39 – Issue 5 – p 33-35. Large and Small Muscles in Resistance Training: Is It Time for a Better Definition?
  6. J Sports Sci. 2021 Oct;39(20):2298-2304. The role of exercise selection in regional Muscle Hypertrophy: A randomized controlled trial.
  7. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2021 – Volume 53 – Issue 4 – p 825-837. Greater Hamstrings Muscle Hypertrophy but Similar Damage Protection after Training at Long versus Short Muscle Lengths.
  8. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1903. An Electromyographic Analysis of Romanian, Step-Romanian, and Stiff-Leg Deadlift: Implication for Resistance Training.
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Andreas Abelsson

Andreas is a certified nutrition coach with over three decades of training experience. He has followed and reported on the research fields of exercise, nutrition, and health for almost as long and is a specialist in metabolic health and nutrition coaching for athletes. Read more about Andreas and StrengthLog by clicking here.