21 Exercises You MUST HAVE In Your Workout Routine

Packing on muscles? You should have these in your workout.

Struggling to pack on muscle? Check out these 21 exercises you must have in your workout routine for any serious hypertrophy program.

When it comes to building muscle, it’s not just about the exercises you choose, but how you perform them. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the 21 must-have exercises for a muscle-building workout routine. But more importantly, we’ll focus on the nuances of each exercise to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts, whether you’re at the gym or working out at home.

The information below on this page was thought out by Ryan Humiston. His YouTube channel has become one of the fastest-growing fitness channels out there with more than 1.8 million subscribers and more than 190 million video views.

21 Exercises You Must Have In Your Workout Routine

Divided below into segments are the exercises you must have in your workout routine. To be fair, there are more than 21 listed below, but some of them are other options in case you are only working out from home with minimal equipment at your disposal.


If you have access to it, the hack squat is a game-changer. To intensify, slow down the movement or incorporate drop sets. For those at home, opt for high bar squats with feet close together and heels elevated for targeted quad engagement.

Enhance hamstring development with lying leg curls. Point your toes away for an added challenge, and lift yourself off the pad to isolate the hamstrings effectively. At home, the dumbbell version is a great alternative.

The seated calf raise machine offers countless variations for toe positioning, partials, drop sets, and more. Mimic at home with deep squats and hamstring flexes.


Sumo deadlifts are unparalleled for building glutes. Rotate over your hips for optimal activation. Whether at home or the gym, make sure to include these for a solid glute foundation.

athlete prepares for sumo deadlift 2 Most Effective Moves to Bigger TrapsSource: Unsplash


Develop well-rounded shoulders by focusing on raises for anterior delts. Cable raises across the body are excellent for isolation of the anterior delts. At home, opt for front raises with a weight plate for effective results. According to Huminston, this is a lot better for your shoulders than heavy presses above your head.

For lateral head development, machine side laterals are unmatched. Incorporate variations like partials and full holds for that sought-after width. If at home, get creative with dumbbell drop sets.

Strengthen the posterior delts with bench rotations mimicking an Arnold press. Keep it simple with straight sets for a challenging workout. If you really want a challenge, you can do drop sets with these.


Chest gains are limitless with giant sets. Transition from dumbbell presses to coffin presses, flyes, and push-ups for an exhaustive chest workout.

Related: How Long Should You Wait to Train a Muscle Again?


You can maximise back thickness with extreme deadlift rep ranges. Deadlifts are a staple for back thickness. Push the boundaries with high-rep sets to truly tap into the exercise’s effectiveness. “Those 20-30 rep sets, that’s where the magic happens,” Ryan says.

When it comes to the lats, a fixed elbow position is the key to success. Dumbbell pullovers and lat pulldowns are perfect for home or gym workouts.


Target triceps with the trifecta – seated French press, lying skull crusher, and close grip press. Add cable variations such as partials at the top, bottom, full range of motion and some push-ups for an extra challenge.


Look for that biceps blitz next. Grab dumbbells, tuck them into your stomach and do traditional curls for high-rep drop sets at home, or utilize an EZ bar attachment for reverse grip, close grip, wide grip and drag curls at the gym.

Best Bicep Tip for Any Exercise


This is the easiest one, according to Huminston. “Just grab a barbell, do 100 shrugs” and you are done.

Ultimately, building muscle is an art, and your workout routine should reflect that. By incorporating these 21 exercises into your regimen, with a focus on proper execution, you’re well on your way to sculpting the physique you desire.

Remember, it’s not just about what you do; it’s about how you do it that makes all the difference. So, whether you’re hitting the gym or working out at home, make each repetition count for maximum gains.

Watch the video below for more information.

VIDEO – 21 Exercises You MUST HAVE In Your Workout Routine

How To Perform Reps for More Muscle Growth

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Here are some general guidelines for how often to work out based on your fitness goals:

  1. For general health and fitness: Aim to exercise most days of the week, for at least 30-60 minutes per day. This can include a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
  2. For weight loss: Aim to exercise most days of the week, for at least 30-60 minutes per day. This should include a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training, with a focus on creating a calorie deficit through a combination of exercise and diet.
  3. For muscle building: Aim to do strength training exercises at least two days per week, targeting all major muscle groups. You can also include aerobic exercise and flexibility exercises as part of your routine.
  4. For athletic performance: The frequency and intensity of your workouts will depend on your specific sport and fitness goals. Consult with a coach or trainer to develop a customized training plan.

Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury or burnout. Start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts over time.

Slow Reps vs Fast Reps for Muscle GrowthSource: Victor Freitas / Pexels

How to Make the Biggest Visual Change To Your Body Quickly

Progressive overload is a fundamental principle in exercise science that forms the backbone of effective training programs. It revolves around the idea of gradually increasing the demands placed on the body to elicit continuous improvements in strength, endurance, and overall fitness. This systematic escalation of intensity can be achieved by progressively increasing the amount of weight lifted, the number of repetitions performed, or the overall volume of the workout over time. By consistently challenging the body in this manner, individuals can stimulate muscle adaptation and growth, preventing plateaus in performance.

The concept of progressive overload is closely linked to the body’s ability to adapt to stress. As the body encounters increased resistance during workouts, it responds by becoming stronger and more resilient. This adaptation involves the recruitment of additional muscle fibres, improvements in neuromuscular coordination, and enhanced energy system efficiency. Over time, what was initially challenging becomes the new baseline, necessitating further progression to sustain growth and development. This principle is applicable to various forms of exercise, from weightlifting and resistance training to cardiovascular activities, ensuring that individuals continue to experience positive physiological adaptations with ongoing commitment to their fitness journey.

Implementing progressive overload requires a balanced approach, considering individual fitness levels, proper technique, and recovery. It is not solely about pushing to the absolute limits in every session but rather about strategic and sustainable advancement. A well-designed training program incorporates periods of intensity progression interspersed with adequate recovery to optimize performance gains while minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury. Ultimately, progressive overload is a dynamic and personalized strategy that empowers individuals to consistently enhance their physical capabilities and achieve long-term fitness goals.

5 Methods of Progressive Overload to Force Muscle Growth

Some key benefits of doing strength training are:

  1. Builds muscle: Strength training is an effective way to build and maintain muscle mass. This can help increase your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
  2. Increases strength and endurance: By challenging your muscles with resistance exercises, you can increase your strength and endurance, which can make it easier to perform daily tasks and activities.
  3. Reduces the risk of injury: Strong muscles and joints are less likely to be injured during physical activity, which can help reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall physical performance.
  4. Improves bone density: Strength training has been shown to increase bone density, which can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  5. Enhances overall physical performance: Strength training can improve your overall physical performance, whether you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance in a specific sport, or just looking to perform daily tasks with more ease.
  6. Boosts confidence and self-esteem: As you see progress and improvements in your strength and physical abilities, it can boost your confidence and self-esteem.
  7. Improves quality of life: Strength training can improve your overall quality of life by making it easier to perform daily tasks, reducing the risk of injury, and improving your overall physical health and well-being.

Overall, incorporating strength training into your fitness routine can have numerous benefits for your physical and mental health, and can help you live a happier, healthier, and more active lifestyle.

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