Work Your Lower Body with the Squat

Arguably one of the best exercises for the human body. Every muscle is engaged from head to toe. Can’t quite do a barbell back squat like this yet? Start with body weight squats or the goblet squat. (Demo’d below)

How to do a barbell back squat:

  1. With a barbell resting across your lower traps, stand with your wide approximately shoulders-width with your toes slightly pointed out.
  2. Engage your core and slowly lower your body while keeping your hips and butt back.
  3. Keep your knees from folding inward or forward.
  4. At the bottom (when your thigh/quads are about parallel with the floor) drive back up with the weight on your heels.
  5. Extend your hips at the top and repeat the process.

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Work Your Lower Body and Core with the Goblet Squat

Holding the weight in front is great for beginners still learning the basic mechanics of a squat while also really engaging your core muscles.

How to do a goblet squat:

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulders-width and your toes slightly pointed outward.
  2. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest with both arms.
  3. Brace your core.
  4. Slowly squat down while keeping your butt back.
  5. Don’t let your knees cave inward.
  6. Keep your elbows inside your knees and don’t let the weight drop below your chest.
  7. Slight pause at the bottom, then explode up to the top while driving from the heels of your feet.

Work Your Lower Body and Core with the Goblet Split Squat

Similar to the goblet squat but with a subtle twist. This will more specifically target the glutes, hamstrings, and quads depending on the length of your stride. Holding the weight in front also activates the core.

How to do a goblet split squat:

  1. Stand with one leg a short strides-length ahead of the other.
  2. Similarly to the goblet squat, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands.
  3. Brace your core.
  4. Drop one knee down to the ground while keeping the weight in front of you.
  5. While keeping your back straight, drive back up with weight on your heel.

Related article: Gain Muscle Mass Using Only Dumbbells With 10 Demonstrated Exercises

Work Your Shoulders with the Overhead Press

Another big lift that creates big upper body gains. While your shoulders are taking on most of the brunt, your triceps and muscles of the core are getting it too. Alternate with dumbbell overhead presses for variety.

How to do a standing overhead press:

  1. Stand up straight and rest a barbell across your shoulders in front of you with your hands slightly outside shoulders-width.
  2. Engage your core.
  3. Explosively press the weight up over your overhead and slightly pause at the top.
  4. Slowly lower the weight down and repeat the process.

Work Your Back with the Dumbbell Row

The back is huge muscle group, but there are also a lot of little details. Learning the dumbbell row and the subtle movement pattern options there are can really take your physique to new levels.

How to do a dumbbell row:

  1. Lean forward over a bench of dumbbell rack.
  2. Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
  3. Engage your lats while pulling a dumbbell back.
  4. Squeeze at the top and slowly lower back down.

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