When looking to build and grow muscle at the gym, these four staple moves cannot be overlooked in your program. Whether you are working out two days a week or four, you should be incorporating these exercises in your program if you are trying to put on muscle and become more lean.

It does not matter if you are a man or a woman, these exercises are relevant to everyBODY and when done correctly and progressed on a weekly basis, they will help you build lean muscle and cut unwanted body fat. The key is to stay consistent, patient and eat according to your goals, body, and lifestyle. As always, I am here with any questions & would love to hear from you.


Barbell back squats are awesome for building strength in the legs- specifically the hamstrings, quads, and booty. The core has to stay engaged in order to maintain proper form. Squats are one of the most efficient exercises you can do because of their multi dimensional muscular benefit. The squat is considered a compound movement because you are working more than one muscle group at once.  If you are a beginner, starting with a single DB or KB is a good way to train your body in getting the actual movement down right.

Check out this video in how to do a perfect barbell back squat.


The barbell DL is a fantastic exercise because not only does it work the hamstrings and glutes, but holding that weight in front of you and staying tight is going to force engagement from your core, arms and back as well. The hip hinge pattern is essential to learn in order to execute a deadlift perfectly. When compared with the squat, the deadlift works more posterior chain. If you are a beginner, you can start out with a KB or DB, but moving to a barbell will make increasing weight a lot easier than switching out heavier DB’s and KB’s.

Check out this video on how to do a perfect Barbell deadlift.


The military press, AKA shoulder press, should be a staple in your program if you want to build strength. Specifically in the front and rear delts, the traps, upper pecs and triceps. In order for your body to stabilize this movement, the core does also play a big part. I’m a huge fan of manipulating your own body weight and mastering exercises such as the pull-up (similar vertical pull motion working almost the same muscles). However, if building muscle and increasing strength is your number one goal, I would suggest the military press. It’s easier to track progress week to week- especially if you are a beginner. The reason for this is because some individuals may not be ready to execute a full set of pull-ups with proper form- so they should work on building strength first through the military press.

Check out this video on how to to a perfect Military press.


The barbell bench press (flat, incline or decline) are all great exercises to work the chest muscles specifically pec major along with the anterior (front) deltoids, traps & back as secondary muscles. The angle of the bench changes things up a bit and recruits different areas of the pecs and other muscles. But if you are someone who wants to increase muscle in your upper body specifically around the chest, you cannot miss the barbell chest press.

Check out this video on how to do a perfect barbell flat chest press.