Fitness expert shares 10 best strength exercises to build muscle at home

All you need is pair of dumbbells, some determination and you're good to go

Man doing bodyweight squats
(Image credit: Getty)

Want to improve your strength, gain lean muscle and improve body composition? Strength training is your new best friend. The gym is often believed to be the only place to achieve all this due to the lack of strength training equipment in most homes. As this fitness expert-approved list of exercises proves, this couldn't be further from the truth.

"The simplest definition of strength training is any form of exercise specifically designed to increase the size and strength of your muscles," says Aroosha Nekonam, Certified Personal Trainer at Ultimate Performance. This type of training is often associated with simply lifting weights, but you can use various tools, from resistance bands to dumbbells or even just use your bodyweight.

"Your body does not know, nor does it care, if you're using dumbbells, barbells, cable machines, or even tins of baked beans," says Aroosha. "All it knows is that it's encountering resistance and that the body's muscles must work harder to overcome that resistance – the harder your muscles must work, the stronger you become."

Muscular young adult performing push-ups in a living room, on a yoga mat next to a protein shaker

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Best strength training exercises


Ideal for working your triceps, chest, shoulders and abdominals. They can be hard to master though, so here's how to perform a push-up properly and a press-up hack that will help make them easier.

Reverse lunges

These are great for building strength in your legs, glutes and core, and can be performed either with your bodyweight or using some dumbbells.

Mountain climbers

Included in one of our top five exercises to build six-pack abs at home, these will seriously get your core fired up.

Full-range squat

This is where your hip crease drops below your knees, so it's a deeper squat. Aroosha says this helps properly train the glutes through their full range. Not sure how to do one properly? Here's how to master the squat.

how to plank

(Image credit: Getty Images)


These work your core, including your aesthetic six-pack muscles (the rectus abdominis), and your obliques and deep core muscles (the transverse abdominis). 

Split squats

A brilliant exercise to target the legs and glutes that you can either do using just your bodyweight or with a pair of dumbbells.

Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

Although many people like to perform this exercise using an Olympic barbell, a pair of dumbbells is more than sufficient. A great strength exercise for your hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

Dumbbell floor press

This shoulder, chest and tricep exercise is actually a safer option than using a barbell because if you get stuck, you can just drop them onto the floor. The shorter range of motion also makes it easier for those who have shoulder pain.

Fit woman doing renegade rows in a gym

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumbbell renegade row

This works a variety of upper body muscles, including the upper back, shoulders, arms, and forearms. Aroosha advises maintaining a tight core throughout to also work your abdominal muscles.

Dumbbell lateral raises

If you want to develop rounded shoulders, then lat raises are your go-to exercise. You can either perform them standing or sitting on a chair.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.