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The Best Exercises To Regain Muscle Mass, Trainer Reveals

Need some guidance? We have the most effective exercises to build back muscle mass.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

One of the most common struggles people have to deal with at some point throughout their fitness journey is regaining the lean muscle mass they've lost. There are many reasons that cause this deficit to happen, including not being able to work out due to an injury, taking a break for personal reasons, or experiencing an unexpected life situation that popped up. Lean muscle mass also naturally decreases with age if you don't exercise to maintain it. It's not uncommon to experience inconsistency with your workout routine due to a situation beyond your control. When you're ready to get back on track—and you will!—we have the best exercises to regain muscle mass.

When trying to get back into a solid strength training routine, I recommend training three times per week, focusing on full-body sessions. When doing each of these sessions, it's essential to perform mostly compound movements. Compound movements engage multiple muscle groups and will enable you to progress pretty quickly.

When deciding which exercises to do, it's important to choose a lower body movement, a push, pull, single-leg, and direct arm work. This combination will allow you to stimulate your body fully and help you build back that muscle mass. Want to get back into your workout routine and need some guidance? Here are some sample exercises to regain muscle mass that you can perform. You've got this!

Dumbbell Squats

dumbbell squat to get rid of a big belly
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start your Dumbbell Squats with a dumbbell in each hand. Stand up straight with your feet just outside shoulder-width. Keep your chest tall and core tight, push your hips back, and begin squatting down until your hips hit about parallel height and the weights are below your shin. Drive through your heels to come back up, flexing quads and glutes to finish. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Related: The #1 Strength Workout To Regain Muscle Mass as You Age, Trainer Says

Incline Neutral Grip Bench Press

incline neutral bench press exercises to regain muscle mass
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start this exercise by lying down flat on an incline bench. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position them up with your palms facing each other. Pull your shoulder blades back, then lower the dumbbells using control. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the movement, then drive the dumbbells back up, flexing your triceps and upper pecs to finish. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Related: The Top 5 Walking Habits That Slow Aging, Fitness Expert Reveals

Lat Pulldowns

trainer doing lat pulldown to demonstrate how to get a toned belly in 1 week
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start your Lat Pulldowns by gripping the lat pulldown bar with your palms facing away from you just outside your shoulders. Lean back slightly, and pull the bar down toward your sternum with your elbows, squeezing your lats at the very bottom of the movement. Resist on the way back up, maintaining tension in your lats. Get a solid stretch at the top of the movement by letting your shoulder blades come up before performing another rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

trainer demonstrating dumbbell reverse lunges to shrink belly fat faster
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Get started with your Dumbbell Reverse Lungs. Hold a pair of dumbbells, and take a long stride backward with one leg. Firmly plant your heel down, then lower yourself until your back knee touches the ground. Push through with your front leg to come back up, flexing your glute and quad to finish. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

bent-over lateral raise exercise to regain muscle mass
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Grab a pair of dumbbells for this final exercise, and get into position. Push your hips back, bending your torso forward at least 45 degrees, and keep your chest tall, back straight, and knees soft. With the dumbbells hanging down toward the ground and a slight bend in your elbow, raise your arms to either side of you so that the dumbbells are parallel with your torso, squeezing the back of your shoulders as you do so. Resist on the way back to starting position before performing another rep. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

dumbbell hammer curls
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

To perform your Dumbbell Hammer Curls, grab a pair of dumbbells with both hands facing each other using a neutral grip. Keep your shoulders pulled back, and curl the weight up, flexing your forearms and biceps the entire time. Squeeze hard at the top, then resist on the way down. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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