Resistance training can be more effective than cardio training if the goal is fat loss and building of strength. There are a lot of exercise routines that can make a person bigger and stronger, but limited equipment and time can pose problems. Never fear, though. Even if you are on a tight schedule and don’t have full gym access, here are a few moves to achieve a toned, muscular physique.



The squat is considered the king of all exercises. It is a whole-body push exercise that hits most of the muscle groups in the body, with a lot of emphasis on the core and lower body muscles. Squats involve more muscle mass and motor units than many other exercises.

Variations of the exercise can be incorporated to target different group of muscles. The front squat will target the quadriceps while the back squat targets the hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

Adjusting the width of the stance during squat exercise will also target different muscle groups. The quadriceps will be given a strong workout when the stance is narrow while a wide stance will tax the hamstring and gluteal muscles.


Second only to the squat is the deadlift. The deadlift targets the entire core and strengthens the lower body muscles. The deadlift is a high demand, whole-body, push-pull exercise.
This exercise is effective in strengthening the lower back, which is typically a weak area. A weak lower back can lead to instability and injuries. You can use straps to help ensure a tighter grip on the barbell when you progress to heavier weights. You can use different hand positions such as overhand, underhand, or alternate grip (with one overhand and the other underhand).

Bench Press

Bench press primarily works the pectorals but also targets the triceps and anterior deltoids. The bench press, as with the squat, can be done with different variations in order to target different upper-body muscles.

The flat bench press will improve the middle of the chest, an incline bench press works the upper pectoral muscles, and the decline bench press targets the lower pectorals. Dumbbells or barbells can be used for this type of exercise.

Barbell Row

The barbell row is a staple of elite athletic programs. It is great for the development of the upper back. The barbell row is a compound, full-body exercise. It works the upper back, lower back, arms, and hips.


The key to a good exercise is repetition. Target anywhere from 5 to 8 repetitions for 3 to 5 sets per exercise. You will be surprised at the results.