Top 10 Strength Training Exercises

What are the most effective strength training exercises? Get some great tips and advice from a professional PT in Abu Dhabi.
Training for upper body strength at home in Abu Dhabi with PT Uros

10 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Building Muscle and Power in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah

Article Contributor: Grace

Strength training is a cornerstone of any fitness routine, whether you’re aiming to build muscle, increase power, or improve overall health and athleticism. Incorporating a variety of compound exercises into your workout regimen can target multiple muscle groups, enhance functional strength, and maximize gains in muscle mass and power. 

For individuals seeking personal training in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah, it’s essential to include these 10 key strength training exercises that belong in every athlete’s repertoire.

Table Of Contents


Squats are a foundational lower body exercise that engages multiple muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. This compound movement can be performed using various equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, or just your body weight. Squats are highly effective in developing lower body strength, power, and overall functional fitness in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

When performing squats, it is important to maintain proper form to prevent injury and maximize results. Some key points to consider include keeping your chest up, engaging your core, pushing through your heels, and ensuring your knees track over your toes. Additionally, varying your squat stance and depth can target different muscle groups and provide a well-rounded lower body workout.

For example, front squats place more emphasis on the quads and core, while sumo squats target the inner thighs and glutes. Experimenting with tempo, such as incorporating slow eccentric phases or explosive concentric movements, can also add variety and challenge to your squat routine.

Incorporating squats into your workout regimen can improve your overall strength, stability, and athletic performance. Remember to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable with the movement. Consistency and proper technique are key to reaping the full benefits of this essential lower body exercise. Always consult a personal trainer in the UAE to ensure you are exercising effectively and safely.


Things to Consider:


  • Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the entire squat movement to avoid strain or injury.

  • Gradually increase the intensity of your squats by adding resistance or adjusting the tempo for progression.

  • Incorporate variations like front squats and sumo squats to target specific muscle groups and prevent plateauing in your workouts.


Deadlifts are a multifaceted compound exercise known for their effectiveness in targeting the posterior chain muscles, including the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and traps. This dynamic movement involves lifting heavy weights from the ground to a full standing position, engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

By incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine, you can experience significant strength gains, improved explosive power, and enhanced overall stability. The exercise demands a combination of effort, technique, and control, leading to comprehensive development. Regular deadlifting sessions can help build a strong foundation for athletic performance in various sports and activities, as well as provide functional strength for everyday tasks.


Things to consider:


  • Proper form is crucial when performing deadlifts to prevent injury and maximize benefits.

  • Gradually increase the weight lifted to avoid straining muscles or joints.

  • Incorporate adequate rest and recovery time between deadlifting sessions to allow muscles to repair and grow stronger.

Bench Press

The bench press is a fundamental upper body exercise that is crucial for targeting key muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This exercise can be performed using various equipment including barbells, dumbbells, or machines. Bench press variations play a vital role in enhancing upper body strength and promoting muscle growth. For individuals looking to improve their overall fitness and work with a personal trainer in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, incorporating bench press exercises into their workout routine can help achieve their goals effectively.

For example, performing incline bench presses can specifically target the upper chest muscles, while decline bench presses focus more on the lower chest area. Additionally, incorporating pause reps or tempo variations in your bench press routine can further challenge your muscles and enhance muscle endurance. Working with a qualified personal trainer in Abu Dhabi or Dubai can provide valuable guidance on proper bench press form, technique, and progression to ensure optimal results and prevent injuries.


Things to consider:


  • Start with a weight that allows you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

  • Ensure your back is flat against the bench and your feet are firmly planted on the ground.

  • Focus on controlled movements and avoid bouncing the weight off your chest.

  • Gradually increase the weight as you progress to continue challenging your muscles.

  • Listen to your body and rest between sets if needed to prevent over training.


Pull-ups are an exceptional bodyweight exercise that effectively engages and strengthens multiple muscle groups primarily in the upper body. This highly beneficial exercise focuses on the back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, as well as the biceps and various core stabilizing muscles. When one performs pull-ups, they must lift their entire body weight by grasping onto a bar or a pair of gymnastic rings, which significantly improves upper body muscular strength. Additionally, pull-ups greatly enhance grip strength due to the intense requirement of holding onto the bar throughout the movement.

Moreover, executing pull-ups with proper form will bolster muscular endurance over time. As your body repeatedly raises and lowers through each pull-up, you’ll notice an increase in the amount of repetitions you can do as your muscles adapt to the workload. Furthermore, there are several variations of pull-ups that can be incorporated into training routines to target different aspects of the muscles involved, such as wide-grip, close-grip, and even weighted pull-ups for added resistance. This versatility ensures that pull-ups remain a challenging and effective workout staple for individuals seeking to develop a stronger and more muscular upper body.


Things to Consider:


  • Ensure proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness.

  • Gradually increase the intensity and difficulty of pull-up variations as strength improves.

  • Incorporate pull-ups into a well-rounded workout routine for balanced muscle development.
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Rows are an essential component of any comprehensive strength training regimen, especially for individuals looking to enhance the muscular development and overall strength of their back. This exercise effectively engages various muscle groups in the back, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps), and rhomboids. The versatility of rows allows them to be performed using different equipment options such as a barbell, dumbbells, or a cable machine, each offering unique benefits.

In addition to muscle building, rows play a crucial role in improving posture by strengthening the muscles that retract and stabilize the shoulder blades. This helps counteract the forward hunch often caused by prolonged periods of sitting or activities involving forward bending or reaching. Incorporating rows into your workout routine can also reduce the risk of shoulder injuries by fortifying the shoulder girdle muscles, enhancing joint stability, and preventing imbalances from focusing too much on pushing exercises like presses.

Furthermore, rows contribute to a symmetrical and balanced physique, particularly in the upper body, ensuring that the posterior chain muscles are not neglected in favor of more visually prominent anterior muscles like the chest and shoulders. A strong and well-defined back is not only aesthetically pleasing but also crucial for functional movement patterns and athletic performance, serving as the foundation for good form and lifting techniques across various exercises.

In conclusion, rows are not just a basic back exercise but a versatile tool that helps create a resilient and harmonious upper body, essential for both aesthetic appeal and functional fitness. Whether you’re an athlete aiming to enhance performance or someone striving for better posture and a healthier lifestyle, integrating rows into your workout regime is a smart step towards achieving these goals.


Things to Consider:


  • Ensure proper form and technique when performing rows to maximize effectiveness and prevent injury.

  • Gradually increase the weight/resistance used for rows as strength improves to continue challenging the muscles.

  • Incorporate variations of rows (e.g., underhand grip, wide grip) to target different areas of the back for comprehensive development.

  • Allow adequate rest and recovery between rowing sessions to promote muscle growth and prevent over training.

  • Consult with a fitness professional if you have any existing back or shoulder issues before incorporating rows into your workout routine.

Overhead Press

The overhead press is a fundamental exercise commonly referred to as the shoulder press. This movement primarily targets the deltoid muscles in the shoulders, offering an efficient workout for these critical muscles. But it doesn’t stop there; the exercise also heavily involves the triceps brachii at the back of your upper arms and the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back stabilizers.

By pressing a weight upwards from shoulder level to a position of full arm extension above the head, you are not only challenging your muscles with the load but also working on several facets of fitness simultaneously. The overhead press is superb for developing raw shoulder strength, which is crucial for pushing movements in both daily activities and athletic contexts. It contributes greatly to shoulder stability; having strong delts means your shoulder joint is better supported and less prone to injuries.

Furthermore, by engaging the core throughout the exercise, the overhead press enhances your overall body control and posture. A strong core is a foundation for all physical activity, and this exercise demands that the core muscles work hard to stabilize the spine and pelvis under the weight.

As you perform the overhead presses over time, you’ll notice improvements in muscular endurance as well. Your shoulders will become more resistant to fatigue, allowing you to perform tasks that require extended periods of pushing or lifting without getting tired quickly. Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve performance or simply want to build a stronger, more resilient upper body, incorporating the overhead press into your routine can be highly beneficial.


Things to consider:


  • Ensure proper form and technique to avoid injury, especially in the shoulder area.

  • Start with a manageable weight and gradually increase as you build strength.

  • Incorporate variations of the overhead press to target different muscle groups and prevent plateaus.

  • Listen to your body and rest when needed to allow for proper recovery and muscle growth.


Lunges are an incredibly versatile and effective lower body workout that primarily engage the major muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This exercise can be performed virtually anywhere, from the sun-drenched beaches of Abu Dhabi to the bustling streets of Dubai, and it doesn’t necessarily require equipment—bodyweight alone can suffice. However, for those looking to increase the intensity, additional weights such as dumbbells or a barbell may be incorporated into the routine.

One of the key benefits of lunges is their ability to develop single-leg strength. This is particularly important because it can help correct muscular imbalances, as each leg is forced to bear the load independently. Additionally, lunges are excellent for boosting stability and balance. Since you’re moving in a controlled forward motion, your body has to stabilize itself with every step, thereby engaging the core and building a strong foundation.

Moreover, lunges are highly adaptable. They can be modified to cater to different fitness levels or to target different muscles more intensively. For instance, taking longer steps emphasizes the gluteal muscles, while shorter steps will place more focus on the quads. Lunges can be static, where you step forward and then return to the starting position, or dynamic, where you continue moving forward with each lunge, akin to walking lunges.

Incorporating lunges into your fitness regimen is a smart choice for anyone seeking to enhance their lower body strength, improve functional movements, and promote overall athleticism. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, lunges offer a range of benefits and can be easily scaled to fit your individual needs and goals. With consistent practice, lunges can contribute significantly to a well-rounded and robust training program.


Things to Consider:


  • Ensure proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness.

  • Start with bodyweight lunges before progressing to using additional weights.

  • Listen to your body and adjust the intensity and volume of lunges based on your fitness level and goals.

Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts are a nuanced variation of the conventional deadlift designed to target the hamstrings and gluteal muscles more intensively while reducing stress on the lower back. To perform this exercise, engage in a hip hinge motion, lowering the weight toward the floor while keeping the legs relatively straight to maintain proper form.

This technique emphasizes hamstring muscle strength and enhances hip mobility, crucial for daily activities and athletic movements. Romanian deadlifts also contribute to the stability of the posterior chain, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, essential for overall balance and injury prevention during exercise and daily tasks.

Incorporating Romanian deadlifts into a strength training routine can significantly improve functional and athletic performance, making it a valuable component of a comprehensive fitness program. It is important to focus on form and gradually increase weight as strength and technique improve over time.


Things to consider:


  • Start with lighter weights to master the movement pattern before progressing to heavier loads.

  • Focus on maintaining a neutral spine throughout the exercise to prevent lower back strain.

  • Engage the core muscles to stabilize the torso and support the lower back during the movement.

  • Consult with a fitness professional to ensure proper technique and form to maximize the benefits of Romanian deadlifts.

Push Ups

Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that primarily target the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles to build a strong upper body. When performing push-ups, you move your body up and down from a plank position. This movement not only enhances upper body strength but also improves muscular endurance, core stability, and overall physical fitness.

This versatile exercise can be adapted for any fitness level. Beginners can start with wall or knee push-ups, while advanced individuals can try variations like decline push-ups or diamond push-ups for added challenge. By incorporating push-ups into your regular workout routine, you can expect to see improvements in muscle definition, posture, and athletic performance due to the engagement of multiple muscle groups in this compound movement.

Apart from the physical benefits, push-ups can be done anywhere without equipment, making them a practical and effective exercise for improving fitness. Regularly practicing push-ups can significantly enhance functional strength, aiding in daily activities and improving overall quality of life.


Things to Consider:


  • Ensure proper form by keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels during the entire movement.

  • Breathe steadily throughout the exercise, exhaling as you push up and inhaling as you lower down.

  • Gradually increase the number of repetitions or try more challenging variations to continue progressing in your fitness journey.


Planks, known for their simplicity and effectiveness, are a staple core exercise that predominantly targets not only the abdominal muscles but also engages the lower back, along with the stabilizing muscles enveloping the torso. The beauty of planks lies in their static nature; by maintaining the plank position with correct alignment and technique, individuals can significantly develop their core strength. However, it is not just about fortifying the center of the body – planks also offer benefits for stability and endurance, which are critical components for any athletic endeavor.

Furthermore, incorporating planks into your workout regimen isn’t merely about building a strong and sculpted midsection. This exercise promotes proper posture and can alleviate some forms of back discomfort by strengthening those support systems around the spine. Additionally, athletes find planks particularly beneficial as they build the kind of core endurance necessary to sustain long periods of physical activity without succumbing to fatigue.

Executing a plank may seem straightforward, yet it demands attention to detail to reap the full rewards. Ensuring that the elbows are aligned under the shoulders, the body is in a straight line from head to heels, and the abdominal muscles remain engaged throughout the duration of the hold, is paramount. Over time, as one’s core becomes stronger and more resilient, planks pave the way towards a reduced risk of injuries. This aspect is especially crucial as a strong core acts as a protective barrier for the spine during dynamic movements and heavy lifting.

In essence, planks are far more than just an exercise; they are a foundational movement that supports functional fitness and primes the body for the complexities of various physical activities. Whether you’re an athlete or someone looking to enhance their general fitness, regular practice of plank exercises can provide substantial improvements in performance and well-being.


Things to Consider:


  • Start with holding a plank for a shorter duration and gradually increase the time as your core strength improves.

  • Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the plank to maximize its benefits and prevent strain on other muscle groups.

  • Incorporate variations of planks, such as side planks or plank jacks, to target different areas of the core and add variety to your routine.

In Summary.....

In conclusion, incorporating these 10 essential strength training exercises into your workout routine in Abu Dhabi can help you build muscle, increase power, and improve overall athleticism. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, mastering these compound exercises will lay the foundation for a strong, healthy, and functional body. So grab some weights, hit the gym, and start reaping the benefits of strength training today!

Coach Grace

Yoga and fitness personal trainer in Abu Dhabi - Grace

Abu Dhabi PT & Yoga Coach - Grace

Grace understands that each client in Abu Dhabi is unique and requires individual approach and support. 

Her ability to connect with people helps bring out the best in every client she works with. so that they show up at their best at home & work environment . 

She is a supportive and understanding coach but will give you a tough love when needed to push you outside your comfort zone.

As a PT, Grace is invested in helping you achieve your goals as much as you are . 

Whether it’s getting stronger and building muscle, learning Yoga for relaxation, Pilates for posture and flexibility or losing weight, she will tailor your workout & nutrition plan in the most time efficient and sustainable way. 

Her extensive knowledge and experience in Pilates will help you build a strong core & body.

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