Muscle Diagrams of Major Muscles Exercised in Weight Training

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All the major muscle groups of the body from front and back.
Click on the name of the muscle, or the image, to see weight training exercises. The abdominal muscles are shown in red, it is very easy to see from this diagram how a six pack is made, and also why some people have an “eight pack”.

Below the muscle diagrams we have listed a series of exercises which work each muscle. There are linked to our individual weight training exercises and group exercise pages. To work these muscles start one of our weight training workouts.

Fun facts: Did you know that that glutes (gluteus maximus) are the largest muscles in the body? These shape our bottoms, so if you are looking to develop a firmer butt, get squatting.

Lower body

Quadriceps (front of legs)
Compound exercises for the quadriceps also involve the glutes (buttocks), hamstrings and calves.

Hamstrings (back of legs)


Upper body

Pectorals (chest)

Compound exercises for the pectorals also involve the triceps and front deltoids.

5. Lats (upper back)

Compound exercises for the lats also involve the biceps and rear deltoids.

Deltoids and Trapezius (shoulders)

Compound exercises for the shoulders also involve the arm muscles.


Triceps (back of arms)

Triceps Training Exercises

Biceps (front of arms)

  • Bicep curl (isolation)

Brachioradalis / Pronator teres (forearms)

Strengthening forearms and grip strength is essential to allow you to move on to lifting heavier weights. Unless you use wrist hooks, strong grip is vital for deadlifts, cleans, shoulder shrugs and rows as your progress with the weight.


Abdominals (belly)

Compound exercises for the abdominals also involve the hip flexors.

Lower back

Some compound exercises for the legs also involve the lower back.

Bodybuilders commonly divide the body’s individual muscles into ten major muscle groups. These do not include the hip, neck and forearm muscles, which are rarely trained in isolation. The most common exercises for these muscle groups are listed above.

The sequence shown above is one possible way to order the exercises. The large muscles of the lower body are normally trained before the smaller muscles of the upper body, because these first exercises require more mental and physical energy. The core muscles of the torso are trained before the shoulder and arm muscles that assist them. Exercises often alternate between “pushing” and “pulling” movements to allow their specific supporting muscles time to recover. The stabilizing muscles in the waist should be trained last. First ensure that you are familiar with all the major muscles.

Deltoids Deltoids Pectoralis Major Pectoralis Major Abdominals Abs/Obliques Abdominals Quads Quads biceps biceps Rotator Cuff Rotator Cuff Forearms Forearms traps traps Deltoids Deltoids Triceps Triceps Latissimus Latissimus Rotator Cuff Rotator Cuff

  16 comments for “Muscle Diagrams of Major Muscles Exercised in Weight Training

  1. MotleyHealth
    October 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Adrian, go and see a doctor, of you have a muscular problem they will be able to tell you.

  2. Glenn mCGuigan
    September 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    hi wonder ifi was to keep a bit of tension or more on my abdomen muscles to see if this can help maintain the tummy shape?

  3. MotleyHealth
    September 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Glenn, that does help a little, but more reps and more resistance probably helps more.

  4. kenny park
    December 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Hi, when im running, regardless of how much i stretch or not stretch or how much water i drink, my calfs are agony after running about half a km causing me to stop even though the rest of my bodys willing to go on. Any ideas why this might be?

  5. MotleyHealth
    December 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Tricky Kenny, it could be that they are currently weak and will improve, or it could be that there is an issue with gait, posture etc. that needs looking at. Performing calf raises will strengthen them and this might help.

    April 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    I had shin splints once as a runner. I incorporated this exercise every day until they were gone, then again if I felt the slightest hint they were returning.
    Sit on something high enough to dangle your legs. Hang a 3 to 5 pound ankle or arm weight over the toes. Raise the foot up toward the knee 15-20 times, 3 times each side. This strengthens the muscles associated with shin splints, I cured other runners shin splints with this method. L

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