Muscle Diagrams of Major Muscles Exercised in Weight Training

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.



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

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

  1. Mat
    September 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I’m having pretty bad shin splints with pain on the insides of my legs right below my calf. Any idea what this specific muscle is caused? Know of any good exercises to strengthen this muscle or any other muscles that would take stress off my stained muscle?

  2. MotleyHealth
    September 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Not sure what muscles are causing the problem. The general treatment for shin splits is to rest the legs, use ice packs after training, do some gentle stretching of the lower leg muscles. If the pain is too much to handle then take some anti-inflammatory medications. Compression and elevation if recommended if there is swelling.

    Shin splints generally occur due to excessive usage and respond to rest and recovery. If problems persist you should get it checked by a doctor as it may not be shin splints. There could be a fracture or other tendon problems. Best to know.

  3. Mat
    September 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I rested and did a lot of icing after I first got the “shin splints”. I returned after about 2 weeks of rest but they came back. I did some research and I think it may be the flexor hallucis longus that is giving me trouble. It seems the recovery plan for this is RICE and light stretching and strengthening exercises. If this continues I might have to go see a doctor. Thanks.

  4. gemma
    February 16, 2012 at 3:10 am

    i have a tear in my levator scapulae and i am a very active volleyball player. i can not stop playing what exercises can help build strength?

  5. MotleyHealth
    February 16, 2012 at 4:52 am

    That is a tricky one Gemma, really you should seek advice from a doctor or ideally a sports physiotherapist. Depending on the severity of the tear the recommended course of action may be massage, manipulation and rest, rather than strengthening exercises to start with to aid recovery. Doing too much may make the condition worse and lengthen the period of injury, so seek advice. It really would be wise to stop playing for the time being.

  6. Teresa Figueira
    May 30, 2012 at 3:10 am

    I want to lose my fat i hv on my tummy i love to lose my fat tummy

  7. MotleyHealth
    May 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Hi Teresa, we have a page dedicated to this topic:

  8. nino montalvo
    October 20, 2012 at 5:49 am

    hi again! i’m taking muay thai at a martial arts studio that i work at, and i know how much the elbows, knees, and legs are utilized. i was hitting a heavy bag with my shin alot and it really started to hurt the next morning. so i was just wondering, are there any exercises to strenghten the shin bone and overall leg muscle?

  9. MotleyHealth
    October 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Nino, kicking a heavy bag is a good start to conditioning the shins and strengthening the legs. Specific strengthening exercises include lunges and squats. Shin conditioning can be done by shin kicking tyres and rubbing them with wooden sticks (e.g. Filipino sticks). Best talk to the Muay Thai instructor though, they are bound to have their preferred methods.

  10. Adrian Molina
    October 15, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Ill really like to know where in miami or who must i contact to have a muscle diagram. I have to see if i have crooked abs or model abs?

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