What Are the Major Muscle Groups for Weight Training? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Are the Major Muscle Groups for Weight Training?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • For weight training purposes, you will want to make sure that your workout includes the major muscle groups in the body.
  • You need to balance working each group of muscles.
  • Failing to do so will create an imbalance, with one side becoming bulkier than the other.

Focusing on only a few of your muscles will not give you an effective overall workout, and you don’t want to build muscle in only one area.

If you are trying to plan an exercise workout routine, start by asking yourself, “What are the major muscle groups for weight training?” Not only do you need to find out about the major muscle groups for weight training, but you will want to make sure that your routine works them appropriately.

For example, if you want to build up the muscles in your thighs, make sure that your routine includes working the inner and outer portions equally.

You will need to have a specific workout plan so that each of the major muscle groups is being worked appropriately. For access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, workout creators, training logs, and more, go PRO today!

What Are the Major Muscle Groups for Weight Training in the Upper Body?

  • Your biceps are located at the front of your upper arm.
  • The opposite group of muscles is called your triceps, you will find them at the back of your arm. To tone and strengthen the biceps, give biceps curls a go; push-ups and triceps extensions are good choices for the back of your arms.
  • The deltoids are located on the cap of the shoulder. Push-ups will strengthen this part of your body, and you can also add a bench press to your routine to target this part of the body.
  • The muscles located between your shoulder blades are known as the rhomboids. When you do chin-ups, you are working them. Dumbbell bent rows also target this area.
  • Pecs, or pectoralis major, are the large muscles that cover the chest. To target this specific area, you will want to be sure that you are doing push-ups and pull-ups. Working on an incline bench will also help you target this area.
  • The trapezius muscles, or “traps,” are located on the upper part of the back. When you do upright rows or perform shoulder shrugs (with resistance), you are strengthening and toning them.
  • The latisimus dorsi are located on the middle portion of the back. To get the classic “V” shape that bodybuilders have, you will want to choose exercises that target them. Try pull-ups or chin-ups to tone them and give you this profile.

When you are planning your workout, don’t forget your lower back. Strengthening it will help to improve your posture and lower the risk of back pain. Incorporating squats and deadlifts in your routine will help you make sure it stays healthy.

What Are the Major Muscle Groups for Weight Training in the Midsection?

The abdominals are an area that you will want to include in your workout routine. When these flat muscles are toned, they are referred to as a “six-pack.”

To get this effect, add crunches or curls to your routine. Remember that core strength is extremely important for day-to-day activities. Planks, side planks, hanging leg raises, supermans, and back extensions should all be done on a regular basis to strengthen your core.

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What Are the Major Muscle Groups for Weight Training in the Lower Body?

  • Quadriceps, or quads, are the muscles located at the front of your thighs. Exercises targeting them include lunges and squats.
  • The gluteals, or glutes for short, are the large muscles that cover your buttocks. If you want to firm and tone this part of your body, start doing squats or leg presses.
  • Hamstrings are located at the back of your thighs. When you work your glutes by doing squats, you are also strengthening them. You can also target your hamstrings by doing lunges and leg curls.
  • The muscles of your inner and outer hips are known as the adductors and abductors, respectively. When you do leg lifts (while lying down) and cable pulls (in an upright position), you are working on this part of your body.

Proper planning is the key to getting the most out of your workout plan. Targeting only one part of the body is not going to help you exercise all the major muscle groups. Make sure that any plan you are considering includes movements that are going to help you keep all of them strong and healthy.

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