8 Major Muscle Groups and Exercises

The key to a good workout or a good gym routine is, without a doubt, balance. It is useless to do incredible workouts and lift 200 kilos in the bench press if then our back muscles are atrophied and lack muscle tone and strength.

I know very well that you have ever wondered which is the best exercise for the 8 main muscle groups, right?

For this reason, we have compiled some practical information for you to have at hand the best exercises for the 8 major muscle groups.

Best Exercises for the Major Muscle Groups

To speak of a single exercise for each muscle group as “the one” maybe oversimplifying as each exercise has different factors to evaluate, so the selection of exercises that we are going to present will be based on my opinion and personal experience and based on everything I have learned so far.

Obviously, for someone else, there may be exercises that are more meaningful or that they consider to be better.

1- Best Shoulder Exercise

Military Press

Exercise to work mainly the muscles of the shoulders (specifically emphasizes the anterior head of the deltoid), although we will also need to work the muscles of the back as this will be necessary to stabilize our posture.

We can perform this exercise standing or seated and we can choose to perform it with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebell (or kettlebell).

2- Best Back Exercises

Pull-ups

They are one of the star exercises in every gym, and at the same time one of the most hated by people because it is hard to get the first domination, but then the progression is usually quite fast.

With the pull-ups we are going to work the back muscles mainly but also will involve the shoulders, arms, and all the core muscles to stabilize and prevent swaying. 

It is a fairly complete exercise but as we have said, requires hard work to get our first dominated correctly.

In case we are not able to perform pull-ups, we can start by performing the following exercise:

Rowing

It can be done with dumbbells, barbell and even kettlebell (personally I am not in favor of working with pulleys because we lose the component of instability that provide us with free weights).

For beginners, I recommend starting with dumbbells to automate the mechanics of the movement, and then move to the bar. 

Here we are going to work mainly on the back muscles and, to a lesser extent, the arms.

3- Best Chest Exercise for Mass

Bench Press

This is the star exercise for working the pectorals, although it also affects the anterior head of the shoulder. 

We should not focus solely on this exercise and neglect rowing or back exercises, as this would cause muscle decompensation due to weakness of the posterior chain.

Because of its mechanics and its variants in both grip (prone, supine, open, narrow, closed) and the material to be used (dumbbells, barbells, and even discs), it is a very versatile movement that allows us to work the pectoral from different angles.

4- Best quadriceps exercises

Squats

Star exercise for the lower body due to the enormous muscle mass involved in its execution: the quadriceps are the main muscle involved, but in its execution also work the buttocks and all the muscles of the back and core to give us stability and protect the spine.  This exercise is undoubtedly key to having great legs.

5- Best femoral exercises

Dead Weight

Although this exercise also involves the back, I personally like to include it in the leg section because of the work we do with the hamstring and gluteus muscles.

The deadweight can be performed with barbells or dumbbells, being the one performed with a barbell the one that gives us two varieties of grip (prone and mixed).

6- Best Exercise for Bíceps

Biceps Curl with Z-Bar

Although working the biceps unilaterally can be beneficial for dressing decompensations between one arm and the other (which is why it is said that the concentrated biceps curl is the best exercise for this muscle group), when it comes to working the strength of our biceps, the Z-bar is one of the best options.

Personally, I like it better than the straight bar due to the position of the grip of the hands and its impact on the wrists, since using the Z-bar prevents the wrists from “arching” and generating mechanical stress on the forearm (and more specifically in the area known as “carpal tunnel”) when working with high loads.

7- Best tricep exercises

French Press with Z-bar

The French Press is one of the best exercises to gain strength and density in the triceps (many people prefer parallel or bench presses, but I personally don’t like them because of their mechanics and the instability they produce in the shoulder joint).

8- Best Core Exercises

Undoubtedly, the best exercise, if what you are looking for is to mark the abs, is good nutrition. 

This statement may seem like an easy joke, but it is absolutely true. If you don’t take care of your diet, you won’t care about the exercises you do.

That said, I always point to the same exercise as the main one for abs: planks, planks, and more planks. 

There are many different variations of the classic front plank that we can use to work our core.

Final Words

Definitely, to train your main macular groups there are hundreds of exercises you could do, in this article we show you the 8 Major Muscle Groups and Exercises you should focus on to improve your performance.

But a workout routine that includes the triangle plank forward bent cable crossover, covered pecks, bench press, squat, lunge, deadlift, kettlebell swing, IYT raises, pull-up, pull-up, pull-ups, inverted row, seated and incline row, seated lateral raise, 45-degree incline row, dumbbell shoulder press, single-leg deadlift, single-leg squat, side-lying hip abduction, and the concentration curl are necessary for optimal training.

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