What are the major muscle groups?

Knowing what you’re doing is important if you want fast results, a good starting point is learning the muscle groups you’ll be training and how to train them.

So what are the major muscle groups?


The chest is split up into 3 main areas, the upper chest, the mid chest and the lower chest. The main exercise you should start with to build the foundations of your chest is the barbell bench press. Don’t worry about weight, start with the bar and get used to it, you’ll thank yourself in the long run if you do this exercise from the beginning and onwards.


The delts/shoulders are made up of three heads, the front delts, the side delts and the rear delts. They are responsible for arm rotation in particular. If your delts are small at this point, focus on building your side and rear delts using exercises such as side raises and rear delt flys, but don’t forget to focus on training the front delts too because you don’t want a weakness there, front raises are a perfect exercise.


The traps cover the upper area of your back to your neck. You may have bad posture and when starting out I did too. However, after training traps well my neck and upper back allignment is much improved. Moreover, if you’re aiming to look big then you need well-developed traps. To strengthen and build muscle in this area, I do variations of shrugs and barbell rows

Latissimius dorsi (lats)

The lats are a very important muscle group particularly for the big 3 lifts. They help with stabilisation when squatting and deadlifting and help transfer force during a bench press. Obviously these three lifts should be the centre point to your strength building routine, so you need strong lats to help progreesive overload.

Extensors (lower back)

Training the lower back can help to increase weight on squats and deadlifts. Whilst doing these lifts a fair proportion of strain can be put on the lower back, so it is essential you isolate this area in your training, to avoid any weaknesses that could lead to injury. When I began training, my lower back was very weak. I’ve found that forgetting about loading a heavy weight and focusing on form and frequency for my squats and deadlifts really strengthened my lower back. However, for me this took a lot of practice and months of training, so do not rush it and consider other exercises such as back extensions.


Triceps are 2/3 of your arms. Training these will ensure optimal arm size. Furthermore, strong triceps are a must if you want to improve your bench press as the triceps are being used as a secondary to the chest. Popular tricep exercises include dips and tricep pull downs.


Well developed biceps won’t add as much size to your arms as well-developed triceps but they help your physique look good. It is important to isolate your biceps because if they are a very weak point then you could struggle with exercises such as rows since the biceps are secondary movers in that exercise. You can target your biceps by doing bicep curls and preacher curls.


You will be training your abdomen during your workouts catered to other muscle groups. This is because whilst standing and curling a weight for example, your abs are assisting your stability whilst performing that movement. You can isolate your abs with exercises like sit ups and crunches, however there are more effective exercises for you to learn about here too!

Gluteus (glutes)

The glutes help propel us forwards when walking and running. Weak glutes can be a source of back pain during other exercises so shouldn’t be left out of your training. Back squats and barbell hip thrusts are perfect to hit the glutes.


The quadriceps are the large group of muscles at the front of the upper leg. They work to bend and straighten the knee and work with the hamstrings to support leg movement. I do squats and lunges to build my quads, but I’ve also found Bulgarian split squats to be effective.


The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the upper leg. The common exercises to isolate the hamstrings are the seated leg curls and lying leg curls. Although you work oyur hamstrings when walking and running too.


It’s important to remember to train your calves the same way as you train other areas, consistency is key if you want bigger calves. I usually do two variations of calf raises, seated and standing calf raises

Ready to go?

If you’re looking for any more exercises to target these areas then you can find this elsewhere on the site. Make sure to follow my social media accounts linked below, thank you!

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