To build your muscles, you need to know your muscles. This anatomy chart can help you do just that. We also list exercises that are optimized to work each muscle group. 


Muscles: Serratus anterior, External obliques, Rectus abdominis, Tendinous inscriptions


  • Crunches

    Don’t relax your abs at the bottom of the movement — maintain continuous tension for maximum effect.

  • Leg Raises

    Don’t let your feet touch the ground and really squeeze your abs at the top.

  • Side Crunches

    Monitor your progress and make sure this exercise doesn’t make your waist too big.

Muscles: Teres minor, Teres major, Infraspinatus, Rhomboid major, Latissimus dorsi


  • Deadlifts

    Deadlifts are excellent for building your lats.

  • Weighted Chin-ups

    Ensure that your shoulders are warmed up prior to this exercise.

  • Bentover Barbell Rows

    Make sure your back keeps its natural arch, and don’t “snap” your neck up and down on this exercise like so many people do.

Muscles: Brachiallis, Biceps brachii — long and short head


  • Standing Barbell Curls

    Grip the bar comfortably at shoulder width.

  • Hammer Curls

    Don’t let the weight hang — maintain continuous tension throughout the movement.

  • Preacher Curls

    If you’re using dumbbells on this exercise then you can supinate your wrist at the top for maximum contraction.

Muscles: Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Peroneus brevis, Flexor hallucis longus, Tibialis anterior, Peroneus longus, Extensor digitorum longus


  • Standing Calf Raises

    Keep good form by keeping your feet parallel.

  • Seated Calf Raises

    Never bounce the weight, as this will lead to strain and injury — instead, control it and emphasize the burn.

  • Donkey Raises

    This is a chance to kick it old-school — like Arnold and Franco. Just keep your head up and eyes forward to ensure proper form and load distribution.

Muscles: Deltoid — anterior, medial and posterior head


  • Standing Military Press

    Keep good form by tightening your back and abs.

  • Barbell Upright Rows

    Keeping a shoulder-width grip will activate your delts, while a closer grip will hit your traps more.

  • Lateral Dumbbell Raises

    Keep your elbows high at the top of this movement.

Muscles: Brachioradialis, Flexor carpi radialis, Flexor carpi ulnaris, Extensor pollicis longus, Extensor pollicis brevis, Extensor carpi ulnaris, Abductor pollicis longus, Palmaris longus, Pronator teres


  • Reverse Barbell Curls

    Excellent for building bodybuilder-worthy forearms that would make Popeye proud.

  • Barbell Wrist Curls

    Perform this exercise by placing your forearms on a bench, or stand with the bar behind you.

  • Hammer Curls

    Don’t let your wrists hang.

Muscles: Gluteus medius, Gluteus maximus


  • Squats

    Squeeze your glutes at the top of motion.

  • Barbell Lunges

    Use a weight that will force you to work hard, but don’t sacrifice good form.

  • Cable Kickbacks

    Don’t worry if people make fun of you — they work.

Muscles: Iliotibial band, Biceps femoris, Adductor magnus, Semitendinosus, Gracilis, Semimembranosus


  • Squats

    This is the best overall bodybuilding exercise.

  • Leg Curls

    Don’t rock the weight. You can alternate between a single or double leg curl machine. If you don’t have a machine, lie on a bench and use a dumbbell between your feet.

  • Straight-Leg Deadlifts

    Focus on bringing out the separation in your hams. There’s nothing more impressive than strong hamstring tie-ins.

Muscles: Erector spinae, Thoracolumbar fascia


  • Hyperextensions

    Slightly flex your lower back at the top of the movement — don’t hyperextend it, as this may cause injury.

  • Good Mornings

    Use light weight and emphasize precise control over the weight. Keep your head up and eyes looking forward.

  • Straight-Leg Deadlifts

    Let the weight hang naturally in front of your body, as though it’s a pendulum. Keep your head up and eyes looking forward.

Muscles: Pectoralis major, Pectoralis minor


  • Bench Press

    Check your ego at the door — don’t bounce the bar off your chest.

  • Incline Dumbbell Press

    Use your thighs to “kick” the weight into starting position.

  • Weighted Dips

    Add weight only when you can do solid reps. Try your own body weight first and build from there.

Muscles: Sartorius, Pectineus, Adductor longus, Gracilis, Tensor fasciate latae, Vastus medialis, Rectus femoris, Vastus lateralis


  • Squats

    Keep your head up, eyes looking forward and drive the weight through the full range of effective motion.

  • Leg Press

    Maintain good form — anchor your glutes to the seat, and perform with a full range of motion.

  • Barbell Lunges

    Don’t let your knee extend over your stepping foot.

Muscles: Trapezius


  • Deadlifts

    Start with the bar in the rack — this will give you a good feel for the weight that you’re going to move.

  • Close-grip Upright Rows

    Keep your elbows high and pull up the weight toward your neck.

  • Shrugs

    Develop your grip strength — don’t use straps.

Muscles: Triceps brachii — lateral, long and medial head


  • Reverse-Grip Bench Press

    Firmly grip the bar so it doesn’t roll out of your hands.

  • Cable Pressdowns

    Squeeze your triceps at the top of the movement for maximum stimulation and growth.

  • Skullcrushers

    Maintain good form and control — just don’t crush your skull.


- Team FBB

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