A lot of people lift weights without knowing what they're doing or why they're doing it. Don't be one of them! For every exercise you do, there are five important questions you need to answer. And you'd better get 'em right:

What's the name of the exercise?

What's the agonist in the exercise?

What are the synergists in the exercise?

What movements are occurring during the exercise?

What plane does the exercise take place in?

Okay, now relax. As it turns out, I'm a pretty nice guy, so I'm going to give you the answers to these questions. Below is a humongous list of practically every exercise worth doing, with the top five need-to know facts about each one. Obviously, this will be most useful for beginning and intermediate lifters, since you advanced guys and ladies already know it all, right? In any case, having this information at your fingertips should be beneficial for everyone.

The first thing we need to know about an exercise is its proper name, so that we're all talking about the same thing. Nothing brands you as a newb quite like calling an exercise by the wrong name.

Back Squat

Don't call this exercise a "weighted deep knee bend," or she'll kick your newb ass.

One does occasionally run into exercises that are known by different names, so in the list I've used the most widely used and descriptive name. I've explained the more confusing ones, but if you're still unclear about any of the names I've chosen, drop me a line and we'll try to straighten it out.

The agonist is the prime mover of the exercise. It's the main muscle working during the exercise. Every exercise will have an agonist, it's generally the reason why you're doing the exercise. Some exercises will have two or more agonists. That means two or more muscles are so important to the exercise that it's difficult to separate out one muscle group over the other.

One thing to keep in mind is that the agonist of the exercise is the agonist whether you "feel" it working or not. Not everyone starts off with the neuromuscular coordination necessary to feel their muscles working during the exercise. However, if you're doing the movement properly then rest assured that the agonist is doing its job. Over time your ability to tune into the muscles contracting during an exercise will improve.

The synergist in an exercise is a muscle that's helping the agonist. It may be helping the agonist at the same joint or it may be causing another joint to produce (or resist) movement. The most important thing to note about a synergist is that this muscle is receiving a training stimulus from the exercise. That means if you just did one exercise and that was it, a synergistic muscle will respond to that exercise by getting bigger and stronger. It may also be sore from the exercise for the next day or two.

When developing a routine, it's important to allow synergistic muscles adequate time to recover from their training. Many muscles contract during an exercise, but honestly that's not terribly relevant to what's happening during the exercise, or how your program should be structured. For example, your calves will contract during a lateral raise or a biceps curl, but that really makes no difference. If you just performed lateral raises or biceps curls, will your calves get sore from that, and will they get bigger and stronger from that one exercise? Of course not.

Don't confuse a muscle that contracts during an exercise with a muscle that's a synergist during an exercise. Usually a synergist is producing movement during the exercise, but sometimes a stabilizing muscle has to work so hard during the exercise that it will also receive a significant training effect from the exercise, so we'll go ahead and call it a synergist as well. Finally not all exercises will have a synergist; sometimes just the agonist is working and that's it.

The movement produced during the exercise is describing the action of the joints involved. How are those joints moving during the exercise? There are six primary actions of the main joints in the body and they are:

• Flexion: decreasing the angle at a joint often described as bending or curling

• Extension: increasing the angle at a joint often described as straightening or extending

• Abduction: moving away from anatomical position in a vertical direction

• Adduction: moving toward anatomical position in a vertical direction

• Horizontal Abduction: moving away from the midline traveling parallel to the horizon

• Horizontal Adduction: moving toward the midline traveling parallel to the horizon

In addition to those 6 main movements, there are a number of special cases that the body can do. Not all joints are capable of all 6 movements. The elbow, for example, can only do flexion and extension. Actually, allof the joints trained in the gym can do flexion and extension. Other joints, such as the shoulder and the hip, arecapable of all six movements, unless you have serious mobility issues.

A compound exercise is an exercise that involves 2 or more joints working. If there are two joints working then there will be two actions taking place: the most common scenarios are the shoulder and the elbow or the hip and the knee. A compound exercise will always have an agonist and a synergist. The primary joint is the most proximal joint (shoulder or hip) and its action is listed first. The agonist is the muscle that's moving the primary joint. An isolation exercise is an exercise where just one joint is moving, so it will just have one movement, although more than one muscle may be involved.

Leg curl

Isolation exercises involve only one joint, but may recruit many muscles.

When designing exercise programs, it's a good idea to try to have some balance in the movements. For example, you would generally not want to do six exercises that produced horizontal adduction and only one that produced horizontal abduction. In most cases you also don't want your programs to feature exercises that are only flexion and extension, which are the most common in the gym. When looking at an exercise, the movement listed is the movement that takes place on the concentric part of the exercise (when you're going against gravity).

Finally, we need to know the plane of the exercise. No, not a Boeing 747, smartass. The plane of the exercise refers to one of the three planes of motion the joints are moving in.

The Plane

The fifth thing to know about an exercise: "the plane, the plane!"

Sagittal plane: divides the body into left and right sections, it runs forever forwards and backwards. It's sometimes referred to as the midline of the body. Movements in the sagittal plane will run forward or backward and they are almost always flexion and extension. A biceps curl is in the sagittal plane.

Frontal plane: divides the body into front and back sections. It runs forever side to side in a vertical direction. Movements in the frontal plane will run side to side, up and down and they are almost always abduction and adduction. A jumping jack is in the frontal plane.

Transverse plane: divides the body into top and bottom sections. It runs forever side to side, parallel to the horizon. Movements in the transverse plane will run side to side with no significant vertical movement and they are almost always horizontal abduction and horizontal adduction. A bench press in the transverse plane.

The Planes Defined

The planes initially are based on anatomical position. Anatomical position is when you're standing, facing forward, with your palms forward. If your entire body moves then the planes will move with you. So a bench press (facing up), a chest press machine (facing forward), and a push-up (facing down) are all in the same plane (transverse). If you're doing the same action, regardless of what position you're facing, then the plane is the same.

Not all movements take place within one plane. Sometimes a movement can be between planes. For example an incline bench isn't perfectly in the transverse plane and it's not in the frontal plane, so it's between planes. Other movements can take place in more than one plane. They are referred to as multi-planar movements. Complex activities like pitching a baseball or tackling someone would be multi-planar. It's the primary joint moving that generally determines which plane the exercise is in.

And now we come to the humongous list of exercises that we advertised in the introduction. They are grouped by general muscle groups such as chest, back, etc. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of every exercise possible for that muscle group, but rather a thoroughly representative list of the common exercises often mentioned for those muscle groups. If after studying the list you find that your favorite exercise has been omitted, feel free to pencil it in somewhere.

When listing the synergistic muscles, I tried to list the main muscles that would receive training stimulus from the exercises that most people in the gym actually do. There may be some smaller or deep muscles working that are not listed. Generally stabilizers are not listed unless they are receiving a major training stimulus.

Chest Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Chest Press Machine

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid, Triceps, Lats

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Hammer Strength Bench Press

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps, Lats

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Incline Press Machine

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Hammer Strength Incline Press

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Bench Press

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps, Lats**

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Incline Bench Press

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Dumbbell Press

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps, Lats

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Incline Dumbbell Press

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid, Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Push-up

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps, Lats

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Smith Machine Push-up

–Or Modified Push-up

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Smith Machine Bench Press

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps, Lats

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Pec Deck

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid

H. Shoulder adduction

Transverse

Chest Fly Machine

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction

Transverse

Decline Bench Press

Sternal pectoralis major

Triceps,

–Anterior deltoid

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Pectoralis major

Triceps,

–Anterior deltoid

H. Shoulder adduction*

–Elbow extension

Transverse*

Free Motion Fly

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction

Transverse

Free Motion Incline Fly

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

Transverse*

Cable Crossover

Sternal pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

Shoulder adduction

Frontal

Dumbbell Fly

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction

Transverse

Incline Dumbbell Fly

Clavicular pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction*

Transverse*

Ball Dumbbell Press

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Dips – leaning forward

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid,

–Triceps

Shoulder flexion

–Elbow extension

Sagittal

Power Dumbbell Fly

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid, Biceps

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Ball Push-up

–Toes on ball

Pectoralis major

Anterior deltoid, Triceps

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

*Note 1: All inclines and declines take place in between planes, so their movements are the closest ones to that exercise.

** Note 2: The lats work as a synergist in the beginning of a bench press and other exercises similar to it.

Often the subscapularis is working with the pecs.

A smith machine push-up is simply doing a push-up on the smith machine bar. It allows the user to maintain proper push-up form and the bar can be raised or lowered depending on desired difficulty.

The difference between a pec deck and a fly is that on a pec deck the pads are up against the elbows so no biceps are involved, whereas in a fly the weight or handle is held in the hands.

A cable crossover is like a fly, but with your hands down in front of your waist, close to your body, similar to making a most muscular pose.

A power fly is when you allow your elbows to bend more than normal to use more weight.

Cable crossover

Cable crossover

Back Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids, Brachioradialis,

–Posterior deltoid, Mid/lower traps

Shoulder adduction

–Elbow flexion

Frontal

Reverse Grip Lat

–Pulldown

Latissimus dorsi

Biceps, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Mid/lower traps

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

V-grip Cable Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Hammer Strength Row

–Neutral Grip

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Wide Grip Cable Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Brachioradialis, Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

–Elbow flexion

Transverse

Hammer Strength Lat Pulldown (supinated)

Latissimus dorsi

Biceps, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Lower Traps

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

90 Degree Pronated Bent Over Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

–Elbow flexion

Transverse

45 Degree Supinated Bent Over Row

Latissimus dorsi

Biceps, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Mid/upper traps

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Dumbbell Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Pull-up (Bodyweight or Assisted)

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Brachioradialis, Mid/lower traps

Shoulder adduction

–Elbow flexion

Frontal

Chin-up (Bodyweight or Assisted)

Latissimus dorsi

Biceps, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Mid/lower traps

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown

Latissimus dorsi

Triceps long head, Posterior deltoid,

–Rectus abdominis

Shoulder extension

Sagittal

Pullover Machine

Latissimus dorsi

Triceps long head, Posterior deltoid,

–Rectus abdominis

Shoulder extension

Sagittal

Wide Pronated Chest Supported

–T-Bar Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachioradialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

–Elbow flexion

Transverse

Narrow Neutral Grip Chest Supported T-Bar Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Old School T-bar Row

–V-grip

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids, Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius, Erectors

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

2 Arm Dumbbell Row

–Neutral grip

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius, Erectors

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Standing V-grip Cable Row

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius, Erectors

Shoulder extension

–Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Reverse Push-up

Latissimus dorsi

Rhomboids,

–Brachioradialis, Posterior deltoid, Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

–Elbow flexion

Transverse

Ball Shoulder extension

Latissimus dorsi

Triceps long head, Posterior deltoid

–Rectus abdominis

Shoulder extension

Sagittal

*Note: the teres major always works with the lats; the elbow flexor listed is the one most involved, all 3 are always working; often the infraspinatus and teres minor are working with the lats.

Old School T-bar row is when you stick a barbell into the corner and do rows with it, often using a V-grip to hold the bar.

A reverse push-up is when you hang from a bar (often on the smith machine) and then pull yourself up to it, so it looks like a push-up facing the ceiling.

A ball shoulder extension is similar to using an ab wheel: you kneel down, place your hands on a physio ball, keep your arms straight, and then roll the ball out until your arms are in line with your body and then you roll back. Often this is used as an abdominal exercise.

T-bar row

T-bar row

Shoulder Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Hammer Strength Military Press

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Military Press Machine

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Dumbbell Military Press

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Arnold Press

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid,

–Posterior deltoid, Triceps

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal (mainly)

Dumbbell Front Raise

Anterior deltoid

Clavicular pectoralis major

Shoulder flexion

Sagittal

Barbell Front Raise

Anterior deltoid

Clavicular pectoralis major

Shoulder flexion

Sagittal

Cable Front Raise

Anterior deltoid

Clavicular pectoralis major

Shoulder flexion

Sagittal

Barbell Military Press

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Push Press

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps, Legs

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Handstand Push-up

Anterior deltoid

Medial deltoid, Triceps, Core

Shoulder abduction

–Elbow extension

Frontal

Cable Lateral Raise

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

Frontal

Lateral Raise Machine

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

Frontal

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

Frontal

Dumbbell Leaning Lateral Raise

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

Frontal

Dumbbell Power Lateral Raise

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

Frontal

Lateral Hold

Medial deltoid

Supraspinatus*

Shoulder abduction

–(Isometric)

Frontal

Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise

Posterior deltoid

Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

Transverse

Rear Delt Machine

Posterior deltoid

Mid trapezius,

–Latissimus dorsi

H. Shoulder abduction

Transverse

Cable Rear Delt Raise

Posterior deltoid

Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

Transverse

Dumbbell Power Rear Delt Raise

Posterior deltoid

Mid trapezius, Lats, Biceps, Erectors

H. Shoulder abduction

Transverse

Rope Face Pull

Posterior deltoid

Middle Deltoid,

–Biceps, Mid trapezius

H. Shoulder abduction

–Elbow flexion

Transverse

*Note: on lateral raises, the traps may also work; forearm extensors are also receiving some load as stabilizers.

The infraspinatus and teres minor often work with the posterior deltoid.

Power raises are when you bend your elbows 90 degrees and do the exercise: it's used to lift more weight.

A leaning lateral raise is when you hold onto something stable, put your feet near the base of what you're holding, lean away from it and then do the lateral raise: this makes it easier.

Leaning lateral raise

Leaning lateral raise

Biceps Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergist*

Movement

Plane

Machine Biceps Curl Supinated

Biceps brachii

Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Cable Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Cable Curl Supinated

Biceps brachii

Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Curl Narrow Grip

Biceps long head

Biceps short head,

–Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Curl Wide Grip

Biceps short head

Biceps long head,

–Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Dumbbell Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Brachialis

Brachioradialis,

–Biceps brachii

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Preacher Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

High Pulley Curl or

–Hercules Curl

Biceps short head

Biceps long head,

–Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Frontal

Spider Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Reverse Curl

Brachioradialis

Brachialis

–Biceps brachii

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

EZ Bar Reverse Cable Curl

Brachioradialis

Brachialis

–Biceps brachii

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Parallel Bar Curl

Brachialis

Brachioradialis

–Biceps brachii

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Incline Dumbbell Curl

Biceps long head

Biceps short head, Brachialis,

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Standing Dumbbell Incline Curl

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

21's

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis

Elbow flexion

Sagittal

Barbell Hold

Biceps brachii

Brachialis

–Brachioradialis, Anterior deltoid, Erectors

Elbow flexion

–(Isometric)

Sagittal

*Note: The anterior deltoid will be a synergist if you allow significant shoulder flexion during the biceps curl.

A spider curl is when you put your chest on the preacher bench facing the wrong way, allow your arms to full extend at the bottom (instead of stopping short) and then curl up. It's similar to a concentration curl. You may need to remove the seat on the preacher bench.

A parallel bar is the bar that has handles in a parallel (neutral or hammer) position usually about a foot apart, surrounded by a circle.

SpiderMan

This guy should have done a few more spider curls.


Triceps Exercises

Exercise

Agonist*

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Machine Overhead Triceps Extension

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

V-grip Triceps Pushdown

Triceps lateral head

Triceps long and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Straight Bar Triceps Pushdown Narrow Grip

Triceps lateral head

Triceps long and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Straight Bar Triceps Pushdown Wide Grip

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Rope Triceps Pushdown

Triceps medial head

Triceps lateral head and long heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Skull Crusher or Lying Triceps Extension

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Triceps long head Triceps medial head

Triceps lateral head

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Reverse Grip Triceps Pulldown

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Closegrip Bench Press

Pectoralis major, Triceps long and lateral heads

Anterior deltoid, Triceps medial head

Shoulder flexion

–Elbow extension

Sagittal

Bench Dips

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads, Anterior deltoid

Shoulder flexion

–Elbow extension

Sagittal

Overhead Rope Triceps Extension

Triceps long and medial heads

Triceps lateral head

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Decline Skull Crusher

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Dips – body upright

Pectoralis major

–Triceps

Anterior deltoid

Shoulder flexion

–Elbow extension

Sagittal

Cable Skull Crusher

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Reverse Grip Bench Press

Pectoralis major

–Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads, Anterior deltoid

Shoulder flexion

–Elbow extension

Sagittal

Rack or Board Press

Pectoralis major

Triceps, Anterior deltoid

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

Ball Dumbbell Triceps Extension 1 arm

Triceps long and lateral head

Triceps medial head

Elbow extension

Sagittal

Dumbbell T Extension or Tate Press

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Triceps long head

Elbow extension

Transverse

Ball Push-up

–Hands on Ball

Pectoralis major,

–Triceps long and lateral head

Triceps medial head, Anterior deltoid

H. Shoulder adduction

–Elbow extension

Transverse

JM Press

Triceps long head

Triceps lateral and medial heads

Elbow extension

Sagittal

*Note: There's some debate among fitness experts as to the relative involvement of the heads of the triceps in different exercises.

A dumbbell T extension or a Tate press is when you put the dumbbells on your chest facing the ceiling, knuckles facing each other. Keeping the bottom of the dumbbells 'connected' you extend your arms and rotate the dumbbells so they make a T shape on the way up. You can see a video if this at Elite Fitness.

The JM Press was invented by JM Blakley from Westside Barbell Club. It's kind of like a skull crusher to the chin and back up.

Tate press with 125-pound dumbbells

Tate press with 125-pound dumbbells.


Leg Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists*

Movement

Plane

Leg Press

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Horizontal Leg Press

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Bridge

Gluteus maximus

Hamstrings

Hip extension

Sagittal

Hack Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Smith Machine Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Wall Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

–(Isometric)

Sagittal

Barbell Back Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings,

–Erector spinae

Hip extension

–Knee extension

–Trunk extension

Sagittal

Lunges

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Sissy Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Step-Ups

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Butt Blaster

Gluteus maximus

Quadriceps,

–Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Front Squat

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings, Erector spinae

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Pistol

Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps

Hamstrings

Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Leg Extension

Quadriceps

 

Knee extension

Sagittal

*Note: The adductors often act as synergist with hip extension, particularly with a wider stance and/or the deeper you go.

Leg press

Leg press


Hamstring Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Prone Leg Curl

Hamstrings

Gastrocnemius

Knee flexion

Sagittal

Seated Leg Curl

Hamstrings

Gastrocnemius

Knee flexion

Sagittal

Single Leg

–Leg Curl

Hamstrings

Gastrocnemius

Knee flexion

Sagittal

Ball Leg Curl

Hamstrings,

–Gluteus maximus

Gastrocnemius

Hip extension,

–Knee flexion

Sagittal

Glute/Ham Raise

Hamstrings

Glute Maximus, Gastrocnemius, Erectors

Knee flexion

–Hip extension (Isometric)

Sagittal

See Lower Back Exercises

       


Lower Back Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists*

Movement

Plane

Lower Back Machine

Erector spinae

Quadratus lumborum

Trunk extension

Sagittal

Conventional Deadlift

Erector spinae

Gluteus maximus, Hamstrings, Trapezius, Quadriceps, Grip

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Sumo Deadlift

Gluteus maximus,

–Erector spinae

Adductors, Quadriceps, Trapezius,

–Hamstrings, Grip

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Hyperextensions

Erector spinae

–Hamstrings

Gluteus maximus

Trunk extension

Sagittal

Stiff Legged Deadlift

Hamstrings,

–Erector spinae

Trapezius, Grip, Gluteus maximus

Trunk extension

–Hip extension (slight)

Sagittal

Romanian Deadlift

Hamstrings

–Erector spinae

Gluteus maximus

–Trapezius, Grip

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension (slight)

Sagittal

Rack Pull

Erector spinae

Gluteus maximus, Hamstrings, Trapezius, Quadriceps, Grip

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Deadlift off a step

–(Deficit Deads)

Erector spinae, Hamstrings

Gluteus maximus, Trapezius, Quadriceps, Grip

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension

Sagittal

Good Morning

Erector spinae, Hamstrings

Gluteus maximus

Trunk extension

–Hip extension

–Knee extension (slight)

Sagittal

*Note: the quadratus lumborum is always working with the erector spinae.

Franco deadlifting

Franco and another big dog, deadlifting.


Trapezius Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Dumbbell Shrug

Upper trapezius

Grip

Scapula elevation

Frontal

Barbell Shrug

Upper trapezius

Grip

Scapula elevation

Frontal

Smith Machine Shrug

Upper trapezius

Grip

Scapula elevation

Frontal

Hammer Strength Shrug

Upper trapezius

Grip

Scapula elevation

Frontal

Trap Bar Shrug

Upper trapezius

Grip

Scapula elevation

Frontal

Protractions*

Serratus anterior

Pectoralis minor

Scapula protraction

Transverse

Retractions

Mid trapezius

Rhomboids

Scapula retraction

Transverse

Depressions

Lower trapezius

 

Scapula depression

Frontal

*Note: Protractions do NOT work the traps.

Dumbbell shrug

Dumbbell shrug


Calf Exercises

Exercise

Agonist

Synergists

Movement

Plane

Seated Calf Machine

Soleus

Gastrocnemius

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Standing Calf Machine

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Rotary Calf Machine

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

45 Degree Calf Machine

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Standing Barbell Calf Raise

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Leg Press Calf Raise

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Donkey Calf Raise

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal

Smith Machine Calf Raise

Gastrocnemius

Soleus

Ankle plantar flexion

Sagittal


And with that, we bring our humongous list of exercises to a close. I hope you find this information useful when you're planning out your workouts or discussing exercises. Obviously, I don't expect you to do all of the exercises listed for any given muscle group. Pick the exercises you like and go at them, add some of your own, and if you absolutely hate some of the exercises on this list, then you have my permission to ignore them.