Here you will find our complete list of strength training exercises.
All strength training exercises have detailed instructions, muscles worked, and a video demonstration.
All exercise descriptions are also available for free in our workout log app.
Download StrengthLog for free with the links below:
Feel free to use these exercise descriptions, images, and videos on your website as long as you link to us as the source.
Muscle Directory: Complete List of All Exercises
Here is our complete list of strength training exercises, sorted by muscle group.
- Bar Dip
- Bench Press
- Cable Chest Press
- Close-Grip Bench Press
- Close-Grip Feet-Up Bench Press
- Decline Bench Press
- Dumbbell Chest Fly
- Dumbbell Chest Press
- Dumbbell Floor Press
- Dumbbell Pullover
- Feet-Up Bench Press
- Floor Press
- Incline Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Incline Push-Up
- Kneeling Incline Push-Up
- Kneeling Push-Up
- Machine Chest Fly
- Machine Chest Press
- Pec Deck
- Push-Up Against Wall
- Resistance Band Chest Fly
- Smith Machine Bench Press
- Smith Machine Incline Bench Press
- Standing Cable Chest Fly
- Band External Shoulder Rotation
- Band Internal Shoulder Rotation
- Band Pull-Apart
- Barbell Front Raise
- Barbell Rear Delt Row
- Barbell Upright Row
- Behind the Neck Press
- Cable Lateral Raise
- Cable Rear Delt Row
- Dumbbell Front Raise
- Dumbbell Horizontal Internal Shoulder Rotation
- Dumbbell Horizontal External Shoulder Rotation
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Dumbbell Rear Delt Row
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Face Pull
- Lying Dumbbell External Shoulder Rotation
- Lying Dumbbell Internal Shoulder Rotation
- Machine Lateral Raise
- Machine Shoulder Press
- Monkey Row
- Overhead Press
- Power Jerk
- Push Press
- Reverse Dumbbell Flyes
- Reverse Machine Fly
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Seated Barbell Overhead Press
- Seated Smith Machine Shoulder Press
- Snatch Grip Behind the Neck Press
- Squat Jerk
- Split Jerk
- Barbell Curl
- Barbell Preacher Curl
- Cable Curl With Bar
- Cable Curl With Rope
- Concentration Curl
- Dumbbell Curl
- Dumbbell Preacher Curl
- Hammer Curl
- Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Spider Curl
- Barbell Standing Triceps Extension
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
- Bench Dip
- Close-Grip Push-Up
- Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
- Dumbbell Standing Triceps Extension
- Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
- Tricep Pushdown With Bar
- Tricep Pushdown With Rope
- Air Squat
- Barbell Hack Squat
- Barbell Lunge
- Body Weight Lunge
- Box Squat
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Chair Squat
- Dumbbell Lunge
- Dumbbell Squat
- Front Squat
- Goblet Squat
- Hack Squat Machine
- Half Air Squat
- Hip Adduction Machine
- Landmine Hack Squat
- Landmine Squat
- Leg Extension
- Leg Press
- Lying Leg Curl
- Pause Squat
- Safety Bar Squat
- Seated Leg Curl
- Shallow Body Weight Lunge
- Side Lunges (Bodyweight)
- Smith Machine Squat
- Step Up
- Back Extension
- Barbell Row
- Barbell Shrug
- Block Snatch
- Cable Close Grip Seated Row
- Cable Wide Grip Seated Row
- Clean and Jerk
- Deficit Deadlift
- Dumbbell Deadlift
- Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
- Dumbbell Row
- Dumbbell Shrug
- Floor Back Extension
- Good Morning
- Hang Clean
- Hang Power Clean
- Hang Power Snatch
- Hang Snatch
- Inverted Row
- Inverted Row with Underhand Grip
- Kettlebell Swing
- Lat Pulldown With Pronated Grip
- Lat Pulldown With Supinated Grip
- One-Handed Cable Row
- One-Handed Lat Pulldown
- Pause Deadlift
- Pendlay Row
- Power Clean
- Power Snatch
- Rack Pull
- Romanian Deadlift
- Seal Row
- Seated Machine Row
- Snatch Grip Deadlift
- Stiff-Legged Deadlift
- Straight Arm Lat Pulldown
- Sumo Deadlift
- T-Bar Row
- Trap Bar Deadlift With High Handles
- Trap Bar Deadlift With Low Handles
- Banded Side Kicks
- Cable Pull Through
- Fire Hydrants
- Glute Bridge
- Hip Abduction Against Band
- Hip Abduction Machine
- Hip Thrust
- Hip Thrust Machine
- Hip Thrust With Band Around Knees
- Lateral Walk With Band
- One-Legged Glute Bridge
- One-Legged Hip Thrust
- Step Up
- Cable Crunch
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Hanging Knee Raise
- Hanging Sit-Up
- High to Low Wood Chop with Band
- Horizontal Wood Chop with Band
- Kneeling Ab Wheel Roll-Out
- Kneeling Plank
- Kneeling Side Plank
- Lying Leg Raise
- Lying Windshield Wiper
- Lying Windshield Wiper with Bent Knees
- Machine Crunch
- Oblique Crunch
- Oblique Sit-Up
- Side Plank
Forearm Flexors & Grip Exercises
- Barbell Wrist Curl
- Barbell Wrist Curl Behind the Back
- Bar Hang
- Dumbbell Wrist Curl
- Farmers Walk
- Fat Bar Deadlift
- One-Handed Bar Hang
- Plate Pinch
- Plate Wrist Curl
- Towel Pull-Up
Forearm Extensor Exercises
The Best Strength Training Exercises for Every Body Part
This is our recommended list of the best strength training exercises for every major muscle group.
These are time-tested classics that have proven their effectiveness both in the trenches and in the research labs. Which exercise is best for you will depend on your anatomy, background, and preferences, but this list should give you a starting point.
For most of the muscle groups below, we try to list at least one compound exercise and one isolation exercise. By combining two or three of the strength exercises listed for each muscle group, you should be able to work most of the muscle fibers of the target muscles effectively.
Read more: How to Train Your Chest Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Shoulder Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Back Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Biceps
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
- Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
- Tricep Pushdown
- Close-Grip Bench Press
Read more: How to Train Your Triceps
Read more: How to Train Your Quad Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Hamstring Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Glute Muscles
Read more: How to Train Your Abs
Read more: How to Train Your Calf Muscles
- How Many Exercises Should You Do per Muscle Group?
- Top 20 Bodybuilding Exercises for Every Muscle Group
- Top 20 Powerlifting Exercises For Strength & Mass
What Are the Four Basic Strength Training Exercises?
The four basic strength training exercises refer to the four fundamental movements of resistance training.
They are four movements that, together, cover a large part of what we can do with our bodies and use almost all of our major muscle groups.
The idea is that if you do at least one exercise for each fundamental movement, you will have worked all your major muscle groups.
At least one exercise from each of these four basic movements should be included in every comprehensive strength training program.
The four fundamental movements are:
- Push something away from you. Examples: bench press, overhead press, push-ups, machine chest press.
- Pull something towards you. Examples: pull-ups, lat pulldown, barbell row, dumbbell row, cable row.
- Hip hinge. Examples: deadlift, good morning, Romanian deadlift, clean, kettlebell swing.
- Squat. Examples: squat, front squat, Bulgarian split squat, goblet squat, leg press.
Push, pull, hinge, and squat. That’s it.
- Pushing exercises work your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Pulling exercises work your lats, traps, and biceps.
- Hip hinge exercises work your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Squat exercises work your quads, glutes, and adductors.
Pick one exercise from each category and train it once or more per week, and you will have an excellent strength training program for basically your entire body.
- If you train with a barbell and pick one exercise from each category, it might be bench press, barbell row, deadlift, and squat.
- If you train with kettlebells, it might be kettlebell press, kettlebell row, kettlebell swing, and goblet squat or front squat with the kettlebells in the rack position.
- If you train with machines, it might be chest press, machine row, back extension, and leg press.
Additions to the Four Basic Movements
Can’t we leave a nice thing alone?
If you want to get fancy, there are two things you can add.
1. Abdominal Training
To rectify this, you could add an ab exercise from the list of exercises above.
2. Vertical and Horizontal Pushing and Pulling
For even more comprehensive upper body training, you could split up the pushing and pulling movements into horizontal and vertical planes of motion.
- Horizontal movements have your arm working about 90 degrees out from your body, i.e. where the arm would be horizontal if you were standing upright. Examples:
- Horizontal pushes: bench press, dumbbell chest press, and push-ups.
- Horizontal pulls: barbell row, dumbbell row, and cable row.
- Vertical movements have your arm working over your head. Examples:
- Vertical pushes: overhead press, dumbbell shoulder press, and kettlebell press.
- Vertical pulls: lat pulldown and pull-up.
Horizontal and vertical movements will emphasize slightly different muscles, or different regions in large muscles, and can thus lead to more complete training.
What Makes a Strength Training Exercise Good For Building Muscle?
An exercise is effective for building muscle if it:
- Works the muscle through a long range of motion.
- Is stable enough for your muscle power to be the limiting factor, and not your balance.
- Trains multiple muscles simultaneously (these exercises are often called compound exercises).
Of course, you don’t have to train several muscles in the same exercise, but it is time-effective to use compound exercises as they will help you train all your major muscle groups more quickly.
Is There One Exercise That Works the Entire Body?
Not that we’re aware of. But …
A lot of people would say the deadlift.
While the deadlift certainly uses a lot of muscle mass at the same time, it doesn’t work all major muscle groups.
The deadlift primarily works your posterior chain: your glutes, lower back, hamstrings, adductors, traps, and of course grip.
This leaves out the muscles in your upper arms, shoulders, lats, and abdominals. Your quads aren’t worked very effective either.
Another exercise that comes to mind is the clean and jerk (or clean and press). The clean and jerk basically combines a deadlift-like movement with an overhead jerk, adding some work for your legs, shoulders and arms.
No matter how you slice it, both the deadlift and clean and jerk are still two fantastic exercises, and if one of them was all you ever did, you would still do pretty good.
Are Free Weight Exercises Better Than Machines?
Free weights refer to all kinds of training equipment that isn’t attached to something. The most common ones being barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.
While some may preach the superiority of one or the other, the truth is that free weights and machines both have their pros and cons that you should consider when planning your training.
To learn which is better for your goals, check out our article on free weights vs. machines.
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