Exercise Directory: List of Strength Training Exercises

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.

Strength training exercises
All exercise descriptions are available for free in our workout app StrengthLog, in which you can also track your workouts, build workout routines, and follow our strength training programs.

Download StrengthLog for free with the links below:

Download StrengthLog Workout Log on App Store
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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.

Chest Exercises

  1. Bar Dip
  2. Bench Press
  3. Cable Chest Press
  4. Close-Grip Bench Press
  5. Close-Grip Feet-Up Bench Press
  6. Decline Bench Press
  7. Dumbbell Chest Fly
  8. Dumbbell Chest Press
  9. Dumbbell Floor Press
  10. Dumbbell Pullover
  11. Feet-Up Bench Press
  12. Floor Press
  13. Incline Bench Press
  14. Incline Dumbbell Press
  15. Incline Push-Up
  16. Kneeling Incline Push-Up
  17. Kneeling Push-Up
  18. Machine Chest Fly
  19. Machine Chest Press
  20. Pec Deck
  21. Push-Up
  22. Push-Up Against Wall
  23. Resistance Band Chest Fly
  24. Smith Machine Bench Press
  25. Smith Machine Incline Bench Press
  26. Standing Cable Chest Fly

Shoulder Exercises

  1. Band External Shoulder Rotation
  2. Band Internal Shoulder Rotation
  3. Band Pull-Apart
  4. Barbell Front Raise
  5. Barbell Rear Delt Row
  6. Barbell Upright Row
  7. Behind the Neck Press
  8. Cable Lateral Raise
  9. Cable Rear Delt Row
  10. Dumbbell Front Raise
  11. Dumbbell Horizontal Internal Shoulder Rotation
  12. Dumbbell Horizontal External Shoulder Rotation
  13. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  14. Dumbbell Rear Delt Row
  15. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  16. Face Pull
  17. Lying Dumbbell External Shoulder Rotation
  18. Lying Dumbbell Internal Shoulder Rotation
  19. Machine Lateral Raise
  20. Machine Shoulder Press
  21. Monkey Row
  22. Overhead Press
  23. Power Jerk
  24. Push Press
  25. Reverse Dumbbell Flyes
  26. Reverse Machine Fly
  27. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  28. Seated Barbell Overhead Press
  29. Seated Smith Machine Shoulder Press
  30. Snatch Grip Behind the Neck Press
  31. Squat Jerk
  32. Split Jerk

Bicep Exercises

  1. Barbell Curl
  2. Barbell Preacher Curl
  3. Cable Curl With Bar
  4. Cable Curl With Rope
  5. Concentration Curl
  6. Dumbbell Curl
  7. Dumbbell Preacher Curl
  8. Hammer Curl
  9. Incline Dumbbell Curl
  10. Spider Curl

Triceps Exercises

  1. Barbell Standing Triceps Extension
  2. Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
  3. Bench Dip
  4. Close-Grip Push-Up
  5. Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
  6. Dumbbell Standing Triceps Extension
  7. Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
  8. Tricep Pushdown With Bar
  9. Tricep Pushdown With Rope

Leg Exercises

  1. Air Squat
  2. Barbell Hack Squat
  3. Barbell Lunge
  4. Body Weight Lunge
  5. Box Squat
  6. Bulgarian Split Squat
  7. Chair Squat
  8. Dumbbell Lunge
  9. Dumbbell Squat
  10. Front Squat
  11. Goblet Squat
  12. Hack Squat Machine
  13. Half Air Squat
  14. Hip Adduction Machine
  15. Landmine Hack Squat
  16. Landmine Squat
  17. Leg Extension
  18. Leg Press
  19. Lying Leg Curl
  20. Pause Squat
  21. Safety Bar Squat
  22. Seated Leg Curl
  23. Shallow Body Weight Lunge
  24. Side Lunges (Bodyweight)
  25. Smith Machine Squat
  26. Squat
  27. Step Up

Back Exercises

  1. Back Extension
  2. Barbell Row
  3. Barbell Shrug
  4. Block Snatch
  5. Cable Close Grip Seated Row
  6. Cable Wide Grip Seated Row
  7. Chin-Up
  8. Clean
  9. Clean and Jerk
  10. Deadlift
  11. Deficit Deadlift
  12. Dumbbell Deadlift
  13. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
  14. Dumbbell Row
  15. Dumbbell Shrug
  16. Floor Back Extension
  17. Good Morning
  18. Hang Clean
  19. Hang Power Clean
  20. Hang Power Snatch
  21. Hang Snatch
  22. Inverted Row
  23. Inverted Row with Underhand Grip
  24. Kettlebell Swing
  25. Lat Pulldown With Pronated Grip
  26. Lat Pulldown With Supinated Grip
  27. One-Handed Cable Row
  28. One-Handed Lat Pulldown
  29. Pause Deadlift
  30. Pendlay Row
  31. Power Clean
  32. Power Snatch
  33. Pull-Up
  34. Rack Pull
  35. Romanian Deadlift
  36. Seal Row
  37. Seated Machine Row
  38. Snatch
  39. Snatch Grip Deadlift
  40. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  41. Straight Arm Lat Pulldown
  42. Sumo Deadlift
  43. T-Bar Row
  44. Trap Bar Deadlift With High Handles
  45. Trap Bar Deadlift With Low Handles

Glute Exercises

  1. Banded Side Kicks
  2. Cable Pull Through
  3. Clamshells
  4. Fire Hydrants
  5. Glute Bridge
  6. Hip Abduction Against Band
  7. Hip Abduction Machine
  8. Hip Thrust
  9. Hip Thrust Machine
  10. Hip Thrust With Band Around Knees
  11. Lateral Walk With Band
  12. One-Legged Glute Bridge
  13. One-Legged Hip Thrust
  14. Step Up

Ab Exercises

  1. Cable Crunch
  2. Crunch
  3. Hanging Leg Raise
  4. Hanging Knee Raise
  5. Hanging Sit-Up
  6. High to Low Wood Chop with Band
  7. Horizontal Wood Chop with Band
  8. Kneeling Ab Wheel Roll-Out
  9. Kneeling Plank
  10. Kneeling Side Plank
  11. Lying Leg Raise
  12. Lying Windshield Wiper
  13. Lying Windshield Wiper with Bent Knees
  14. Machine Crunch
  15. Oblique Crunch
  16. Oblique Sit-Up
  17. Plank
  18. Side Plank
  19. Sit-Up

Calves Exercises

  1. Eccentric Heel Drop
  2. Heel Raise
  3. Seated Calf Raise
  4. Standing Calf Raise

Forearm Flexors & Grip Exercises

  1. Barbell Wrist Curl
  2. Barbell Wrist Curl Behind the Back
  3. Bar Hang
  4. Dumbbell Wrist Curl
  5. Farmers Walk
  6. Fat Bar Deadlift
  7. Gripper
  8. One-Handed Bar Hang
  9. Plate Pinch
  10. Plate Wrist Curl
  11. Towel Pull-Up

Forearm Extensor Exercises

  1. Barbell Wrist Extension
  2. Dumbbell Wrist Extension

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.

Chest

  1. Bench Press
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press
  3. Bar Dips
  4. Standing Cable Chest Fly

Read more: How to Train Your Chest Muscles

Shoulders

  1. Overhead Press
  2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  4. Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Read more: How to Train Your Shoulder Muscles

Back

  1. Deadlift
  2. Lat Pulldown
  3. Pull-Up
  4. Barbell Row
  5. Dumbbell Row

Read more: How to Train Your Back Muscles

Biceps

  1. Barbell Curl
  2. Dumbbell Curl
  3. Hammer Curl

Read more: How to Train Your Biceps

Triceps

  1. Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
  2. Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
  3. Tricep Pushdown
  4. Close-Grip Bench Press

Read more: How to Train Your Triceps

Quadriceps

  1. Squat
  2. Hack Squats
  3. Leg Extension
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat

Read more: How to Train Your Quad Muscles

Hamstrings

  1. Seated Leg Curl
  2. Lying Leg Curl
  3. Romanian Deadlift

Read more: How to Train Your Hamstring Muscles

Glutes

  1. Squat
  2. Hip Thrust
  3. Romanian Deadlift
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat

Read more: How to Train Your Glute Muscles

Abs

  1. Cable Crunch
  2. Hanging Leg Raise
  3. High to Low Wood Chop
  4. Crunch

Read more: How to Train Your Abs

Calves

  1. Standing Calf Raise
  2. Seated Calf Raise

Read more: How to Train Your Calf Muscles

Related articles:

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, pull, hinge, and squat. That’s it.

Push Pull Hip Hinge Squat Exercises
The bench press, barbell row, deadlift, and squat. Four exercises, four fundamental movements.

Generally speaking:

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.

Additions to the Four Basic Movements

Can’t we leave a nice thing alone?

Alright.

If you want to get fancy, there are two things you can add.

1. Abdominal Training

While the back of your core gets plenty of training in most hip hinge and squat exercises, your abs and obliques (the front and sides) don’t.

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.

Deadlift
The deadlift.

While the deadlift certainly uses a lot of muscle mass at the same time, it doesn’t work all major muscle groups.

Deadlift muscles worked

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.

Clean and jerk weight lifting exercise

You might argue, however, that the clean and jerk is actually two exercises combined (the clean and the jerk), and thus not “one exercise for the whole body”.

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.

Machines refer to training equipment that is fixed in one way or another. For example, it could be machines for leg presses or leg extensions, or smith machines.

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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