What are the muscle groups and how to work them in the training routine?

One of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to strength training and muscle development is working two large muscle groups in the same session. In addition to requiring a higher energy requirement, it also puts a lot more pressure on the nervous system.

Conversely, focusing on a specific muscle group during each training session helps to achieve better results.

By working only one muscle group, multiple muscle fibers are activated and thus several muscles are automatically exercised. On the other hand, with this you also have the guarantee of having enough energy for the rest of the training.

The first thing to keep in mind if what you want to achieve is muscle growth is that this achieved by concentrating on a single major muscle group in each session. In addition, the training can be completed with the work of two smaller muscle groups, depending on how the weekly routine is organized.

What are the main muscle groups?

Planning is essential to achieve a correct work of the different muscle groups.

In the human body there are three types of muscles: cardiac (those of the heart), smooth (smooth control involuntary functions) and skeletal (those that we use to move the body). The latter are the ones that are specifically worked on during training.

From a strength training point of view, Muscle groups are closely spaced groups of muscles that perform similar movements.

When the goal is to build muscle mass, the six main muscle groups are the chest, back, arms, legs (upper body), and calves. It should be noted that, although anatomically the calf is part of the leg, when training they are considered separately.

Keep in mind that by training these larger muscle groups the muscles are trained. That is to say, As long as you train all six major muscle groups, all minor muscle groups will develop properly as well.

However, if you want to do a more concentrated work of other muscles, such as the rectus abdominis, obliques or buttocks, it is also possible to do so.


The main muscle of the chest muscle group is the pectoralis major. An important issue here is that the fibers of this muscle are not all aligned in the same direction, so it is necessary to work in different ways to achieve good development.

In fact, The chest muscle group is made up of two sections: the sternocostal head and the clavicular head. For its proper development, it is necessary to perform exercises that target both heads.

With this in mind, for a complete and defined chest development training should focus on exercises such as the following variations of press banking:

  • With flat bar.
  • Inclined with bar.
  • Flat with dumbbells.
  • Incline with dumbbells.
  • With closed grip and with reverse grip.


The back muscle group is made up of four major muscles: trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae. In addition, there are other small muscles that are also important, such as the teres major, teres minor, and infraspinatus.

For a good development of the back It is necessary to work in different ways and incorporate both horizontal traction and frontal traction exercises. Some good exercises to work your back are:

  • Barbell deadlift and sumo deadlift.
  • Deadlift with trap-bar (hexagonal bar).
  • The t pulldown (pull to the chest).
  • Low pulley row.
  • Pull ups Y Chin ups (dominated).
  • Dumbbell row.
  • Seal row (pronated bench barbell row).

The exercises can be combined by alternating the work of the different muscle groups.


The arms are made up of four main muscles: coracobrachialis and brachialis anterior (which make up the biceps brachii), the triceps and the forearms.

In many routines, training the forearms is not considered in a localized way, but instead the focus is on the biceps or triceps. In any case, nothing happens because most exercises for the arms also train the forearms.

To develop proportionate arms, some of the exercises that should be worked are the following:

  • Curl barbell, dumbbell and EZ bar.
  • Press French with dumbbellsskull crusher or skull crusher).
  • Pressdown triceps (with rope or metal handle).
  • Press overhead triceps (cable or dumbbell).
  • Press close grip bench.
  • Pull ups Y Chin ups (dominated).

It's important to put attention on sometimes biceps and triceps are trained separately, combining these muscles with training larger groups. We will see this a little more below.


When we talk about the shoulders, we are referring mainly to the deltoids, a muscle with three heads: anterior, middle and posterior. It is very important to develop the three heads of this muscle so as not to suffer any type of imbalance.

In this regard, it is essential to note that the lateral and rear delts usually need more work. This is because the anterior delts are trained to some degree in a good chest workout.

Some men's exercises for a good development of the three heads of the deltoids are the following:

  • Side dumbbell arm raise and back dumbbell arm raise.
  • Barbell and dumbbell row.
  • Press military, flat bench and inclined bench.

Legs (top)

The upper part of the legs is made up of several muscle groups.The main ones are the quadriceps (includes the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris), hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris), and glutes (major, minor, and middle).

Although technically the calves are also part of the legs, as they require a very different type of training they are dealt with separately in the workouts.

For good leg development, some of the best exercises are as follows:

  • Barbell back squat.
  • Barbell front squat.
  • Dumbbell lunge.
  • Press legs.
  • Bulgarian split squat.
  • Barbell deadlift, sumo and Romanian.
  • Hamstring curl on machine.
  • Good morning with bar.
  • Buttock lift on machine.

Also read this article: 6 yoga poses to tone buttocks and legs


The calves are made up of the gastrocnemius (popularly known as twins) and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is the muscle that is clearly seen in the calf, while the soleus is a deep muscle that is located just below the first.

The best exercises to work the calf are of two types:

  • Calf press (pressing the toes against a resistance).
  • Calf Raise (raising and lowering the body against gravity.

This type of exercise can be done standing or sitting; and you can use devices, implements or make them with free weight at different angles.

How could they be combined into the weekly routine?

The accompaniment of a trainer is essential to avoid muscle damage.

There are several ways to combine the different muscle groups in a weekly training routine. Here is one of the most popular options:

Combination for a three-day weekly routine

If the eStrength training organized for three weekly workouts, a good combination could be the following:

  • Day 1: chest, shoulders and triceps.
  • Day 2: back, biceps and abs.
  • Day 3: legs and calves.

Another option could be the following:

  • Day 1: chest and shoulders.
  • Day 2: legs and calf.
  • Day 3: back and arms.

Combinations for a four-day weekly routine

One way to combine the training of different muscle groups in a weekly routine divided into four sessions It can be one of the two variations presented below:

  • Day 1: leg.
  • Day 2: chest and biceps.
  • Day 3: glute and calf.
  • Day 4: back, triceps and shoulder.

Another combination could be the following:

  • Day 1: chest and biceps.
  • Day 2: leg.
  • Day 3: back and triceps.
  • Day 4: shoulder.

Combination for a five-day weekly routine

Of course, it is possible to generate more variations than those mentioned above such as, for example, an option to combine weekly training routine in five days. The following are two ideas:

  • Day 1: quadriceps and calf.
  • Day 2: biceps and chest.
  • Day 3: back and triceps.
  • Day 4: shoulder.
  • Day 5: glute and hamstrings.

Another option can be this:

  • Day 1: chest.
  • Day 2: biceps and triceps.
  • Day 3: leg (upper part).
  • Day 4: shoulder and calf.
  • Day 5: back.

Importance of rest

Rest and food are very important to achieve your goals.

Getting enough rest after exercise is essential for high-level performance. This is because the body repairs itself and becomes stronger in the rest time between workouts. What's more, continuous training without rest days can weaken athletes.

Rest days are critical to athletic performance for a variety of reasons, both physiological and psychological. Physically, rest is necessary for muscles to repair, rebuild, and strengthen.

From a psychological point of view, rest helps to maintain a better balance between family, work and sports goals. On the other hand, rest days also help the body prepare for the next workout.

In addition, we must not lose sight of Lack of rest can lead to what is known as overtraining syndrome. This condition causes, among other symptoms, decreased appetite, depression, headaches, insomnia and lack of energy and bad mood and irritability.

Also keep in mind that Each muscle group needs a different recovery time. Generally, the larger the muscle group, the longer it takes to recover.

Take care of the diet

Another factor that must be taken into account in recovery and rest is diet: In order for the body to recover and build muscle, it needs fuel.

One thing to consider is that the body can only synthesize 5% glycogen per hour, so it takes a good 24 hours to prepare your muscles for your next workout.

And that's just to replace what was lost during the last workout. So make sure you give your body enough fuel so you don't feel exhausted when your next exercise day rolls around.

Read this too: Why shouldn't you overdo exercise?

Plan for results

Training different muscle groups is not something to be left to chance, depending on what you want each day or the possibilities available. Hypertrophy and muscle development training must be planned taking into account the time available and specific objectives. That is why having a personal trainer is more than recommended.

What's more, do not lose sight of the fact that food and rest are a fundamental part of hypertrophy work. Rest not only refers to non-training days, but also to hours of sleep.