Weightlifting Exercises



Weightlifting exercises build muscle, burn fat, and speed up the metabolism.  Weight lifting exercises also build a firm, muscular body. 

There are weightlifting exercises to develop all parts of the body.  We’ll give you some of the basic weight lifting exercises here.  If you are interested in weight lifting, you should join a gym.  People who are really serious about weight lifting may eventually purchase home equipment but that is a big investment and certainly not feasible for beginners.  There is another advantage to joining a gym, and that is the fact that they will have trained staff that can teach you the proper way to use the equipment and help you develop a weightlifting routine that is right for you.

Pectorals (Chest)

The bench press is done while lying on a bench on your back.  It involves pushing a weight away from the chest.  These are compound weight lifting exercises, meaning that they involve other muscles as well as the pectorals.  The bench press also includes the triceps (back of arms) and front deltoids (shoulders).

The chest fly is done while lying on a bench on your back. Your arms are outspread and holding weights. You bring your arms together above your chest.  These are compound weightlifting exercises that also include the triceps, deltoids, and forearms.

Lats (Upper Back)

The pulldown is done while sitting by pulling down a wide bar toward the chest.  This is a compound exercise that also includes forearms, the biceps (front of arms), and rear deltoids (shoulders).

Deltoids (Shoulders)

The shoulder press, also called the military press, is done while sitting down by lowering a weight from above the head to just above the shoulders, and then lifting it back up again.  It can be performed with both arms at once or one arm at a time.  These are compound weight lifting exercises that also involve the triceps and the trapezius (a large muscle across the back of the neck, shoulders, and upper back). 

Biceps (Front of Arms)

The biceps curl can be done while standing up or sitting down, with hands hanging down at the sides holding weights, palms facing forward, by curling them up toward the shoulders.  It can be performed with both arms at once or one arm at a time.  These are isolation weightlifting exercises for the biceps.

Triceps (Back of Arms)

The pushdown is done standing up by pressing down a bar held at the level of the upper chest.  This is an isolation exercise for the triceps.

Quadriceps (Front of Thighs)

The squat is done by holding a weight across the upper chest or back while squatting down and standing upright again.  This is a compound exercise.  It also includes the lower back, the glutes (buttocks), the hamstrings (back of thighs), and the calves.

The leg extension is done while sitting down by straightening the legs to lift a weight out in front of the body.  It is an isolation exercise, meaning it only involves the quadriceps.

Hamstrings (Back of Thighs)

The leg curl is done while lying on your stomach on a bench, by lifting a weight with the feet toward the buttocks.  This is an isolation exercise for the hamstrings.


The seated calf raise is done by flexing the feet to raise a weight held on the knees.  This is an isolation exercise for the calves.

When performing these weight lifting exercises, you should go slow and concentrate on the muscles you are working.  Speed is not the point of the exercises.  If you are able to do them very quickly, then you are not using enough weight.  You don’t want to use so much weight that you can injure yourself doing weightlifting exercises, but your want enough weight to have to work at them.  The professional staff at a gym can help you determine the right amount of weight for you to start with, or you can hire a personal trainer for one-on-one attention.



More than weightlifting exercises on our benefits to exercise page

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