Targeting Specific Muscles

  1. Review the descriptions of different bodybuilding exercises below.
  2. Try doing or simulating each exercise with your own body (without the weights of course).
  3. Based on the descriptions of which actions are performed by each muscle, and information about where the muscles insert into bones, try to determine which muscle is targeted by the exercise.  Note that each exercise targets one of the muscles in the list below.
  4. In your notebook record:

Exercise 1

Pronate your hands and grasp an overhead bar so your feet are off the ground.  Pull to move arms in an inferior and posterior direction.  Relax and repeat 10 times.

Exercise 2

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand in a pronated grip.  Flex at the elbows while keeping the rest of the body stable.  Keep the dumbbells in pronated grip throughout.  Hold for one second.  Extend elbows back to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise 3

Stand with your feet a hip-width apart.  While stabilizing the rest of your body, plantarflex your feet at your ankles so your entire body elevates straight upward.  Hold for one second, then relax.  Repeat 10-20 times.

Exercise 4

With your index fingers, gently pull the corners of the mouth out slightly in lateral directions.  Push back against that action with your facial muscles and hold this tension.  After a few seconds, push even harder with your muscles so they push your fingers closer together again.  Repeat 20-50 times depending on comfort level.

Exercise 5

Tie one end of a resistance band (like a giant rubber band) to a post near the floor or the leg of a heavy desk.  Tie the other end around your ankle.  Support yourself by holding on to something nearby.  Keep your thigh still and flex at your knee until your shin is parallel to the floor.  Relax and repeat 10 times before switching legs.

Exercise 6

Stand in anatomical position.  Close your eyes and place the heels of your hands over your eyes and press against your eyelids with your fingers resting against your forehead.  Inhale and tightly squeeze your eyes closed as hard as you can while feeling your eyelids working to overcome the resistance of your hands. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 7

Begin on all fours with your hands and knees on the ground.  Keep balanced with your back straight.  Slowly abduct your right leg out and away from your body, keeping your knee flexed at 90 degrees.  Pause and return to all fours.  Repeat 10-20 times and then switch legs.

Exercise 8

Stand with a barbell in each hand in a supinated grip.  Flex your elbows while keeping your back and legs stable and maintaining a supinated grip.  Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position and repeat 8-10 times.

Exercise 9

Lie on your back.  A partner will grasp the superior surface of one of your feet and attempt to pull and plantarflex your foot.  Resist that action and attempt to dorsiflex your foot against the resistance.  Hold for 5 seconds, then repeat with the other foot.

Exercise 10

Sit with a dumbbell in each hand.  Fully flex arms at the shoulders keeping the elbows extended.  Maintain a semi-supinated grip on dumbbells.  This is your starting position with dumbbells over your head.  Slowly flex your elbows, keeping shoulders stable and parallel with your body.  Now extend your elbows against the resistance back to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise 11

Start lying on your back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.  Extend your elbows so the dumbbells are straight up in front of you in a semi-supinated grip.  Keeping your elbows extended, slowly abduct your arms at the shoulder and then adduct them back to the middle against the resistance.  Repeat 8-10 times.

Exercise 12

Stand and hold dumbbells at your sides in a semi-supinated grip.  Shrug your shoulders to elevate the dumbbells and hold them briefly.  Return to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise 13

Sit with your head balanced and facing forward.  Relax your jaw and allow it to naturally depress.  Place an index finger against your bottom teeth.  Press gently down while trying to elevate your jaw.  Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat 5-10 times.

Exercise 14

Stand straight holding light dumbbells at your sides in a semi-supinated grip.  Keeping the body stabilized, fully flex your shoulders.  The elbows should be fully extended with the dumbbells right next to each other above the head and the hands now pronated.  Maintaining that arm position, laterally flex your vertebrae to one side without allowing your back to round or chest to cave.  Hold this position with the ribs on one side elevated and breathe deeply for 30 seconds.  Now repeat to the other side.  Repeat the entire cycle 5-8 times.

Exercise 15

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand in a semi-supinated grip.  Flex your elbows, maintaining the semi-supinated grip.  Hold for one second, then extend the elbows and repeat.

Exercise 16

Begin standing with feet a shoulder-width apart.  Flex your legs at your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Now extend your legs to raise your body against gravity until back at the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 17

Begin by lying flat in a supine position.  Flex your knees and place your hands behind your head.  Flex your vertebral column to raise the scapulae off the ground.  Return scapulae to the floor and then repeat.

Exercise 18

While stabilizing the rest of your body and face, move your left eyebrow in a superior direction as far as you can.  Hold for a few seconds and then release.  Repeat with the right eyebrow.  Then with both eyebrows.  Repeat all three cycles for approximately 30 seconds.

Exercise 19

Sit facing the weight machine with your forehead resting against the pad attached to the weights.  While stabilizing the rest of your body, push against the pad with your forehead to flex your cervical vertebrae.  Repeat 5-10 times.

Exercise 20

In a sitting position, relax and allow your jaw to depress.  Place an index finger against your bottom teeth and apply gentle pressure in an inferior and anterior direction.  At the same time, try to retract and elevate your jaw.  Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat 5-10 times.

Exercise 21

Lie on your back with your knees bent.  Drop both knees to the right side as far as they will go without lifting your left scapula off the floor.  Place your hands behind your head and flex/laterally flex your vertebrae to lift your scapulae off the floor.  Relax and repeat 10-20 times, then switch sides.

Exercise 22

Lie on your back with your knees flexed and feet next to each other flat on the floor.  Have a partner kneel in front of you and place her/his hands on the medial surfaces of your knees.  Your partner will attempt to push your knees laterally.  You should resist this force so that no lateral movement occurs.  Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat.

Exercise 23

Grasp dumbbells in a supinated grip.  Sit and rest the posterior parts of your forearms on your knees.  Flex your hands at your wrist joints and squeeze.  Relax and repeat.

Exercise 24

Sit upright with your back supported.  Lift dumbbells in each hand upward so your elbows are flexed to 90 degrees and your arms are abducted halfway.  The dumbbells should now be on either side of your head in a pronated grip.  Fully extend your elbows and abduct at your shoulders.  Lower the dumbbells back to the sides of your head and repeat 10 times.

Exercise 25

Begin with your hands in fists (fingers flexed).  Extend your fingers to open your hand as widely as you possibly can.  Hold for 5 seconds.  Relax and repeat.

Exercise 26

Sit on the exercise machine with the anterior surfaces of your ankles against the pad connected to the weights.  Extend your legs at the knee against the resistance of the weights.  Return to the starting position and repeat.


Muscles List:


Orbicularis oculi

Orbicularis Oris




Latissimus dorsi

External intercostals

Rectus abdominis

External oblique

Pectoralis major



Biceps brachii



Triceps brachii

Flexor carpi ulnaris

Extensor digitorum

Gluteus maximus

Gluteus medius


Biceps femoris

Vastus lateralis

Tibialis anterior


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