There are roughly 650 muscles in the human body, depending on whom you ask, and some of those are important muscles you should exercise frequently. Obviously, it would be impossible to focus on all of them, but for exercise there are a few key muscles that are worth zeroing in on for health and overall general fitness. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few muscles or muscle groups that are very important to one’s fitness.


These are the muscles that form the upper part of your legs. Many trainers love the phrase “arms are for show; legs are for go.” To an extent, it’s true. There are few to zero athletes who can gain as much strength in their upper body as they can by training muscles in your legs. There’s a reason that any workplace safety video emphasizes lifting with one’s legs rather than back. Great exercises for this group include squats, lunges, deadlifts, leg extensions, and leg presses.

Core muscles

This group name can be used to describe nearly any muscle in one’s torso. But for the sake of clarity, let’s narrow it to abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles that oppose the abdominals. These muscles are all crucial as they transfer motion from our lower bodies to upper bodies, an essential fact that highlights its importance in almost any exercise. This being the case, often they can be developed indirectly by activities such as running (actor and fitness enthusiast Mark Wahlberg, for example, does not believe in training them directly at all). Exercise for this group can include running, sit ups, crunches, and back extensions.

Chest muscles

For many beginners to weight training, chest muscles are the very first muscle groups that they wish to train as it is immediately noticeable when wearing many kinds of clothing. Also, for bodybuilders, the ubiquitous bench press maximum weight is a universally discussed mark that many strive to increase. The chest mainly includes the pectorals but many exercises for it also engage biceps, triceps, deltoids and many more muscles. Great exercises for this group include pushups, bench press, dumbbell presses, and dumbbell

Shoulder muscles

Main muscles of the shoulders are the deltoids and the traps, which, to some extent, can be considered part of the shoulders as they are partially visible from the front and involved in most shoulder exercises. As many people working out wish to develop a broad torso, shoulders are very important. Great exercises for this group include dips, delt dumbbell raises, and certain types of rows.

Upper back muscles

This is an often-overlooked muscle group as one can be less conscious of it. However, a strong back is important in stabilizing many other exercise and also for chiropractic health. Lats, traps, and rhomboids are some muscles that fall into this group but there are many more. Wide grip pull ups, military presses, and most rows work this group. See: Back muscles training exercises.

As with all exercises, a fitness professional should be consulted before beginning a new exercise regime. For the back it is particularly important so as to avoid any spinal injuries.

More about: Exercises Muscles