A Crash Course on Weight Training; Part Three – Movements and Exercises

Before we get into the actual routines, let’s talk about movements and exercises.

One of the first things to understand about designing a resistance training routine is how certain body parts work together to perform certain movements.  For example, when you perform a pushing movement using your pecs, you are also using your triceps and shoulders to some degree.  This is important to know for several reasons.  First, you want to avoid training any of these related groups on back-to-back days (like chest on one day, then shoulders or tri’s the next).  Second, when you think of your body as a small series of “groups,” it makes designing various routines easier.

So let’s start with the basic breakdown of movements and which body parts are involved.

Types of Movements: For easy classification, there are four different types of movements you will do to cover your entire body:

1) Pushing movements – involve the chest, shoulders, and triceps

2) Pulling movements – involve the back, biceps, and trapezoids

3) Leg movements – involve the quadriceps and hamstrings

4) “The Extras” – involve the abdominals and calves

Kinds of Exercises:

Primary movements are those staple exercises that offer the greatest overall opportunity for development of a given body part.

Secondary movements are a little more specialized, offering fine-tuning and diversity to your efforts.

Both are important to your Rock-Solid resistance training regimen, so you’ll want to integrate both kinds of movements into your various routines.

Additionally, there is the option of weightless resistance exercises. This is a category of resistance training that involves exercises that only deal with your bodyweight, like push-ups, lunges, deep knee bends, crunches, etc.  Although they won’t give you the same kind of results that weightlifting will, they are definitely of value on a number of levels and can even be integrated into the most advanced routines with excellent results.  More on this throughout the rest of this series.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of movement and some of the many exercises available.

Pushing Movements



  • Flat bench press – Barbell, dumbbells, or machine
  • Incline bench press – Barbell, dumbbells, or machine
  • Decline bench press – Barbell, dumbbells, or machine
  • Dips – Parallel bars or machine


  • Flat bench flyes – Dumbbells
  • Incline bench flyes – Dumbbells
  • Pec-deck – Machine
  • Cable-crossovers – Cables


  • Push-ups – the floor



  • Military press (front only) – Barbell, dumbbells or machine


  • Lateral raises – Dumbbells, cables, machine
  • Front lateral raises – Dumbbells, cables, machine
  • Bent-over lateral raises – Dumbbells, cables, machine



  • Triceps pushdowns – Cable
  • Overhead triceps extensions – Cable
  • Triceps extension machine – machine
  • Lying triceps extensions – Barbell (or EZ-bar)
  • Close-grip bench press – Barbell
  • Reverse presses – Cable
  • French presses – Barbell (or EZ-bar)
  • Dumbbell kickback – Dumbbell, cable


  • Close-Grip Push-ups – the floor

Pulling Movements


Primary: (For overall development and width)

  • Lat pulldowns – Machine
  • Chin-ups – Bar

Secondary: (For overall thickness, and inner and lower back development)

  • Bent-over rows – Barbell
  • Dead Lifts* – Barbell
  • One-arm rows – Dumbbells, cable
  • Seated pulley rows – Cable
  • T-Bar/machine rows – T-bar, machine
  • Rear Delt Flyes – Dumbbells machine, cable
  • Hyperextensions* – Stationary apparatus at the gym


  • Chin-ups – (see above)



  • Standing Curls – Barbell, dumbbells, EZ-bar, cables
  • Alternating dumbbell curls – Dumbbells
  • Concentration curls – Dumbbell, cables
  • Preacher curls – Barbell, EZ-bar, cables, machine
  • Hammer curls – Barbell, EZ bar, cables, machine


  • Reverse-Grip Chin-ups – Bar

brbarcurls3Curls are a classic “Pulling” movement

Traps (Trapezius) – Optional


Upright rows – Barbell, cable

Shrugs – Barbell, dumbbells, machine

Rear Delts – If necessary

(Like traps, rear delts are somewhat of an optional movement since they do come into play with many of your back movements.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to knock out a few sets for the rear delts, especially if you get a lot of good shoulder work for the front and middle heads.  Not only will this help you avoid injury by keeping your total shoulder development more equal, but it will give your physique a more balanced and refined look.)


Bent-over Lateral raises – Dumbbells

Reverse cable crossovers – Cable

Reverse pec dec – Machine



  • Squats – Barbell
  • Leg Press – Machine (various angles)
  • Hack squats – Machine (various angles)

Secondary (Quads)

  • Leg extensions – Machine
  • Lunges – Barbell, dumbells

Primary (Hams)

  • Stiff-legged Deadlifts – Barbell
  • Lying, Standing or Seated leg curls – Machine

Weightless (Overall Conditioning)

  • Bodyweight Squats – The floor
  • Bodyweight Lunges – The floor
  • StepUps –Stair step, sturdy picnic table or workout bench, etc.

The Extras



  • Standing calf raises – machine
  • Donkey calf raises – machine
  • Seated calf raises – machine
  • Calf presses – Leg press


  • Standing calf raises – Most any elevated surface (like a block of wood)
  • One-leg calf raises – (Same as above)



Crunches – floor, slant board, pulley machine (with rope), weighted crunch machine

Twisting crunches – floor, slant board

Leg-lifts – bench, hanging from bar, special machine

Trunk twists – Pole


  • Most movements – (See above)

Almost home, kids,  In Part Four, our final installment, we’ll talk about several options in putting together your actual routine.

See you at the gym –


About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of nine books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford. Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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6 Responses to A Crash Course on Weight Training; Part Three – Movements and Exercises

  1. trinity elsie says:

    alright, now we are getting down to the nitty gritty.. thanks for all the info.
    keep in touch
    your friends and fans
    trinity and elsie
    midland, tx

  2. elsie pallanes says:

    one more question- what is a great workout to get a nice tight ass? and what about for the forearms? your answers are great appreciated. thanks
    elsie and trinity

  3. Bobby Rock says:

    Hey –

    For a nice tight ass, I would recommend going reasonably deep with squats, making sure to flex those cheeks at the top of the movement. You can start off with bodyweight squats (basically deep knee-bends) and then eventually do them with a barbell across your shoulders. Either way, make sure that you really warm up those knees before blasting through a few sets. And remember, it’s at the bottom of the movement where you’ll really be hitting the glutes, so make sure that you go deep enough.

    As for forearms, I believe you get a lot of forearm work when you do all of your pulling exercises. If you want more, add a few sets of wrist curls on back day.


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