What Muscle Groups are Best to Work Out Together

Ever wonder why strength-training programs are so similar in how they divide the major muscle groups?

Common combinations include chest, shoulders, back, arms, legs, core, and back.

Although this is not the only way to do resistance training, it is an efficient way to maximize fatigue. It involves combining major muscle groups, Lance Goyke, M.S.C.S.

Continue reading to find out which muscle groups are best to exercise together and the best combinations to use. Also, learn how to create a strength training program that suits your needs.

Major Muscle Groups

Woman doing bicycle crunches at home

These are the major muscle group and most common exercises to target them.

Shoulder (including serratus anterior and pectorals): push-ups, flat bench press, and chest dips.

There are two main ways to determine which muscle groups you should work out together.

“The classic body split pairs muscles that usually work together to perform key movements (e.g. chest and tris and back in pushing motions, and back and biceps and pulling motions),” Trevor Thieme C.S.C.S.S, Senior Director, Fitness & Nutrition Content at Beachbody.

This format is best for serious lifters.

Thieme says that the greatest pro to following a classic body-part splitting is the ability to increase training volume and exercise variety.

He explains that other training splits are more beneficial for the rest of us.

This includes pushing and pulling workouts combined with a leg workout. It also focuses on all upper or low body movements. You can also group workouts according to movement patterns (e.g. hinging, squatting etc. ).

Thieme adds that training splits not only reduce the chance of playing favorites (e.g. focusing too much on mirror muscles) but also tend to be more effective in building functional, real-world strength.

Exercise with Major Muscle Groups in the Same Day

Woman trainer spotting man doing bench press

Thieme explains that working major muscle groups simultaneously “can be a smart strategy to bodybuilders, since that classic split helps maximize each muscle’s training volume — both of which can be key for growth.”

Which muscle groups should you exercise together?

These are the most well-known and common combinations of muscle groups:

Chest, shoulders and backBack and armsLegs & abdominals

It is better to focus on two muscle groups during a workout, as it prevents overexertion.

Working different major muscle groups on different days, and pairing groups that are either near or work together, can help each group get maximum results while also allowing for maximum recovery and rest.

You could work your entire body if you lifted weights.

For weightlifters, do muscle group exercises

Goyke explains that straight sets are the standard way to do a workout. This is where you complete one exercise before moving onto the next.

There are many other methods to train major muscle groups.

Thieme says, “These training strategies don’t require more, they’re just more different and each one has its own benefits.”

Push-pull exercises

This workout unites muscle groups that perform the same actions.

For example, “pulling” moves target the biceps and back. “Pushing” moves focus on the chest, shoulders and triceps.

Workouts that are not antagonistic

Woman doing biceps curl at gym

Antagonist and antagonist muscles work in opposite directions, so one muscle is contracted while the other is relaxed.

These include the quadriceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, quadriceps, triceps, biceps, triceps, and lats.

Goyke says that both push-pull and antagonistic workouts “are meant to accomplish more overall work in a shorter time.”


A superset is a series of exercises that are performed back-to-back, instead of being restrained between them.

Goyke says that supersets are made to do more work in a shorter time and often cause more fatigue. This is not something you would do if your goal is to lose the most weight.

Workouts for the upper or lower body

This is a workout that targets the whole upper or lower body.

These allow for greater fatigue, according to Goyke. He also said that this is his preferred training method for most of his clients.

Bottom line

You don’t have to worry about which muscle groups you should work out with – or follow a strict training schedule.

Thieme advises, “If you want to maximize your training program’s effectiveness, you will choose two training splits that you alternate between week to week.”

He adds, “Doing this will help ensure your program has the correct amount of exercise variety as well as workout frequency to enable you to achieve your goals.”

You could also let Joel Freeman, an expert in fitness planning, do it for you. LIIFT4 eliminates the guesswork from your workouts.

It transforms your body in just four days by combining intense cardio and heavy lifting.

You’ll never be bored with 32 different, real-time workouts.

The Beachbody Blog: What Muscle Groups Should You Work Out Together?

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