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Weight Lifting Exercise Names

author image Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.
Weight Lifting Exercise Names
The word "curl" implies a flexing movement. Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images


Weight lifting has its own, unique lingo. The exercise function and primary movements often determine the exercise name. The words press, push, extension, flex, curl, lift and raise are common weight training exercise names, which sometimes hint at which muscle groups are used. Extension and pressing exercises, for example, work the muscles responsible for straightening the limb, such as the triceps. Flexing or curling exercises bend the limb and engage flexion muscles like the biceps.

The Bench Press

The bench press, performed either with dumbbells or barbells, is one of the most common weight training exercises. The pectoral or chest muscles perform most of the movement, while the triceps, which are the back of the arms, and the deltoids or shoulder muscles assist the movement. Some weight lifters add a decline press, performed with the head on the low end of a slant board, for the lower pectoral muscles.

The Chest Fly

The cleavage-enhancing chest fly is another popular pectoral exercise. Weight lifters perform the chest fly while lying face-up on a weight bench, holding one dumbbell in each hand. The exercise begins with the weights together, the elbows slightly bent and the weights in alignment with the chest. The lifter slowly opens her arms, until the dumbbells align with her shoulders. Then, she contracts her pectoral muscles to bring the weights together.

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Rear Delt Row

Experienced weight lifters, especially those in competition, understand the importance of symmetry between the chest and back muscles. While the chest fly enhances cleavage and definition in the front of the body, the rear delt row balances the muscle groups by working the upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Most weight lifters perform the rear delt row from a squat position, using either two dumbbells or one barbell. The exercise begins with arms extended. The lifter bends his elbows and squeezes his shoulder blades towards each other, much like the way he contracted his pectoral muscles for the chest fly.

Lateral Raise

The lateral raise is a shoulder exercise that works the lateral portion of the deltoid muscle. Developing this muscle group is like adding shoulder pads to a blouse or jacket. Gaining shoulder size makes the waist and hips look smaller in contrast. Lifters usually perform the lateral raise while standing in an upright position, holding one weight each hand. They lift both weights simultaneously, raising them to shoulder height. The elbows remain slightly bent throughout the exercise.

Biceps Curl

Weight lifters perform the biceps curl, which works the front of the arms, in various body positions. The basic biceps curl, performed in a standing position begins with the arms extended and the palms facing upward. The lifter stabilizes her elbows and flexes her forearms, bringing the dumbbells or barbells toward her shoulders. The concentration curl, performed in a seated position, emphasizes the outer part of the biceps. The lifter stabilizes her working elbow against her inner thigh. She begins with her arm extended and slowly curls the weight toward her shoulder.

Triceps Extension

The triceps extension works the muscles in the back of the arm. The lifter sits on a seated weight bench with his back supported against the bench seat. He extends his arms and holds the dumbbell overhead, placing both hands under the inner part of the dumbbell plate. Then, he bends his arms, lowering the weight behind his neck, then uses his triceps to extend his arms to the starting position.

Lever Lying Leg Curl

Your legs can benefit from using weight-lifting equipment as well. For the lying leg curl, face the bench and in front of the lever pads. Lie on your stomach on the bench and insert your lower legs under the pads. Hols onto the handles on the bench. Lift the pads with your lower legs toward the backs of your thighs. Straighten your legs back down to finish.

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