Sorry if this question seems to be from a ignorant point of view.

I've been going to the gym to do bodybuilding. In my workout, my trainers have told me that exercises seem to be assigned opposing categories. For example biceps vs triceps, hamstrings vs quadriceps. There is also some categories I don't know the name in English, but they are VERY common exercises. For example, what is the name of this muscle:
Overhead pull

Or of this:
Shoulder press

Respectively, in my language, the first one is called "back" and the second one "shoulder".

My last question is if there is a opposite of pectoral exercises. In common butterfly, you are "compressing" between your arms. In wich exercise do you make force to separate the arms? (reversal of butterfly)

In my language, the exercise opposite of butterfly is normally called "rowing".

1 Answer 1


The first exercise is an "Overhead pulldown", sometimes called a "Lat pulldown" because it primarily target the latissimus dorsi muscles. The second exercise is an "Overhead dumbbell press". This may have been intentional on your part, but they're often used as opposing exercises, one pushing and one pulling.

As for the opposing exercise for the butterfly, the "Reverse fly" seems to be what you're looking for. Reverse Fly

  • Yes, reverse fly does qualify as a possible reversed exercise. But is only an instance of a particular exercise of the more general "rowing" movement I'm trying to get. Don't in USA or whatever english country you live, are exercises in gym divided by categories? Or it's more complicated probably. Probably there is one category per muscle. Now I'm thinking and the categories proposed by me as biceps do not account for how the hand is upwards or downwards. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 18:45
  • 4
    "reverse fly" seems to be the general exercise term for it. A "row" is generally used as the opposite of a "press", i.e. pulling toward the body instead of pushing away. The fly and reverse fly are rotating the weight forward and backward respectively with fixed arms. The exercises tend to be grouped by primary muscle group exercised with agonist-antagonist opposing pairs.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 18:56

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