Reading the Starting Strength book, he throws around a lot of anatomical terms. Yet, surprisingly, there's no diagram or chart or glossary explaining what all these are.

What's the best way to learn the basic of anatomy, the names of bones and muscles and what they do and how they work together? Not as a study in its own right - just enough so I can lift properly, and understand what I'm reading.

UPDATE: I need to make clear: I'm looking for an explanation of why and how, not just a vocabulary list. Although I'd like something brief, I need to understand why.

2 Answers 2


Exrx.net gives some nice help in understanding anatomy and kinesiology as it relates to exercise and weightlifting. In addition to their basic exercise and muscle directory, they have several pages that help you understand joint movements, proper alignments, specific muscle weaknesses, and the physics of the movements.

  • The Articulations directory links you to each joint and their movements (flexion, extension, abduction etc). For example, the shoulder articulation page shows each movement along with an exercise that accomplishes the movement, and then lists the different muscles that participate in the movement with links to the anatomy of the muscle.

  • The posture page gives postural deviations and how to improve your alignments.

  • The page that describes common muscle weaknesses gives some good information as to the risks of the imbalance, what exercises will be affected and what exercises will help.

  • And you can get into more detail of the actual mechanics with angles of pull and vector diagrams.

That should give you a good start. Good luck.


I recommend you check the book Strength Training Anatomy.
It has images and details for each exercise and the muscles involved and their names.
You can "click to look inside" to get a feel of what it is about.

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