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Performance Training

Fitness Qualifications

Agonist and Antagonists

Below is a chart showing the main muscle group pairings in terms of Agonists (Prime Mover, Contracting)
and Antagonists (Relaxing to allow movement).
The Agonist is generally the muscle we are exercising, contracting and shortening to create movement. The
Antagonist is the opposing muscle which must relax to allow movement to occur.
The pairings below also work in reverse, the Antagonists become the Agonists in opposite movements and
exercises, i.e in a Shoulder Press the Agonist is the Deltoid, Antagonist is Latissimus Dorsi, while in the Lat
Pulldown it is now reversed with the Latissimus Dorsi being the Agonist and the Deltoid the Antagonist.
You should implement this part of physiology when programming exercise, i.e. push/pull exercise pairings.

Agonist (Prime Mover)


Pectoralis Major



Latissimus Dorsi

Rectus Abdominus

Erector Spinae




Gluteus Maximus



Hip Adductor

Gluteus Medius

Tibialis Anterior


Synergists and Fixators

Synergist muscles are those that are involved in a movement and are utilised to assist the Agonist in
movement and also to assist in stabilising the working joint, i.e. the brachioradialis and brachialis will assist
the Agonist muscle of the Bicep in a Bicep Curl exercise, the Antagonist muscle will obviously be the Triceps.
The Fixator muscles are those that are involved in a movement that stabilise the origin of the Agonist and the
working joint/s. In a Bicep Curl exercise it will be the Rotator Cuff muscles to stabilise the shoulder joint.
Our core muscles are predominantly Fixator muscles in most exercises as they are fixating our bodies in
alignment during movement.