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JAN 5, 2024

The Evolution of Gym Trends: A Look Back at 2023's Most Popular Exercises


Take a look at 2023's gym trends as we compare Strength Log's predictions with Marie Claire's findings.

Read time: 3 minutes

At the start of 2023, Strength Log made some bold predictions about the exercises that would dominate gym routines. Their article was backed by a lot of really interesting data and claimed the bench press would be the year's star – and that it’d be equally popular among men and women. They also added that men were expected to focus on bench pressing 30% more than women, and the barbell curl 71% more than women. However, in contrast, women were predicted to lean towards leg press (42% more in fact) and the hip thrust by a staggering 830% more than men.

But it should be noted that these results stemmed from their app data based on the most popular and successful exercises of 2022.

Initial Predictions vs. Reality

As the year progressed, these predictions were put to the test. Marie Claire, known for its lifestyle and health insights, also covered this topic later in the year (September to be exact). And their findings painted a slightly different picture, highlighting a diverse range of exercises that captured the fitness world's attention in 2023.

  • Deadlifts

  • Lateral Raise

  • Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Bench Press

  • Lat Pulldown

  • Romanian Deadlift

  • Squat

  • Hammer Curl

  • Bent-Over Row

  • Face Pull

All of the following is based on what was most searched for on Google, i.e. what everyday people wanted to know, learn or improve upon.

Understanding the Exercises

Bench Press

A staple in strength training, the bench press primarily works the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Performed lying on a bench, it involves pushing a barbell away from the chest.

Deadlifts

This powerhouse move targets multiple muscle groups, including the back, glutes, and legs. It involves lifting a weighted barbell off the ground to the level of the hips, then lowering it back down.

Lateral Raise

Great for shoulder development, this exercise involves lifting dumbbells out to the sides of the body, targeting the shoulder's deltoid muscles.

Bulgarian Split Squat

A single-leg squat variant, where one foot is elevated on a bench behind the user, focusing on the quads, glutes, and improving balance.

Lat Pulldown

Targeting the latissimus dorsi muscle in the back, this exercise is performed on a machine, pulling a weighted bar down in front of the body.

Romanian Deadlift

Similar to the standard deadlift, but with legs remaining almost straight, it emphasizes the hamstrings and lower back.

Squat

A fundamental exercise that targets the lower body, particularly the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Hammer Curl

This bicep exercise involves lifting dumbbells with palms facing each other, mimicking a hammering motion.

Bent-Over Row

Targeting the muscles of the back and arms, this exercise involves lifting weights towards the chest while bending forward at the waist.

Face Pull

It may sound weird but the face pull is a shoulder exercise that focuses on the rear deltoids and upper back, performed by pulling a cable towards the face.

Your Fitness Journey in 2023 and beyond

Now it’s your turn! What did you discover in your fitness journey this year? Did you follow the trends, or did you carve your own path? And, if it’s none of the above, will you be adding them to your new year workouts? Either way, here’s hoping for an even more active and healthy 2024!

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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