Many people want to get their “beach bodies” ready for spring and the upcoming summer months. As the weather warms up and trips to the pool become a regular part of your life, it is easy to just focus on the major muscle groups, while neglecting some of the smaller and harder to work areas. You know how it goes: Chest day is every day, you might hammer out a few extra sets of curls, or wake up and do 100 extra sit-ups every morning. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you may be inhibiting your potential for muscle growth and/or opening the door for an injury. It is very important that you continue to work on all the surrounding muscle groups to continue to achieve your goals in the gym! Here are 7 muscle groups that you should make sure you focus on while working out!
- Rotator Cuff: Looking to get movie-like deltoid muscles? Well if you don’t train the muscles that support your deltoids, then you won’t stand a chance of building this muscle area to give you a signature Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson look! If you injure or don’t strengthen your rotator cuff, you will restrict your range of motion and hinder your ability to do overhead exercises.
- How do you strengthen it? – Internal Rotation – Stand with your lifting arm closest to the cable machine, with your elbow flexed to 90-degrees and rotate in and out.
- Erector Spinae: We always work upper back and trap muscles with exercises like lat pulldowns and shrugs, but we may be neglecting the muscles that keep you upright. These muscles are what help you maintain your posture, assist in side bending and rotation, and stabilizing the spine during stretching and flexion.
- How do we strengthen it? – Back extensions, supermans, and deadlifts – Good posture is very important!
- Gluteus Medius and Minimus: These muscles help to stabilize the pelvis, especially when on one leg. They are very important for athletic performance and for walking and climbing stairs.
- How do we strengthen it? – Side-lying clam, lateral leg raise, resistance band lateral hip walk – Very basic but effective exercises!
- Tibialis Anterior: Have you ever had shin splints? This could be a result of weak tibialis anterior muscles! The tibialis anterior aides in activities such as walking, running, hiking, kicking a ball, etc. It functions to stabilize the ankle.
- How do you strengthen it? – Band Foot Exercises – Sit on a chair, place an elastic band around your foot and extend your leg straight in front of you. Extend your foot forward and back.
- Obliques: Want to get a six pack? Don’t neglect these muscles! This is the muscle group on the sides of your stomach. Without strong obliques, all the crunches in the world won’t matter!
- How do you strengthen them? – Side planks, bicycle crunches, side crunches – We do these every workout! Challenge yourself to do more at home to really feel a burn.
- Hamstrings: All the squats, deadlifts and lunges we do during classes indirectly target the hamstrings, but that is not sufficient to adequately build these muscle groups! Most people are quad dominant and therefore don’t target their hamstring muscles frequently enough. Having an imbalance within these muscle groups can lead to a variety of problems, including but not limited to back and knee injuries. Let’s all be proactive in preventing these injuries by focusing more on the hamstrings!
- How do we strengthen hamstrings? – Hamstring curl machine, stability ball leg curls – Feel the burn in those hamstrings after doing several sets of these exercises!
- Forearm Extensors: Your grip strength is very important both in and out of the gym! Without strong forearms, your ability to hold heavier weights can be hindered and in turn you won’t be able to push heavier weights in the gym!
- How do we strengthen forearm extensors? – Wrist curls, Reverse curls, squeezing exercises – In addition exercises like hammer curls help hit those muscle groups as well.
Be sure to work on these muscle groups whenever you have a chance! It can go a long way in preventing injuries and help you achieve your goals!
Information courtesy of https://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/7-muscles-everyone-ignores