If you’re on a rigorous strength training routine (or even a not-so-rigorous one), you’re probably well aware of the popularity contest/priority list of muscle groups that you like to focus on. Most guys go straight to the pecs, biceps, shoulders, and the like — those tank top-worthy areas that make one look oh-so-stunning when pointing stuff out (which way to the beach? Oh….thaaaat way). For the ladies, it’s usually striving to get that bodacious booty, toned triceps, and power thighs.
Then there are those humble muscles that you know you ‘should’ be working on, and occasionally do — such as your core, calves, traps, and lats. But would you be surprised to know that there are a whole host of other muscles that you leave on the shelf collecting dust, some of which you probably have no idea about…until you try lifting something the wrong way, you sneeze a bit too hard, or cramp up while you’re watching your favorite baking competition on tv.
The fact is, if you want to maintain a healthy fitness routine, and reduce the incidence of injury in your daily life, you’ve gotta take those hidden muscles off the shelf, dust them off, and get them working again. And we’re gonna help you do just that. So take note, because we’re going through some important muscles that you’re probably ignoring.
The posterior deltoid muscles are located just under the shoulder on your back side. They’re also directly opposite of your pectoralis, which means if you’re ignoring these support muscles when working your chest, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Having an imbalance between your chest and posterior delts can lead to injury, not to mention give you a hunched over look. But fully developed posterior deltoids help you stand up straight and upright, improving your posture and basically everything else in your life.
Exercises to work the posterior deltoids: Seated dumbbell rear fly, single arm dumbbell external rotations, bent over wide-grip barbell row.
Located on the outside of your core around your waist, the obliques connect your hips, ribs, abs, and lower back together. They’re used when you bend down, twist at your torso, and bend to the side, and they are instrumental in spinal alignment and stability.
Exercises to work the obliques: bird dog crunches, single-leg side plank with leg raise, spiderman crunch, side plank swipers, single-leg toe touches.
The rhomboids are an important group of muscles located in the center of your upper back. They help give you stability and strength, whether you’re working out or just in daily activities. And when properly developed, they are a key feature of a well-defined upper back, not to mention they help you get that ‘v-taper’ that’s so prized in bodybuilding circles.
Exercises to work the rhomboids: Prone lateral raise, scapular retraction, rear delt flys, scapular wall slides.
The rotator cuff makes up a bunch of muscles and tendons that offer range of motion and stability for your shoulders. This means that it’s an important functional component of proper arm and chest strength and mobility. And if you ever suffer an injured rotator cuff, you can say goodbye to comfort and movement of your arm for a little while. It’s also great for keeping your arm’s flexibility going strong, which is super useful from day to day.
Exercises to work the rotator cuff: pendulum swing, standing row, reverse fly.
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Sure, big beefy calves look great, but who has time to work on them? You do, silly. Calves are hugely important for most athletic endeavors, as they aid in speed and explosive power. They also support you when you stand up, help you move your foot and lower leg, plus they are instrumental in jumping. You use your calves all-day everyday, so it’s a good idea to get them in proper shape.
Exercises to work the calf muscles: Standing calf raises, jumping rope, seated calf raise, leg press with calf raise, sprints.
Running centrally through the inner part of your thighs, the adductors are responsible for pulling your thighs together, stabilizing your hips, keeping alignment in your knees and hips, plus they are also (sneakily) responsible for much of the power you generate doing explosive movements such as jumping and sprinting. Weak adductors can lead to poor athletic performance and increased risk of injury.
Exercises to work the adductors: Sumo squats, single-leg glute bridge, cossack squat, copenhagen side plank, incline side squat (seen above).
The often-overlooked erector spinae helps your spinal joints extend, flex, and rotate. But since they are not seen as a major muscle group, they are usually ignored by many. Bad move. Because these bad boys are your first line of defense from spinal injuries, and are utilized when you bend over and stand up from a sitting position.
Exercises to work the erector spinae: Lateral raises, deadlift, squats, good mornings.
The hip abductors are a collection of muscles located around the upper, outer thigh/hip/upper booty region. This muscle group works to stabilize your pelvis when you walk, run, or rotate your legs. When you don’t include this area in your workout regimen, you could be in for a world of trouble: injuries to this area can be painful, and make it pretty painful to walk, move around, and basically do anything. But working the hip abductors can result in some pretty good lookin’ glutes.
Exercises to work the hip abductors: Side leg raises, standing leg circles, squat side kicks, curtsy lunges.
Well we hope our list helps you to put some much-needed focus on these normally forgotten muscles. When you give these muscles-that-could the tender loving care they deserve, you’ll be rounding out your fitness routine, reducing injury, and making you healthier and stronger in the long run. And if you’re ready for more guidance on all-things-fitness, be sure to snag yourself an All Access Pass with Studio SWEAT onDemand! We’ve got thousands of virtual strength training workouts that you can do from anywhere, plus Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Pilates, Bootcamp, Kickboxing, HIIT, TRX, and a whole bunch more. We even offer a 7-Day Free Trial so you can check us out and make sure we’re the real deal before you commit. Plus, our worldwide community of supportive members are always around to push you to be your best. Sign up today, and let’s get shredded, together!BODY-SCULPTING WORKOUTS. NON-STOP NEW RELEASES | Pick Your All Access Pass Now!