When building an impressive, muscular body, focusing on large groups using heavy compound lifts is essential. Of course to get a truly impressive symmetrical and complete figure you need to work every muscle in your body.
For the busy trainer, this is easier said than done and smaller muscles often get neglected in favour of their larger, more impressive looking cousins. Here are five muscles that you should start working if you arenâ€™t already
1. Rear Delts
Developing the medial delts (the middle shoulder muscle) really adds some width to your frame when standing face-on, but failure to pay attention to the rear portion can leave you looking two-dimensional when you turn to the site.
Itâ€™s easy to see why these muscles get neglected, they canâ€™t be seen unless you turn around and contort your head at an awkward angle, but itâ€™s vitally important to work them.
How? Rear Delt Cable Crossovers
Stand facing a cable station and grab two high cables with your arms crossed over (attachments optional) pull the cables diagonally down as far as possible, maintaining a slight bend in the arms.
Everyone wants a six-pack, and weâ€™re all familiar with the classic exercises designed to stimulate the rectus abdominus (the sheet of muscle that runs down the middle of your stomach) but what about the muscle fibers that run diagonally down the side of your six-pack?
These are the often-forgotten obliques and while they shouldnâ€™t be completely disregarded, working them excessively can result in a thick, blocky look to your mid-section. Balancing oblique exercises with rectus abdominus moves is the key.
How? Kettlebell rows
Get on the floor in a press up position, but instead of placing your hands flat on the floor, grab a kettle bell with each hand. Row the kettles bells up alternately, while twisting your torso as little as possible.
Itâ€™s funny how most gym goers are ultra-keen to develop their upper arms (biceps and triceps) but seem happy to leave their forearms languishing. This can sometimes be beneficial since smaller forearms makes any upper arm development seem more impressive, but thick fore arms are a crucial part of any great all-round physique.
How? Wrist curls
Grab a barbell with and overhand grip (knuckles facing up), flex the biceps as you would with a regular curl.
If youâ€™re one of those gym goers that doesnâ€™t work their legs, then chances are, calves are right at the bottom of your priority list. They shouldnâ€™t be. Why? If youâ€™re going for a great looking beach body, a pair of skinny pipe-cleaners hanging out your board shorts will undermine all that effort youâ€™ve put into your chest and abs.
How? Smith machine Standing Calf Raises
Stand on a raised platform (e.g. Reebok Deck) with the tips of your toes, position the bar across your shoulders and flex the calves (stand on tip-toes)
5. Erector Spinae
Erector what now? This is a sheet of muscle that spans the lower part of your back and in all honesty, does very little to directly influence your physique. This does not mean you shouldnâ€™t work it with the same volume and intensity as you do your chest or arms.
This muscle is the supporting structure for your back, and strengthening it will mean you can lift heavier loads pretty much every other exercise.
Place a barbell on the floor and hold with a shoulder width grip. Start in squat position, with the legs bent around 40 degrees, the hips back, and the knees in-line with the toes. Extend the hips, keep the back straight, until in an upright position. Lower the bar slowly back down.
[box type=”important”]Warning:Â Take extreme care with theÂ deadlift, and start off with an unloaded barbell if you are unfamiliar with the exercise. Incorrect form could do some serious damage to the lower back muscles.[/box]