In the middle of a training session yesterday, my 26 year old client said that we needed to focus more on his “glam” muscles. He said it with a smirk on his face and was obviously joking. Glam muscles, huh? Those would be the arms, chest and shoulders. And toss in a set of pull-ups (for back) and ab crunches for good measure. I threw him a knowing glance and laughed about it. The funny thing is that most people’s workouts totally lack priority. They choose exercises based on what they see in the mirror. Plus people have a tendency to train body parts that recuperate fast and show the quickest progress. Our biceps are a great example. We use them all the time: for carrying groceries, lifting laundry baskets, picking up our children and even taking the trash container to the curb. What about your other body parts? Or is it all about wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt?
Prioritizing underdeveloped muscle groups is not glamorous, but it can help prevent injuries, improve performance in other exercises and provide better body symmetry and overall balance. Training rear shoulders, hip abductors and lower abs don’t get a lot of press. These muscles are crucial for developing good posture, a strong core and reducing back pain. So I have included three NON-glam video demos for your viewing pleasure. Incorporate them into your current workout routine and you’ll see immediate benefits. Here you go!
Prone Shoulder Raises
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie face down on an incline bench. Your head should be comfortably off the edge of the bench. Keep body weight on your chest and stomach. With knees bent stay on the balls of your feet. With palms facing behind you, raise the weights in front of you as high as you can (superman position). You will feel this in the shoulders, and mid and low back. Slowly lower dumbbells back to starting position though the same arc. Face palms toward each other and lift weights out and away from either side. Do not shrug the weights up. Be sure to squeeze shoulder blades (scapular retraction). Once you have lifted the weights as high as you can, lower weights to starting position through same arc. Face palms behind you and lift weights behind you toward your hips. You will feel this in your rear shoulders and triceps. Lift as high as you can then return weights to starting position through same arc. Be sure to exhale as you lift the weights up and inhale as you lower the weights down.
Side-Lying Hip Abduction
Lie on your side with bottom leg slightly bent (for stability) and top leg straight. Lift top leg toward ceiling keeping the heel slightly higher than toes. Be sure to keep leg in line with the rest of your body. Then lower leg back to starting position. Exhale as you lift leg up and inhale as you lower leg down.
Alternating Knee Pull-ins
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees pulled into your chest and your arms at your sides. Press your low back to the floor and draw your navel to your spine. Slowly extend one leg out in front of you keeping your heel close to the floor. Go only so far while maintaining a pelvic tilt. If your back arches, you have extended your leg too far. Bring your knee back into your chest squeezing your abs and repeat with other side.