Picking out an exercise routine can be confusing. With all the muscle groups in our body, this task can feel overwhelming, and sometimes, even frustrating. While searching the internet would lead you to a multitude of workout routines, there aren’t many resources that could help you choose muscle groups that you can work together. Sometimes, it’s not just a matter of working hard but also working smart. Grouping your workouts will not only help you make the most out of your time in the gym but would also help you achieve amazing results faster.
In this 2-part article, we will help you understand how each muscle group works and how you can pair them together to create an effective 6-day workout routine. We would be laying out the foundations and fundamental ideas that you have to familiarize to further improve and manage your workouts.
While we would be sharing suggested workouts that supposedly target specific muscle groups, it is important to remember that muscles from all over our body work together whenever we create a movement. These specific movements that we will tackle, however, focus its weight and pressure to certain areas of the body, making it more effective on particular zones.
What is a “Muscle Group”?
Before we can understand how we can pair muscles together, it is important to first know what muscle groups are.
As the name suggests, muscle groups can simply be explained as it is. These are muscles are close to each other and perform together to create certain movements. Although we have 600 muscles throughout our body, they are only 6 major groups: chest, back, arms and shoulders, abdomen, legs and buttocks, and quadriceps.
Why is it important to know the muscle groups?
Aside from being able to create a targeted and effective approach to working out, knowing your muscle group is also beneficial when it comes to improving your posture and overall form. Being familiar with these muscles, their placements, as well as their function would help you observe your movements better, giving you more opportunities to correct how you approach what you do. This awareness will also help you prevent injuries and muscle imbalances.
The Major Muscle Groups
The chest muscle is one of the most prominent muscle groups in the body. Its main muscle is the pectoralis major. This is most commonly known as the “pecs”. Strengthening the pectoral muscle will give you a stronger and more impressive upper body.
A developed ‘pecs’ is most evident in males, as breasts usually hide this muscle for females. This muscle group is used in controlling arm movements. One of its main function is to bring the upper arm across the body.
Our back is composed of multiple muscles that rise from the buttocks and stretch up to our neck and shoulders. It is one of the biggest and most complex muscular structure in the body. Essentially, there are 5 main muscles that make up the group. They are the following:
- Latissimus Dorsi
Latissimus Dorsi, commonly known as the “lat” or “wings”, is one of the widest muscles in the body. It is a thin, triangular muscle that stretches to the sides behind the arm. The lat is used in pulling movements. It also helps the arms in doing different activities like when you take something down from a shelf above your head. This is most commonly worked out through pull ups, chin ups, and is heavily involved in multiple swimming movements.
The Rhomboid is comprised of two muscles — the Rhomboid Major and the Rhomboid Minor. It is located in the upper back and is underneath the trap muscles. They are not visible from the outside but they are important when it comes to strengthening your overall back. They assist the scapulae and compliments other muscles to create movements.
Most commonly known as “traps”, this muscle is located between the shoulders and the neck. It has three divisions — the upper, the middle, and the lower traps. The traps aid in shrugging and neck movements. It also acts as a support when you lift over your head.
- Teres Muscle
This muscle is underneath your lats. It works together with this muscle, thus, referred to as the “lats little helper”. While this muscle is small, it plays vital roles as support for the lats and the rotator cuffs.
- Erector Spinae
Erector Spinae, also known as spinal erectors, are muscles that straighten and rotate the back. As the name suggests, it helps the spinal cord to extend and they are key when it comes to posture and form. These are mostly used when you are bending forward and sideways.
ARMS & SHOULDERS
This muscle group has 3 major muscles. These are sprawled from your arms to your shoulders.
The biceps is located in front of the upper arm and it helps control both the shoulder and elbow joints. This muscle helps your arm to bend or curl towards your body.
This muscle is located in the back of your upper arm, just across your biceps. This muscle stabilizes your shoulder joints and assists on straightening your elbow joints. Movements such as writing, pushing, and pulling involve the use of this muscle.
These are your shoulder muscles. These are used in body lifting motions. It provides support when you carry things. These are among the biggest and most complex muscular structure in the body.
The abdomen might be one of the preferred muscle groups that many want to focus on. While having a toned abdomen might be aesthetically pleasing, strengthening this part of the body actually aids better breathing as well as help you prevent diseases. This muscle group also controls your twisting and bending motions, as well as posture.
The abdomen is made up of multiple muscles. These are the oblique (located at the side of the abdomen), Gluteus Medius (controls the level of hips), Gluteus Maximus (outermost muscle of the buttock), Serratus Anterior (stabilizes the shoulder), and Psoas Major (connects the lower part of the spine).
LEGS & BUTTOCKS
There are two major muscles of legs and buttocks — the Hamstrings and the Gluteals.
This huge muscle group is located in the upper back of your thigh and it helps you on bending your knees and movements that require you to propel your body forward like walking and running.
Most commonly known as the “glutes”, these muscles are in your buttocks and is actually the largest muscles in your body. They control the movement of the legs and maintain your body’s balance.
Most commonly known as the “quads”, this large muscle group has 4 major muscles in the front of your thigh. This is the second largest muscle group in the body. The major muscles that comprise the quads are rectus femoris,
Another muscle in this group is the Gastrocnemius. These are more commonly known as the calf muscles. These are located at the lower back part of your legs and it aids you to lift your heels up.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the type of muscles in your body, it’s now time to create your perfect workout. In our next article, we will be discussing how you can pair muscle groups together to create a more effective workout.
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- Coleman, E. (2018, July 16). An Overview of the Body’s Major Muscles Groups. Retrieved from https://www.fitfatherproject.com/overview-of-muscles-bofu/
- Pectoralis Major Muscle Function, Origin & Anatomy | Body Maps. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/pectoralis-major-muscle
- Latissimus Dorsi Muscle. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Latissimus_Dorsi_Muscle
- Rhomboids. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Rhomboids