Car mechanics understand every inch of a car before they start servicing, repairing or maintaining it. Before you start trying to enhance your physique, you should have a working knowledge of the major muscle groups that power your body.
The pectoralis major – a large, fan-shaped muscle — covers the front of the upper chest. The chest is a primary muscle group that requires other, secondary muscle groups, mainly the shoulders and triceps, to assist in every exercise. If you work your shoulders and triceps beforehand, they’ll quit on you before your chest works hard enough to grow. The smartest order is: chest first, shoulders second and triceps last.
If you are looking for big muscles, there none larger (when it comes to total surface area) than the ones in your upper back. The trapezius, a diamond-shaped muscle that runs from your middle back to your shoulders and then up to your neck can be targeted by rowing exercises. The lats run from your armpits to your middle back and provide the V-shape. Those large muscles are assisted by other muscles in your shoulders and arms, especially your biceps. The smartest exercise order: upper back first, shoulders second, biceps last — this way your shoulders and arms won’t tire before you exhaust your upper-back muscles.
There’s no point in getting scientific over arm muscles. The biceps bend your elbow, the triceps straighten it and exercises you perform that target them pretty much repeat the movements. They do the job, but inevitably your arms grow accustomed to all that, and they stop growing. You need to confuse them. Switch up your arm workouts when you’ve stopped working. Target different muscle groups and keep at it.
The abs include the rectus abdominis, the six-pack muscle, and the internal and external obliques, which are on the sides of your waist and assist in every type of mid-section movement — bending, twisting, crunching. (The rectus abdominis is mostly involved in crunching-type movements, but the obliques help out on everything). Hidden beneath these muscles is the transverse abdominis which wraps around your torso, attaching to your abdominals, pelvis and ribs. It’s a hard-working muscle that supports your entire torso, stabilises your pelvis, holds your internal organs in place and prevents your gut from flopping over your belt.
Running, jumping and heavy lifting all start with your hip, thigh and lower leg muscles.
- The hip abductors, the outer-thigh muscles, move the leg away from the body
- The hip abductors are the inner-thigh muscles. They pull the leg across the body
- The hamstrings run up the back of the thigh and need to be loose for almost any athletic activity
- The quadriceps make up the front of the thigh
- The calves are located on the back of the lower legs