A common mistake made with new trainers and new workout regimens is the misunderstanding of who muscle groups work. Muscle groups work don’t work without help, or in other words, no muscle group works individually. Muscles work to support each other in ways such as larger muscles being supported by smaller muscles.
This means working with two or more major muscle groups all at once; you’re more likely to overload your system, drain your energy, and not see the results you want to see as quickly. Thus, leading to the question, what are the best muscle groups to work out together?
The best way to see results and workout your muscles is in sets of three. Of your muscle groups, in one day, you should focus on these combinations; chest, shoulders and triceps or back, biceps and abs or hamstrings, quads and calves. Working out your muscle groups in sets of three like this ensures that you don’t fatigue yourself, and get the most out of your workouts.
For maximum muscle growth, a workout targeting one major muscle group (chest, legs, and back) with the rest of the session supplemented with smaller muscle groups (biceps, triceps, hamstrings, calves, abs, and shoulders) is the way to go.
It’s important to structure your workout around a 3-day split to get the most out of each session. Essentially, do a 3-day split regiment, with at least one day of rest once all three have been completed.
What Are Your Major Muscle Groups?
The human body is made up of more than 600 muscles, and those muscle tissues make up 40% of body weight; as such, knowing every single muscle is both difficult and unnecessary. This is why trainers, bodybuilders, and general strength training individuals sort muscles into “muscle groups” to target them with workouts effectively.
Though it seems like a basic question to be asking, knowing your muscle groups is an essential aspect of knowing how to exercise them, and what their role is in your workout routine.
Simply knowing each muscle group is also incredibly important to preventing injuries, muscle imbalances, and aches and pains that can come up in training. Instead, you can begin to improve your posture, get stronger and faster, and build your muscles faster as well.
To ensure your safety, and the effectiveness of your workout, knowing the five major muscle groups is essential.
Though not the only muscle group, by far, the most sought after in workouts is the pectoral muscle located in the chest. As the chest is such a visible part of the human body, building mass and strength in the pectoral muscle is considered very desirable.
The pectoral muscles are the muscle group that adds size to the upper body and is divided into two parts. These two parts are known as the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.
These muscles are activated in everyday tasks pretty frequently by reaching across one’s body to put a seatbelt on, brush the hair on the opposite side of the body, and even be activated by tucking in a shirt.
Additionally, they provide support when you are holding something in front of your body.
The Back Muscles
These muscles are the most complex muscular structure in the body and act as a perfectly constructed combination of muscles working together for various physical and everyday activities. The back muscles are made up of five muscle groups that stretch from the buttocks all the way up to the neck and shoulders.
The Trapezius or otherwise known as the traps, is located between the shoulders and neck. Like the pectoral, it can be divided into three different divisions, the upper Trapezius, middle Trapezius, and the lower Trapezius. These muscles control the shoulder blades and play a key role in neck movements and shrugging movements. This is the muscle group that helps tilt, turns the head, and provides support to lifting items over your head.
Next, the Latissimus Dorsi a flat muscle that stretches behind the arms, to the sides and is covered partially by the Trapezius mentioned above on the back midline area. It is sometimes called the “lats” or the “wings,” and they are what allow the body to perform pulling motions. Essentially, this muscle group is good for pulling something down from above your head or pulling something into your body. This also makes them heavily responsible for many swimming movements as well.
The Rhomboid muscles are located up in the upper part of the back, and they’re also located underneath the trapezius muscles, so they’re not visible on the outside. Despite not being able to see them, the rhomboid muscles are essential to strengthening the scapulae and facilitating many back movements. These muscles originate from the spinal cord, and they merge into the scapular bone.
Teres Muscle is a muscle that is positioned underneath the latissimus dorsi. They work with the latissimus dorsi muscles and the rotator cuff to facilitate the pulling motions the latissimus dorsi is responsible for. They can be targeted through deadlifts, shoulder presses and lat pulldowns or pullover exercises.
Finally, for the back muscles, the Erector Spinae is a set of muscles that straighten the back and facilitate the back’s rotation. When working on posture, targeting this muscle group is essential as they are a deep muscle group that helps to extend the spine and are important to bending forward and sideways.
The Abdominal Muscles
Strength trainers and bodybuilders focus a lot on working out the muscles in their abdominal. These muscles protect inner organs, and moreover, they are the muscles that assist in breathing. These muscles are incredibly important to focus on to help you maintain a good posture, and they are also an important part of bending over and twisting motions.
The Obliques are the muscles that help support the spine from the front and is essential to keeping good posture. They’re positioned on the sides of the abdominal.
The Arm and Shoulder Muscles
These are some of the most commonly known muscles to even non-strength trainers/bodybuilders, the biceps, triceps and deltoids.
Biceps are found in the front upper arm, and control movement in the shoulder and elbow.
Triceps help stabilize the shoulder joint and allow the elbow joint to be straightened.
Deltoids are used for lifting motions and provide support for carrying things.
The Legs and Buttocks Muscles
Hamstrings are the muscle group in the upper back part of the thigh; this muscle’s main function is to help bend your knee. This is the muscle that helps you move forward in running, jumping, and walking.
Gluteals are found in the buttocks and are the largest muscle in the body. They are responsible for the backwards movement of the legs, and sideways movements as well as to help you stay balanced.
The gastrocnemius is most commonly known as the calf muscles, and they are the ones used when you lift your heels up in basic motions to walk, run and go up a flight of stairs. They’re also essential to movements like jumping, climbing and sprinting.
Final Thoughts on What Are the Best Muscles to Workout Together
Learning to target these muscles intentionally and in groups that help benefit the whole without harming yourself is essential to all kinds of training.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder, into martial arts, a sprinter, a strength trainer or just in it for the health, being aware of each of these muscles’ contributions to the whole body and targeting them is critical to your training.
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