It’s hard enough for us to cover the basics while working out. We’ll begin by running on the treadmill, head straight for the elliptical, grab a pair of weights and collapse in agony mid sit-up. What more could there possibly be to it? Turns out, lots. The stronger our bodies become while exercising, the weaker the other, smaller muscles begin to appear. Read on for a list of muscles screaming for our attention:
The name of this muscle may be hard to pronounce, but it’s just a fancy term for a muscle found in the buttocks. It’s situated on the outer surface of our pelvis, and is often neglected while working out. Special mention to all avid runners out there: most sprinting injuries are a result of a weak gluteus medius. Not only that, but ignoring this muscle can promote severe knee and back injuries (suddenly this muscle doesn’t seem so irrelevant). So how might we solve this problem?
Work it out: The most efficient way to step up the tone of this muscle, is by literally stepping it up. Begin by scoping out a platform that is knee-height. Stand tall facing the steps and set one leg firmly atop of it. Stretch the opposite leg up to reach the tip of the platform, while keeping it bent at a 90 degree angle, and then set your leg back on the ground. Repeat this stance for a few minutes, and then alternate. Tip: The higher the platform, the stronger the workout on your hamstrings and derriere.
This muscle is the deepest layer of tissue found in the abdominal, so it’s no wonder we aren’t aware of its existence. It is a core stabilizer, which assists to keep our abs in tip top shape. This muscle is often thought of as a belt, or shall we say accessory, to tighten our stomach muscles. So if you are striving toward a more defined abdomen, don’t leave this muscle untouched. A stronger transversus abdominis also results in a slimmer and tighter waistline. So ladies, it’s time to throw that leather belt in the trash, and try this workout instead:
Work it out: If you are restricted for gym time, don’t fret. You can still work your stomach muscles while fully entranced by McSteamy during Grey’s hour (who certainly doesn’t achieve his cheese grater-esque abs by performing surgeries all day). A common and effective exercise targeted toward this muscle group is called the horizontal plank. While this position may not be our favourite to take on, the outcome is still worth the battle. So lie down in plank position and grab a set of dumbbells. Then, slowly lift your hand out to the side, while your core and hips remain steady. Do ten reps of this action, and then rotate.
Translation: this is just an elaborate name for our shoulder blade, which is connected to our upper arm. If ignored for long enough, a weakened scapula can spawn carpal tunnel syndrome – eek! This disease occurs when an individual bends their wrists and fingers for a sustained amount of time (ie. typing on a laptop), which can lead to wrist swelling. Now we know why our mothers used to nag on us for slouching!
Work it out: In order to gain appropriate posture and tone our upper-back muscles, we don’t need to do as much as leave our computer chair (as long as you’re not typing at the same time – best not be counter-productive). To begin, sit up straight with your hands by your side, and squeeze your shoulder blades together for about a minute, and then shake it off. If you get antsy, switch it up by pushing your shoulder blades together for five seconds, and then release. Repeat this action 30 times.
We all strive toward exercising on a routinely basis, but when life gets in the way, it’s easy to disregard certain muscle groups. Try to find the time to squeeze in these positions for a couple of minutes each day, even if you can’t make it to the gym. Your glutes will thank you.