We often work out our abs, triceps, quads and hamstrings, but we neglect the smaller muscles that are just as important. Sometimes, it’s the little muscles that make the big ones stand out!
The following are just a few of the muscles that we often forget to workout, along with exercises to target them. So for your next workout, give these muscles some attention!
[If you have any health concerns, please consult your doctor or physician before performing any exercise posted on this blog. Lil’ Fit Birdie is concerned for your health, but is not responsible for any injuries! Happy workout!]
1. Serratus Anterior
The serratus anterior stretches through our ribs and ends on our shoulder blade. This muscle is often referred to as the “boxer’s muscle” because it helps in applying strong pressure behind pushes and punches. It also keeps our shoulder joint stable and can also contribute to a defined chest.
Work it: Lie on your back, extend your arms up with weights in each hand. (Start with a 5 lb. weight and work your way up). Reach your arms to the ceiling, lifting your shoulders off the mat. Hold for 3 seconds, and release. Perform 3 sets of 8-10.
The psoas runs through our hips to connect our lower back to the top of our thighs. It helps in stabilizing our back, allowing us to bring our knees to our chest.
Work it: Sit on a bench or chair with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight and avoid hunching over or leaning backwards. While maintaining the 90-degree angle, lift one leg higher than hip level. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Perform 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg. [For an extra challenge, add ankle weights.]
3. Lower back
We are oftentimes so focused on working our abdominal muscles, that we forget that our core circles our entire mid-region. In order to maintain a balance in our core, it’s important that we work our lower back.
Work it: Lie flat on your stomach. Like superman, lift your arms and legs off the mat, as high as you can without irritating your back. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Don’t forget to breathe! Perform 3 sets of 7-10. [If this causes back pain, try isolating the upper and lower body. Lift only your upper body, and repeat the set by lifting only your lower body.]
4. Inner & Outer Thigh
Squats and lunges work our quads and hamstrings, but isolating the inner and outer thigh will give you evenly-toned legs. Strengthening these muscles will also give support to your knees.
Work it: Single-leg Dead Lift with a dumbbell – Stand on one foot, and while keeping your back straight, lower your upper body until it is parallel to the ground. You may slightly bend your knee. Hold for 3 seconds, and bring yourself up to a standing position. Once you’ve got your balance down, pick up the dumbbells and perform 3 sets of 10 on each leg.
Does your wrist ever tire from writing essays during the state exams, or while taking notes in class or meetings? Do you ever get wrist pain from practicing the piano, guitar, or other musical instruments? These could be signs of a weakened forearm.
Work it: Wrist curl – Seated in an upright chair with your back straight, rest your elbow on a desk at a 45-degree angle. With a 2-3 pound weight in your hand, curl your wrist towards you and away at a steady pace. Be sure to keep the rest of your arm stable. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each arm. Then, flip your wrist so that your palm is facing downwards. Curl your wrist up and down, again performing 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each arm.
By keeping these muscles in mind, we’ll be on our way to a balanced body!