Ever wonder which muscle groups are the best to train together? Optimize your workout sessions with these guidelines.
Performing resistance training exercises has numerous benefits for your health such as: improving your bone health, increasing your muscle mass, and reducing your body fat. Many people incorporate resistance training into their workout routine by using dumbbells, machines, resistance bands, and other kinds of equipment. A lot of people throw together a routine without really thinking about which body parts they are working together. Training specific muscle groups on the same day can help fight fatigue and soreness and will often get you the best results. It is also essential to keep track of the muscle groups you train, because many people forget to target certain other muscle groups.
CHEST AND BACK
Your chest and your back are two of the largest muscles in your body. The chest and the back are antagonistic–or opposing muscle groups, meaning that they work in opposite directions of each other. Back and chest are very broad terms for what each muscle group actually consists of. Your chest is made up of your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The name pectoralis is the reason why many people nick name the chest “pecs.” If you hear someone say “Check out my pecs!” they are talking about their chest.
Your back is made up of a few more muscles than the chest including your latissimus dorsi, “lats”, lower, upper, and middle trapezius, erector spinae muscles, and your teres major. Your chest and your back work together in many daily life activities such as walking and standing up straight. If you have a weak back or a weak chest, you could disturb your natural posture and end up with a hunched back. And so, it’s important that you treat both of these muscle groups with equal importance. To get the best chest/back workout, perform one set of chest exercises followed by a set of back exercises giving you about a minute of rest between each set.
Some of the best exercises for your chest include: bench press, incline bench press, cable flye, and pushups. The best back exercises include: bent over row, pull ups/chin ups, and dumbbell reverse flyes.
BICEPS AND TRICEPS
Just like the chest and back, your biceps and triceps are also examples of antagonistic or opposing muscle groups. The biceps and triceps are located in your upper arm. Your bicep is made up of biceps brachii and the brachialis. Your tricep is made up of tricep brachii and the brachialis. As you can see, the brachialis is a part of both your biceps and your triceps so it’s great to get that muscle worked in one day. Perform a set of tricep exercises followed by a set of bicep exercises. The best bicep exercises include basic bicep curls, hammer curls, and cable curls. Some tricep exercises include dips, overhead extension, and lying tricep press.
In general, you can do your legs all in the same day. Some people to like to split their legs up by muscle group but it’s not absolutely necessary. It’s great to pair shoulders with legs because the two muscle groups are completely different from the other, giving you a good break between upper and lower body. Your shoulders are broken up into front deltoids, rear deltoids, and lateral (middle) deltoids. The nick name for your shoulders is “delts.” Your legs are bit more intricate and are broken up into your quadriceps, “quads”, hamstrings, and calves. Each of these muscles is further broken down into many smaller muscles. Just like with the other groups of muscles to train together, you should perform a set of shoulder exercises followed by a set of leg exercises. Shoulder exercises include the shoulder press, upright rows, and side/front raises. Leg exercises include squats, dead lifts, calf raises, seated leg extension, and leg press.
Many people, especially those just starting out in the gym, can benefit from performing a full body workout. Full body workouts are great for someone who is looking to lose a lot of weight because they tend to burn more calories. You will be using many more muscle groups so your heart rate may begin to rise. Full body routines don’t necessarily have to include every single muscle group. You can pick about 4 specific muscles and do a routine and then switch it up the next day. If you are not a beginner and you are doing a full body routine using heavy resistance, it’s best to take a rest day the next day. Since you will be working your entire body out at a pretty high intensity, you want to make sure you give your muscles time to recover before working out that muscle group again.
It’s always best to pair your cardio routine with your abdominal routine. Many people do incorporate some ab exercises into their other routines such as throwing in an ab exercise between a tricep and bicep workout. Perform a routine of abdominal exercises followed by 30-40 minutes of cardio. Some of the best abdominal exercises include crunches on a stability ball, planks, Russian twists, and reverse crunches. Cardio depends on your own specific capabilities and should be planned out before hand.
UPPER AND LOWER BODY
If you aren’t in to full body routines and you don’t want to have to plan out exactly what muscles you are going to be working out, you can split your days up into upper and lower body routines. Workout your upper body – your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and abs one day and the following day do your lower body, mainly your legs! This is also a great place for beginners to start.