Gym Workout Equipment

How to Train All 6 Of Your Major Muscle Groups

Figuring out which of your muscles groups you can train together can be a confusing process. Some people believe that triceps and chest muscles should be trained together because they’re both involved in bench pressing. Other people claim that the back and the chest should be worked together. At the same time, there are entirely different grounds of people saying “Marc Dressen, shouldn’t we avoid individual muscle group training entirely?”

Add all of the confusion together, and you end up with a complicated path towards a workout plan that’s both effective and enjoyable. After all, all you want is a program that’s designed to give you all the right muscles in all the right places.

I have some good news for you.

The truth is there’s no “perfect” way to combine the muscle groups in your training. If you understand a few basic principles, there are countless ways you can combine muscle groups into workouts that are effective, and easy to maintain too. Today, we’re going to look at the 6 major muscle groups,

and how you can create a program that will help you to reach your goal of training all of them.

Identifying the 6 Key Muscle Groups

“Muscle groups” are collections of muscles located close together in your body. When it comes to growing muscle, you’ll need to focus on these six areas:

  1. The Back
  2. The Chest
  3. The Arms
  4. The Shoulders
  5. The Calves
  6. The Legs

Since all your exercises will include a range of muscles, it’s impossible to focus on building one muscle at a time. Instead, you need to focus on distinct groups.

Group 1: The Chest

The primary muscle of the chest is the “pectoralis major”. Its main function is to move your upper arm across your body. Unlike many of the other muscles in your body, the fibres in your chest muscles aren’t aligned consistently in the same direction. Specific exercises like the decline or flat bench press will help to manage all the different fibre of your chest, and build muscle.

By engaging in a bench press with decline, you can focus on the larger sternocostal head of the fibres in the pecs, while other exercises like a reverse-grip press will emphasise the smaller clavicular heads.

Group 2: The Back

The muscle group in the back includes the Rhomboids, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, and Erector Spinae. Your aim when it comes to building your back muscles should be to end up with:

  • A powerful triangle structure within your lower back.
  • Clear separation and development in your “Teres” muscles
  • Stronger Rhomboids that appear as dents when flexed
  • Wide lateral muscles that extend throughout the torso
  • Large traps establishing the upper back

Most people neglect their back muscles when they visit the gym because it’s not something they see in the mirror every day. However, the more you work on building your back, the more you can end up with a truly incredible physique.

Group 3: The Arms

The arms are made up of a collection of four muscles, including the forearms, the triceps, the biceps brachialis, and the biceps brachii. The task of the bicep is to flex the arm and bring your forearm towards your upper arm. These muscles also help to keep the elbow flexible, which means that you can turn your hand upwards to grab and catch things.

If you want to stimulate the biceps, you’ll need to perform exercises that situate your hands with your palm turned upwards. The triceps, on the other hand, do an alternate job to the biceps, by pushing the forearm away from the upper arm.

To get the best arm muscles, you’ll need to work on all the elements of your arms, including the forearms – though people frequently focus on the biceps, under-developed forearms can be incredibly obvious.

Group 4: Shoulders

The three heads of your deltoids, in your shoulders, are the anterior, lateral, and posterior head. Primarily, the deltoids are designed to help stabilise many of the muscle groups in your body, including the biceps, lateral muscles, and pecs. The rear deltoids help the lateral muscles, while the front deltoids help to bring your arms around in front of you.

Most of the time, the posterior and lateral deltoids need the most work because the anterior deltoids get trained through a good chest workout in most circumstances. However, chest training will not train the other two heads properly, which is why it’s important to get some focused training in.

Group 5: Legs

The legs are limbs made up of various major muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, and the glutes. Because the workout requirements for each of these groups need their own focus, let’s look at each in closer detail.

The quadriceps are the large muscles towards the front of the thighs. The back squat is a great way to work these muscles, and the complete lower body. However, if you want the best quad development, you’ll also need to implement lunges and front squats.

The hamstrings are the three muscles located on the back of the legs. While a squat can help to build the hamstrings, the quads are the main focus in squatting. It’s a good idea to make sure that you always include exercises in your workout that specifically target your hamstrings, as well as doing quad-dominant exercises.

Finally, if you’re doing the rest of your lower body training properly, you shouldn’t have to do additional training for your glutes. However, if you think that your glutes are a weak point in your physique, then implement exercises that target them specifically.

Group 6: The Calves

The calves are made up of two muscles – the soleus, and the gastrocnemius. The “gastrocnemius”, is the large muscle that you see when you look at your calf, while the soleus is a deeper muscle lying beneath the gastrocnemius. When it comes to building muscles for aesthetic reasons, we’re often more focused on the gastrocnemius – but a properly developed soleus is crucial too.

Due to the orientation of the calf muscles, it’s important to use different exercises to train your calves, and there are two distinct moves you can use, including:

  1. Calf pressing
  2. Calf raising

Implement both seated and standing calf work into your routine to make the most out of your workouts.

Finishing Thoughts

Ultimately, if you want to get the best results out of your muscle group training sessions, there are no hard and fast rules about which groups you should be training at the same time. All you really need to do is make sure that you train each of your muscles groups every five to seven days to make sure that you give them enough time for recovery.

Additionally, make sure that you use the right exercises, recommended by your online personal trainer, and take the time to think about how you can combine work on muscle groups that perform similar motions.

Marc Dressen
Personal Trainer London

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