Knowing the major muscle groups is necessary before you can plan which muscle groups you need to work on for improving your body.
Most people pay more attention to the ‘show off’ major muscle groups in their upper body like chest, biceps and abs. That makes their body unbalanced, which looks ridiculous.
One should rather have a balanced body that looks great all over. Though legs require hard work to develop, but it’s worth the trouble. Not only from aesthetic point of view, but we need stronger legs other wise also as they are going to carry us around for our whole life.
Work on your both upper as well as lower body major muscle groups to achieve a well balanced body.
What Are The Major Muscle Groups To Work Out?
I have made up a list of the most important muscle groups to help you develop balanced body.
Major Muscle Groups For Building Upper Body
Shoulder comprises of front deltoids, side deltoids, & rear deltoids. You should work on all the three deltoids so that both front as well as back of your upper body develop.
The overhead dumbbell press is the main exercise for all the three heads. The other two exercises for the shoulder are dumbbell side laterals and front dumbbell raises.
The chest is one of the ‘show off’ major muscle groups for both women and men. Most people pay more attention to the chest, but you should work on other major muscle groups also.
Bench press is the main exercise that people generally do to develop their chest; as it works on the entire pectorals. This exercise has has many variations. For the development of inner pectorals, you can do narrow grip bench press.
The back is one of the biggest major muscle groups.
Your back comprises of tons & tons of muscles that need special attention.
While weight-training exercises such as Deadlifts work on thickness in your back, the rows develop both thickness & width. Pull Up & Chin Up variations help develop wider back.
When I started going to gym at the age of 63, many people (including trainers) warned me that deadlifts were dangerous for my back, but I took up doing them. My experience is that if we use proper form and technique, it’s a great exercise to make our back grow strong and powerful. And then the chances of developing back aches and pains will reduce to a very large extent. By doing deadlifts in proper form we not only make our back stronger, but also learn how to lift things correctly, so the risk of injuring our back would almost be negligible.
A strong lower back improves your posture & reduces the chances of developing back pain. Strengthening it will also help you to perform many exercises.
When planning exercise routine include squats and deadlifts in your routine to strengthen lower back.
The trapezius, known as ‘traps’ in short is the huge upper back muscle that contributes classic V shape to upper body that every one dreams of.
Some exercises that contribute to the development of traps are the deadlifts, power/shoulder shrug, military press and the standing barbell press.
Tip: Deadlifts work on your traps so well that you don’t even need to include a specific trap exercise into your workout routine.
Though, the triceps contribute to about 2/3 of the upper arm still majority of the people work on their biceps, which contribute to only about 1/3 of the upper arm.
The women with saggy arms should work on their triceps to firm up their arms.
Many of the exercises that help develop triceps contribute greatly to development of chest as well.
I mostly recommend reverse grip bench press, narrow grip bench press and dips for building triceps.
Besides chest, this is one of the most ‘show off’ major muscle groups that the men want to develop even though they do not add much size to their body.
The close grip pull up with palms facing towards your body is one of the best compound exercises to work on your biceps. Other effective biceps exercises are back exercises like rows. Alternate dumbbell curls also work up the biceps and allows you to lift heavy weights.
The forearms are an important muscle group. Weak forearms can limit your strength in other exercises.
Many exercises that you do to build other muscle groups help develop forearms also. Even just holding onto & gripping dumbbells and barbell while doing exercises contribute a lot to enhance forearm size and strength.
If you still want to do specific exercises to work on forearms – hammer curls, pinwheel curls and different types of wrist curls are good for your forearms.
Major Muscle Groups For Building Lower Body
Some people think that by jogging, running or doing other aerobic exercises they would not need to do any real leg exercise. This is totally wrong.
Quads are the 4 big muscles that comprise front of your thighs. That’s the reason why this muscle group is known as ‘QUADS’ or quadriceps.
Some of exercises that work up the quads are Squats variations & Lunges. I don’t recommend isolation exercises such as extensions.
The hamstrings are the big muscle group located at the back of your thighs.
They are recruited while you do squats, but you need to focus more on them by doing Stiff Legged deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and Leg curls.
You should strengthen both quads & hamstrings to build a strong set of legs and prevent injuries.
People generally ignore calves, a major muscle group. I’ve seen many body builders walking around with under-developed calves and they look so absurd.
The calves are a very obstinate muscle group and can be very hard to build if you were born with poor calf genetics.
Raises are a good way to work on calves.
Major Muscle Groups For Building Mid Section
The truth is that Ab exercises do not help burn fat around the abs, actually that’s a myth. Most people have good set of abs under the layers of body fat. When our body fat is low enough our abs are visible. Ab exercises are a waste of time for getting six-pack.
So don’t bother to spend any time on ab exercises.
If you’re doing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, overhead press, rows, & pull-ups, your core strength will enhance. Your abs will become adequately strong. Along with compound exercises, eat healthy and be consistent with the cardio workouts and you will get a nice set of six-pack – ab exercises won’t.
I prefer compound exercises than isolation exercises for every muscle group because they let you lift heavier weights and that provides better results. Also try to cover all major muscle groups in your workout routine within every week.