There is nothing wrong with training your major muscle groups, and then loving the results looking back at you when you stand in front of the mirror. But are you neglecting the smaller assisting muscles and stabilizers? If you are guilty of that, you might be exposing yourself to injury. Major muscle groups need the minor muscles to support and stabilize them. So if you train only your big muscles, the smaller ones might get overwhelmed in time due to muscular imbalances, and that could cause a lot of damage.
Multi-joint exercises like deadlifts, squats, and planks recruit more muscle groups simultaneously, so that is an effective way of training your entire core and upper body. However, just going through the motion of the exercise is not enough for it to be efficient. You have to pay attention to your form and posture and mindfully perform the exercise, in order to improve bio-mechanics and strengthen your core. Focus on stabilizing your spine and maintaining it neutral throughout the exercise.
The Rotator Cuff is a group of four muscles that originate on your shoulder blade, and form a 'cuff' to stabilize your shoulder joint. They are responsible for your posture and mobility. If you have big delts and weak rotator cuffs, you risk injuring them. That will restrict your range of motion and disable your from performing overhead movements. So, in order to prevent impingement and tears, you need to frequently train them. At least, include rotator cuffs exercises in your warm-up before working out.
Lying Lateral Rotation
This muscle lies atop the outer sides of the highest ribs. It's responsible for assisting your scapula in rotating upwards and stabilizing it against your rib cage. The serratus anterior should be strong in order to promote shoulder health and mobility. It's a little bit harder to see, unless you've trained it before and have a very low percentage of body-fat. Pull-downs and pull-overs only stretch the muscle, so in order to strengthen it and make it more visible, you should train it twice a week.
Supine Shoulder Protraction
Hanging Serratus Crunch
You can see this muscle on the lateral side of your tibia bone or on the lateral side of your lower leg. It runs above the foot and below the knee. It is responsible for ankle flexion and inversion, stabilizing, and balancing your ankle and entire leg. Training your tibialis anterior 2-3 a week will help you achieve a full range of motion, help strengthen your lower body in order to support your upper body, and prevent lower leg injuries caused by strength imbalances.
Kneeling Shin Stretch
If these muscles are too weak or tight, it might be quite challenging to perform these exercises that sound simple. Consider wearing upper body compression for your rotator cuff and serratus anterior exercises. That will distribute adequate pressure on your muscles and keep them warm in order for you to perform the exercise easier. You can do the same for your tibialis anterior exercises: wear a pair of calf sleeves to relieve pain during and after workout.
Reduce the risk of injury and start developing these 3 stabilizing muscles! Not only is the Serratus Anterior nicknamed ‘the sexiest muscle in men’, but it actually helps and supports your shoulder’s mobility and promotes proper linkage between your scapula and rib cage. And the same goes for your rotator cuffs and tibialis anterior; they have critical and vital roles in decreasing the risk of injury and ensuring overall strength and balance.
You will not only have a pleasant and symmetric physique, but you will improve your overall athletic performance. Small muscles make a big difference! So, remember: you are training for yourself, not for your mirror. Which other small muscles do you think we should’ve mentioned in our list? Let us know!