If you are a beginner to lifting weights, then it is a good idea to understand what muscles are being used during workouts. This is very important as it will help you to target the muscles better, perform proper technique and, in the long run, achieve better results. And that’s what we want ladies right? Real results!
You don’t need to know the name of every single muscle in the body in order to get in shape and get fit. However, understanding the major muscle groups will put you in a good position to hit your strength training actually knowing what you are doing which will put you ahead of the game for building those beautiful biceps. With the sunny season upon us, now is the time to start working those arms to feel confident in your favourite vest tops! So let’s take a look at the upper body and more to build confidence, awareness and beautiful muscles.
The Major Muscle Groups
There are over 600 muscles in the body making it one incredible tool. So trying to work every single muscle in the body is a bit far-fetched, however there are some movements that do target many muscles in the body, such as the deadlift. Use the guide below to understand the major muscles so that you can hit your strength training session knowing what you are working.
- Shoulders – Deltoids, trapezius (traps). Example exercises: shoulder press, push press, lateral raise, dumbbell shrug
- Arms – Biceps, triceps, and forearms. Example exercises: bicep curls, tricep extension, tricep dips
- Back – Trapezius, latissimus dorsi (lats), rhomboids. Example exercises: pull ups, chin ups, bent over row
- Chest – Pectoralis (pecs). Example exercises: bench press, push ups, pec flyes
- Stomach – Abdominals, obliques. Example exercises: plank, most compound movements as they engage the core, i.e. squats
- Lower back. Example exercise: back extension
- Legs – Quadriceps (front of the thighs), hamstrings (back of the thighs), calves. Example exercises: squats, deadlift, leg extension, leg curl, standing calf raises
- Butt – Glutes. Example exercises: glute bridge, glute kickbacks, heavy dumbbell step ups
A Bit of a Butt Point
SQUEEZE that bum! The glutes (gluteus maximus) aka derriere/bum/butt is the largest muscle in the human body. It is large and powerful as it has the job of keeping the trunk of the body erect and stabilising muscles of the hip. We ladies have the tendency to have weak glutes as we simply do not use them properly. Whether you want a shaped bum or not, it is important to work the glutes to build a strong base of support, decrease the risk of injuries and improve performance in workouts.
Example Butt Workout
- DB goblet squat 4 x 12
- DB step ups 4 x 15 each side
- Glute bridges 4 x 20
- Glute kickbacks 4 x 20 each side
- Side step with resistance band 4 x 20 each side
Workout Tip: A good way to programme a workout is by focusing on each major muscle group. By doing so you target the main areas which will help in better body composition results. Each week hit a body part from each muscle group. For example, take the upper body, go for shoulders then find a few shoulder exercises, and then add some arms exercises that target the biceps and triceps. That could be one workout for the week.
Example Upper Body Workout
Do this circuit of four movements first.
- DB shoulder press x 10
- DB biceps curl x 10
- DB lateral raise x 10
- Tricep dips x 8 to 12
Then move on to this circuit of four movements.
- DB push press x 10
- DB hammer curls x 10
- DB front raise x 10
- DB tricep extension x 10
The beauty of strength training is it works wonders for the muscles which means it is magic for body composition. Read more about Women & Muscles: Why You Should Lift Weights!
Who’s ready to squeeze those beautiful muscles?