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Today, I would like to talk about a few exercises I do to round out my training, Those forgotten muscles, or just the ones that don’t always get worked out.
Let’s get started!
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Let’s start at the beginning. Before you do any exercise with weights, u=you should be waking up your body and your muscles. A little warm-up is good for you, as it gets the blood flowing and greatly reduces the chance of an injury.
I do a few whole body stretches to begin my warm-up and then do some specific stretches depending on the body part I am working out that day.
I start on one knee, with the other foot forward, both hands on the floor in front, as if on all fours, but with one leg up. I then lift one arm toward the ceiling in a rotational manner, stretching the core. I then lower this arm underneath my body. I do 10 reps with each arm.
I then go on one knee, with the other foot on the floor, and squeeze my glutes together. This stretches the hip flexor. This is critical, since the hip flexor is the only connection between our upper and lower bodies. Then switch foot positions, and repeat for the other hip. Do 10 repetitions for each leg/hip flexor.
I then move to a bridge position and raise and lower my hips from the ground to the ceiling, again squeezing the glutes together at the top. This will warm up your quads and hamstrings.
I finish the stretches with some body-weight squats to get the blood circulating throughout the entire body.
At this point, it would be good to do a few jumping jacks or running on the spot to really get the blood flowing.
Then think about which body part you are working out and choose some specific stretches to target this area. I have included a chart of stretches, but there are many more to be found by searching for stretches online.
For the cool-down after your workout, you will want to do some dynamic-hold stretches that incorporate the body part you worked out. Think yoga, and stretch out the muscles so they have a chance to have some defined blood flow and they will recover quicker.
The upper chest muscles, or clavicular head, is often forgotten about. These muscles will get a bit of a workout when doing the bench press, or any incline or decline dumbbell work, but once a week, they should be the focus of your exercise.
I like to do a superset – that is two exercises performed one after the other with no rest.
The first exercise is a dumbbell curl that crosses over your chest, raising your arm as high as your forehead. This video will demonstrate the exercise. It is a great video, but if you want to see the exercise being performed without all the explanation, start at about 2:30. You will want to choose a weight that you can perform three sets of 15 repetitions with perfect form. Feel free to lower the weight on the second and third set to keep the form, as your muscles will be fatigued.
The next exercise is also a dumbbell exercise. It will be performed right after the first exercise. This is a shrug with a rotation of the weight in front of your body. You will be able to do this with a much heavier weight, since you are not lifting the weight, just shrugging it. This video will show the exact exercise starting at 3:45, with the superset starting at 3:00.
Performing this superset once a week will ensure that you have a well-rounded chest program.
Once again, I would like to target a muscle that does get some exercise throughout your other exercise routines. The brachialis is a muscle that will get a workout when you are working your arms, your chest, and your back. But I like to target it once a week. To do this, I perform a shortened version of the dumbbell curl where I cross the weight over my chest.
Start with your arm in the lowered position, your tricep squeezed, as if you were going to do a hammer curl (palm facing in ). Then raise the weight across your chest, tapping your opposite pec muscle with the dumbbell. Lower, remembering to squeeze your tricep at the lower position, and repeat for three sets if 15 reps for each arm.
Once again, it is important to choose a weight which allows you to be strict in your form throughout the movement, as you are targeting a smaller muscle. You may need to lower the weight on the last set to maintain your form.
Face Pulls and Resistance Band Shoulder Pull-Downs
These are two exercises that I will admit to needing to perform more often. I do the resistance band shoulder pull down more regularly, as I have had a shoulder injury and this helps strengthen the shoulders.
Face pulls are also a great exercise for your shoulders and your external rotator cuffs. It is important to keep these muscle healthy to avoid shoulder injury. Perhaps if I had done more face pulls, I could have avoided my shoulder injury. This video will demonstrate the proper technique to perform the face pull, in detail. It is important to use proper technique to get the full benefit of the face pull.
The second and equally important exercise for the shoulders is the resistance band pull down. Again, this video will explain the exercise in great detail, including the benefits to your posture.
It only takes a few minutes to perform these exercises, but the benefits will be seen in all your other workout routines.
So there you have it. A few exercises to add to your repertoire of exercises. I like to do all of these on the same day; a day that may have been a rest day. It just keeps me active and helps to build a solid foundation for the rest of the exercises.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Thanks for listening. Stay strong!
Have a great day!