We all strive towards a well balanced body when it comes to muscle strength, size and function irrespective of our specific goals.
To achieve this we must vary our workouts otherwise our posture may suffer and we could develop problems with muscle imbalances, muscle tightness or a drop in sports performance just to name a few.
To explain this in more detail we need to consider a number of different aspects:
We have two different types of skeletal muscles when discussing function, these are:
Phasic Muscles: These muscles are the type we use for movement and force generation, an example of these could be Quadriceps when performing a squat or the pectorals when doing a press up.
Postural Muscles: These muscles are the type we use for stabilising posture and keeping our body in good alignment. The popular sub category of this is the core which is used to support our body when standing.
All Muscle groups
The importance of varying your workouts is all the more apparent when considering the different muscle groups.
I am not usually into the body building scene but those guys definitely are on point with regards to routine splits for example chest (day 1), (legs day 2), cardio (day 3) shoulders (day 4), Back (day 5) cardio (day 6) rest (day 7).
That type of program ensures all muscle groups are worked throughout the course of a week.
Opposing Muscle Groups
There are many people who fall into the chest workout trap where they are so focused on bench presses and other chest orientated exercises, they neglect the antagonist (opposing) muscle group.
This is a sure way to create muscle imbalances and postural issues, you may have seen the “chest champion” in the gym with his back arched over and shoulders rolling in towards his chest…… yep you’ve guessed it, too much chest work!
This is just one example, those guys would benefit from some upper back exercises in the same way that someone who over works shoulders could do with working more on their latisimus dorsi.
It’s important to think about the order of exercises in each session you have so as not to put too much stress on smaller muscles which could lead to injury.
A good example of this would be training abdominals prior to performing weighted squats because the core muscles needed to stabilise the body during a squat will have already been fatigued increasing the chance of poor technique and may lead to injury.
Some muscles will have more use on a daily basis so training these muscles at the gym frequently could actually be detrimental to health by over training.
An example of this would be the hip flexors that are in constant use throughout the day by flexing the hip with every step thus training this muscle further could cause an injury
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