Why we should train all of our muscle groups
Because our body is a kinetic chain, which should not have any weak links in it. If we only choose to train the muscle groups that interest us, we will quickly create imbalances or a weakness somewhere in that chain. This will not help us have the aesthetic results we are after and in the worst case scenario lead us to injury
(To sum up, male readers: never skip leg day! Oh and for my female readers: never skip arms day!)
That’s all, folks.
Are you still here?
Good for you. Let’s try to dig deeper in this…
Targeting a specific muscle group does not work!
You must be wondering why.
“But, Katia, all my friends are only training their glutes and now these bad boys are popping like crazy.”
Of course. But take a minute and ask yourself. Wouldn’t these results be even better if they strengthened the surrounding muscle groups as well? If they had placed more emphasis on their lower back muscles, abs and biceps femoris they would have achieved two very significant things:
- They would make their glutes look way more impressive. Having the surrounding muscle groups more defined helps the gluteal muscles stand out as well.
- They would build stronger and more hypertrophic glutes. It sounds strange, right? How on earth can training other muscle groups help build up strength in the glutes? Rewind back to what we talked about in regards to the body being a kinetic chain. If we train muscles selectively, we will quickly hit this so-called “wall” in our training – which basically means we will start seeing zero to minimal progress.
Back to our example. At some point the inability of the hamstrings and lower back muscles to support our glutes would catch up with us as we keep adding more and more weight. This can at best lead to hitting a “wall” and at worst to getting injured.
So how can we have the best all-around results?
With an all-around training plan of course. A complete workout routine for the general population with no injury history includes all the muscle groups in our bodies without overemphasizing some of them. Obviously, targeted workout programs for athletes who have to prepare for their respective sports, for trainees with very specific goals or for those with an apparent weakness somewhere in the kinetic chain are exceptions to this rule. In those cases the workout plan needs to be (guess what?) case-specific in order to eradicate all weaknesses.
Could you imagine if someone with injury and/or instability in one of their shoulders attempted barbell presses? What if someone with a ruptured intervertebral disc attempted squats or deadlifts? Obviously, the workout plan needs to be adapted to the past, present and future of each athlete.
One more thing: change your routine before it becomes a routine
When our minds get bored, our bodies get bored too. This is always true! When you are on your way to the gym and know you are about to perform the same exercise you were doing three months ago, how much can you really be fired up about your workout? You will be psychologically and physically spent (See: Boredom) that can be overcome only when you make changes to your training routine.
Furthermore, our muscles quickly adjust tο all training stimuli. So, it is very important to shock them every once in a while(4-6 weeks) with enough differences both in the number of sets and the type of exercises we perform. This cycle will be a new challenge for our body out of which we will emerge better, stronger and one step closer to our fitness goals!
You should always remember that only one thing must remain unchanged: training all muscle groups. Outside of that all training variables are up to you and your coach!
How do you try to keep your training fresh and exciting? Let us know in the comments below!
That’s all for now!
(Now this article is officially over!)