Chest day isn't just for men on Monday anymore, just like cardio isn't just a "women's routine." This concept applies to all muscle groups and exercises. And while it's no surprise that strength training is a game-changer for the female body, there are commonly neglected muscle groups that often get left behind.
If you fail to train a specific muscle group, chances are you will end up suffering from muscular imbalances, weakness or injury. With that said, it's time to give those muscles that haven't seen a barbell some much-needed attention. Let's take off!
Why women put their chest, back and shoulders backwards
It's no surprise that the chest, back, and shoulders are among the most commonly undertrained muscle groups in female gym goers. Watch a guy do push-ups and chin-ups and no one bats an eyelid, but watch your jaw drop when a female presenter performs unaided pull-ups or hits a few rounds of bench presses. Why is that? A seasoned personal trainer finds that social media is targeting the muscle groups women focus on the most.
"In the media, especially social media, there's a huge focus on women to work your core, strengthen your lower body, and make sure you're getting into your cardio," says Alyssa Pannozzi, certified personal trainer and instructor at Rev 'd Indoor Cycling in Boston. Spreading the message that certain exercises are more for the female crowd. Sure, a strong lower body and core are goals, but neglecting to train your entire body is a disastrous recipe for weakness and imbalance.
Beyond the influence of the media, there is also the fear of inflating certain areas. Take the shoulders for example. “Women often tend to neglect strengthening their shoulders because they feel that building strong shoulders leads to a bulkier look; that couldn't be further from the truth,” says Pannozzi. Although every body type is vastly different and how you exercise affects the way your muscles grow, women just don't have the hormones and muscle fibers to add the manly bulk they fear.
The importance of a well-rounded body: Don't leave muscles behind
A well-rounded workout routine equates to a well-rounded physique. And with that comes many benefits, both in terms of aesthetic symmetry and muscle and joint health. "Upper body training is just as important as lower body training, and cardio is as important as strength training," says Pannozzi. There needs to be a consistent balance in your exercise program. A routine that leaves no muscle behind is the best way to strengthen muscle groups, large and small, ligaments and bones while having the ability to build the physique you desire. It's a win-win situation for the weightlifter.
Strengthen these neglected muscle groups
When building a new fitness routine, always start slowly and lightly. Don't miss a warm-up and give your newly trained muscles adequate rest days.
Pannozzi's biggest advice when it comes to training as a whole is to choose the exercises that work for you and your schedule. "If you don't like what you're doing, you're less likely to do it," she says. This is a helpful tip when starting a new training routine for muscles that may need some TLC.