Know this: to put together a truly great physique – both esthetically and biomechanically – you need to bring the smaller and hidden muscles up to scratch too. It is the complete package that is striking to the eye. Even if those eyes are wandering over the usual suspects, they are subconsciously admiring the bigger picture.
Everything in nature requires balance for optimum performance and being balanced can add serious poundage to your big lifts. Conversely, being out of balance can see you sidelined with an injury.
Read on to learn more out about the three hidden and forgotten muscles you should be training in order to give your physique a real boost.
Okay, so this muscle is less hidden than it is forgotten and ignored. The serratus anterior, or simply the serratus, in Latin means to saw and originates over the first eight ribs at the front of the rib cage spanning underneath the pecs before inserting at the shoulder blades. It is the impressive looking, finger-like array of muscle that stretches from your pecs down toward your abs when you hit a double overhead or front double biceps pose (see diagram below).
As impressive as it looks, however, very few people actually appreciate the importance of the serratus muscles. These muscles are vitally important to shoulder function, and it is the underdevelopment of the serratus that is a major cause of shoulder injuries. It is true that they receive a good workout when training the chest but, they can also benefit from some concentrated work of their own. To effectively train a muscle group like the serratus – as with all of the three muscle groups mentioned in this article – requires a good, solid mind-muscle connection.
There are multiple ways to hit this beauty of a muscle. Be warned because afterward you won’t be wanting anyone to poke you in the ribs for a day or two! Chest day is probably the best day to throw these exercises into the mix. If you are experiencing muscle soreness, there isn’t enough I can say about Sheer Strength Creatine Monohydrate, which you should definitely look into. Proven to reduce muscle soreness and reduce downtime; Sheer Strength Creatine doesn’t have any iffy ingredients – which means results you can rely on.
The first method of hitting the serratus is an exercise that you probably already have included in your regimen.
Dip shrugs, also called serratus shrugs or reverse shrugs, are very simple to perform and perfectly compliment the natural action of the serratus muscles.
At a cable station, equip a stirrup type handle and set the height to around shoulder level.
This muscle has received some press over the last few decades after the Austrian Oak himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, brought it to the attention of the bodybuilding world. Most people assume the upper arm is simply made up of the biceps and triceps.
Wrong. Just beneath the biceps, in the lower portion of the upper arm, lies the brachialis muscle (see diagram below). Like the biceps, the brachialis serves to flex the elbow joint but, unlike the biceps, it plays no part in the rotation of the forearm. This muscle is very easy to train, and there’s a very good chance you give it some work on your arm day.
If you emphasize good lifting with it, the brachialis can add another dimension to your guns.
There are a number of great exercises that target the brachialis muscles, and they are all based around the curl.
Hammer curls have become more popular in the last decade. It is not uncommon to see people ending their arm workouts with Hammer Curls.
To perform Zottman curls,
Sit at a Preacher Curl station as if you were performing normal Preachers.
Just look at the picture of Arnie below to see what a difference well-developed brachialis muscles can make to your arms. And, never forget about the extra boost to your results that supplements like Sheer Strength Testosterone and Sheer Strength BCAAs provide. Supplementing properly is CRITICAL to maximizing your workouts so you can hit your goals faster and in less time.
The transversus abdominis (TA) is a deep, hidden abdominal muscle lying beneath the obliques and rectus abdominis (six pack) muscles (see diagram below). This muscle gets worked best when performing powerful lifts that activate the core such as squats and deadlifts but, isolating it has many benefits.
A strong TA can seriously bolster your entire core and aid in efficient power transfer. Not sold? What that means is bigger deadlifts and squats as well as a decreased risk of lower back injuries.
A well toned TA will also pull your tummy in giving you a slimmer waistline and enhance that sought after V shape. The TA also serves to enhance muscle definition around the entire abdominal region.
Right, so now that you’re sold, let’s get on with training it.
The Plank is an age-old exercise that is great for the entire core area. The Plank especially activates those deep muscles, such as the TA, which other ab exercises can gloss over.
The Torso Lift is similar to a crunch.
The Bridge has the same starting position as the Torso Lift.
The Stomach Vacuum is the best exercise for strengthening the TA and tightening your waistline.
Start working these three hidden and forgotten muscles today and watch your physique transform dramatically. Not only will your waistline shrink, but your pecs will tie nicely into your abs, and your arms will gain a new dimension. Your lifting will also improve as you strengthen your shoulder girdle as well as your entire core area. Check out the full range of products to help you attain your goals from Sheer Strength.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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