Chest day isn’t just for men on Mondays anymore, just like cardio isn’t just a “women’s routine.” This concept applies to all muscle groups and all exercises. And while it’s no surprise that weight training is a game-changer for the female physique, there are common overlooked muscle groups that often get overlooked.
Chances are that if you neglect to train a specific muscle group, you may suffer from muscle imbalances, weaknesses, or injuries. That said, it’s time to give some much-needed attention to muscles that haven’t seen a dumbbell in a while. Let’s lift!
Why women put their chest, back and shoulders on the backburner
It’s no surprise that the chest, back, and shoulders are the most common muscle groups under-trained by women in the gym. Spot a guy doing push-ups and pull-ups and no one bats an eyelid, but watch the jaws drop when a woman does unassisted pull-ups or knocks out a few laps of the bench press. Why is that? A veteran personal trainer believes that social media plays a role in which muscle groups women focus on the most.
“There’s a lot of focus on women, in the media, social media especially, about working your core, strengthening your lower body, and making sure you get in your cardio,” says Alyssa Pannozzicertified personal trainer and instructor at Rev’d Indoor Cycling In Boston. Get the message across that some exercises are more for female audiences. Sure, a strong lower body and stable core are goals, but neglecting to train your entire body is a recipe for disaster for areas of weakness and imbalances.
Beyond the influence of the media, the fear of magnifying certain areas also comes into play. Take the shoulders for example. “Women often tend to overlook strength training for their shoulders because they feel like building strong shoulders will produce a fuller look; that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Pannozzi. While every body type is completely different and how you train affects your muscle growth, women just don’t have the hormones and muscle fibers to add the manly mass they fear.
The Importance of a Balanced Physique: Leave No Muscles Behind
A well-rounded workout routine equals a well-rounded physique. And that comes with a host of 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 just as important as strength training,” says Pannozzi. There must be a constant balance in your exercise regimen. A routine that leaves no muscle behind is the best way to strengthen major and minor muscle groups, ligaments, and bones while having the ability to build the physique you desire. It’s a win-win for the weightlifter.
Strengthen those overlooked muscle groups
When integrating a new fitness routine, always start slow and light. Never miss a warm-up and give your newly trained muscles proper rest days.
Pannozzi’s biggest advice when it comes to working out as a whole is to pick 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 useful tip when starting a new workout routine for muscles that may need a little TLC.