6 major muscle groups you need to train to keep fit
There is no question that strength is beauty. Not only will resistance training make you look toned, strong and beautiful, it is the key in the fight against aging. This is because adults lose muscle every decade of their life, which underlies all the perils of aging, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, unwanted weight gain and an increased susceptibility to illness and fall related injuries. Weight training can slow or even reverse this process.
A muscle group is exactly what it sounds like: a group of muscles situated close together on your body that perform similar movements. You want to train all six major muscle groups for optimum health and strength and to keep your body symmetrical. Focusing on the 6 major muscle groups listed below will get you on track to your best body. You can complete this full body workout using half a dozen weight machines at the gym and this will provide you with efficient and effective results. 12 -15 repetitions x 3 sets for each machine.
Chest – Your chest is involved in every type of push movement that you do, like pushing a door open. Working your chest will strengthen your pectoral muscles, give your breasts a more lifted appearance and is also extremely important for your posture. The chest press machine is essential and probably the most commonly used machine for upper body strengthening. It also engages the arms and shoulders.
Back – Strong backs not only look good and are important for posture but are also needed for all pulling, lifting and carrying actions. Working both lower and upper back muscles will stabilise and protect the spine. A strong back therefore is required to perform daily tasks and is protective against injury. The lat pull down is the machine to use here. After the chest press it is one of the most recognised in the gym. It targets many muscles of the back, but most importantly the latissimus dorsi which is the largest back muscle. Like the chest machine it also incorporates the arms and shoulders. The second machine for your back is the seated cable row machine. It works all the muscles across your middle back and in addition uses the triceps and biceps as stabilisers.
Arms – Strong toned arms look amazing. Beyond aesthetics however, regular arm exercises are closely linked to longevity as they strengthen your heart, improve circulation and can generally reduce the risk of heart disease. The assisted pull up (or chin up) machine is a fabulous way to work your arms and you can target different areas with different grips. A neutral (palms facing each other) and narrow grip is a highly effective way to work biceps and triceps especially for women who are still building upper body strength.
Shoulders – The shoulders – or deltoids -are among the most important we use in daily life. Whether we are pushing, pulling or lifting things over our head, they always come in to play. Great shoulders also make us look strong and confident. The shoulder press machine improves shoulder size, strength, stability and mobility. It also extends these benefits to the tricep muscles in the arms.
Legs – Leg exercises are excellent because not only do they make our legs look toned and beautiful they improve your overall body fitness and flexibility. Leg workouts engage the major muscle groups of the body which support healthy movement patterns daily life. The leg press machine is so popular, you practically need a reservation to get a few sets in. It is a powerful compound lower body exercise that works your quads glutes and hamstrings.
Calves – Keeping the calves strong is extremely important because your calves propel you forward and absorb load with every step. You can use the Leg press machine to strengthen your calves by placing your toes and the balls of your feet on the lower part of the platform.
Becoming strong and toned isn’t nearly as complicated and difficult as you might think. One of the biggest myths about building muscle and strength is that you have to spend long hard hours in the gym. This is just not the case, you simply need to put your 6 major muscle groups under pressure with some heavy weights once to twice a week. This type of training will increase your muscle mass, literally transform your body and set you on the path to a healthier, stronger, more youthful life.
Lyndal Linkin, author of To Age or Not to Age, is a 56-year-old anti-aging expert who’s spent her lifetime learning about anti-aging solutions. A successful entrepreneur, corporate leader and mother, she uses her years of research and personal experience to explain the most effective methods so you can look and feel younger. Find out more at www.lyndallinkin.com.au or Instagram: @lyndallinkin