The Basics Of Strength Training

Posted: 1st September 2010 by Darren in triceps training
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There is an endless array of strength training routines and exercise theories out there, most of it geared toward bodybuilders and advanced exercisers. If you’re a strength training beginner, it’s quite easy to become totally confused by all of the anatomical terms and gym jargon. Knowing the basics of any safe and effective strength training routine is the key to success. First, you should familiarize yourself with the names of the major muscle groups and the exercises that target them. Then we will answer some of the questions that most beginners have about setting up strength training routines. The Major Muscle Groups When selecting exercises for your workout routine, it’s important to choose at least one exercise for each major muscle group. This prevents muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. Let’s take a look at the major muscle groups and a few of the exercises that target them: Shoulders Deltoids Muscle – The cap of the shoulder. This muscle has three parts, anterior deltoid muscle (the front), medial deltoid muscle (the middle), and posterior deltoid muscle (the rear). Different exercise movements can be used to exercise the different muscle heads. The anterior deltoid muscle is exercised with push-ups, bench press, and the dumbbell press. Lateral raises target the medial deltoid muscle. Seated rows, bent rows and one arm dumbbell rows target the posterior deltoid muscle. Back Erector Spinae Muscle- Muscles that extend the back and aid in good posture. Workout routines that include the back extensions can be used to target them. These muscles also come into play during dumbbell squats and deadlifts. Latisimus Dorsi Muscle – Large muscles of the mid-back. When properly trained they give the back a nice V shape, making the waist appear smaller. Exercises include dumbbell pullovers, barbell pullovers, bent rows, parallel bar dips, and the lat pulldowns. Rhomboids Muscle – Muscles in the middle of the upper back between the shoulder blades. They can be strength trained by performing back lat pulldowns, bent rows, dumbbell shrugs, and other weight training exercises that bring the shoulder blades together. Trapezius Muscle – Upper portion of the back, sometimes referred to as traps. The upper trapezius is the muscle running from the back of the neck to the shoulder. Weight training exercises include upright rows, and barbell and dumbbell shrugs. Chest Pectoralis Major Muscle – Large fan shaped muscle that covers the front of the upper chest. Exercises for chest workouts include incline, decline, close-grip and dumbbell press; push-ups; and incline and regular dumbbell flys. Arms Biceps Muscle – The muscle located in the front of the upper arm. The best biceps exercise are biceps curls. You can strength train biceps with barbells, dumbbells, or weight training machines. Other pulling movements like chin-ups and upright rows can also be used in biceps workouts. Triceps Muscle – The back of the upper arm. Workout routines geared to exercise the triceps muscles include pushing movements like push-ups, dips, triceps extensions, triceps kick-backs, and pushdowns. The triceps also will be strength trained during the inclined, flat and declined bench press. Abdominals These muscles include the rectus abdominus muscle, a large flat muscle running the length of the abdomen, and the external obliques muscle, which run down the sides and front of the abdomen. Exercises such as standard crunches workout the rectus abdominus muscles. Reverse curls and crunches (where the hips are lifted instead of the head and shoulders) exercises the lower portion of this muscle. Crunches involving a rotation or twist work the external obliques muscles. The abdominal muscles can be targeted with workouts without weights such as the ones previously described. Buttocks Gluteals Muscle – This group of muscles (often referred to as glutes) includes the gluteus maximus muscle, which is the big muscle covering your butt. Common strength training exercises are the squat and the leg press. The glutes muscles also come into play during lunges, cable kick backs, and cable hip abductions exercises. Legs Quadriceps Muscle – This group of four muscles (referred to as quads) makes up the front of the thigh. Exercises used to develop them include squats, lunges, leg extensions, and leg presses exercises. Hamstrings Muscle – These muscles make up the back of the thigh. Weight training exercises include squats, lunges, leg presses, and leg curls. Hip Abductors Muscle and Adductors Muscle – These are the muscles of the inner and outer thigh. The abductors muscles are on the outside and move the leg away from the body. The adductors muscles are on the inside and pull the leg across the centerline of the body. These muscles can be strength training with a variety of cable adductions, cable hip abductions, floor hip extensions and floor hip abductions exercises. Calf Muscle – The calf muscles are on the back or the lower leg. They include the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. The gastrocnemius muscles is what gives the calf its strong rounded shape. The soleus is a flat muscle running under the gastrocnemius muscle. Standing calf raises give the gastrocnemius muscle a good workout, while seated barbell calf raises are good for strength training the soleus muscle. These muscles may be small, but they can handle a relatively large amount of weight during weight training routines.

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