So many of us are persistent in our exercise regimen. And, by persistent, we don’t necessarily mean dedicated. Rather, we become so stuck in a routine that we tend to work the same muscles or practice the same exercise style without much variation, and we wonder why we continue hitting plateaus and motivation ruts (read 10 Reasons Your Body Isn’t Changing). Like many other things, when we are too focused on one area of our life, other areas tend to fall apart. Well, the same is true with our muscles. When we consistently work one set of muscles over and over again, our other muscles may become weak due to being under worked.
Huffington Post collected six weakest links for six exercises: running, strength training, vinyasa yoga, cycling, bikram yoga and swimming. If you practice any of these styles, read on to see what muscles you’re avoiding and how you can change up your routine to give those abandoned muscles some much needed love.
Runners’ Weakest Link: Gluteus Medius. “Unless you’re running uphill all the time, running builds endurance but not strength,” says mobility doc Vonda Wright, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who recommended the exercises for this story. And the subsequent weak butt you can develop will cause your pelvis to tilt forward, strain your hip flexors, and tighten your IT bands.
Strength Rx: Monster walks in a square. Loop a resistance band around your ankles. Keeping chest up and knees behind toes, lower to a wide half-squat. Without letting the band go slack, walk forward 20 steps, to the left 20 steps, back 20 steps, and to the right 20 steps, forming a box.
Dosage: Three times a week.
Strength Trainers And CrossFitters’ Weakest Link: Thoracic Spine. “People who strength train and do CrossFit tend to gain muscle really quickly,” says Beret Kirkeby, an orthopedic massage therapist and owner of Body Mechanics NYC. The downside is that you’re also building up functional scar tissue and losing flexibility, particularly in your mid-back or thoracic spine. Often your neck and lower back will try to pick up the slack, which can increase your risk of injuring your lower back, Kirkeby adds.
Strength Rx: Lunge matrix. Lunge forward to 12 o’clock with your right leg while reaching arms straight overhead. Pause, then push back up to starting position, keeping the weight in your heels. Lunge forward again, simultaneously reaching arms to the left while rotating slightly. Pause, then push back up to start. Lunge to 12 o’clock once more, simultaneously reaching arms to the right while rotating slightly. Pause, then push back up to start. Repeat this same arm sequence twice more lunging right to 3 o’clock and then back to 6 o’clock. Repeat the series with your left leg. (You’ll do a total of 18 lunges.)
Dosage: Two to three times a week.
Vinyasa Yogis’ Weakest Link: Biceps Tendon. Dread chaturanga? It certainly doesn’t help that you may be doing it wrong. “When moving from plank to the lower version of the posture during a vinyasa flow, your arms must be aligned properly with your shoulders directly above the elbows and wrists, otherwise the specific anatomy of that joint causes friction on the tendons,” says Kirkeby, who’s also a yoga teacher. As you repeat those sun salutations, poor form can cause biceps tendonitis around the front of the shoulder, she warns.
Strength Rx: Narrow wall pushups. Stand facing a wall. Extend arms in front of you so wrists and elbows line up with shoulders. Lean forward slightly and place palms against the wall. Keeping elbows close to your body, bend arms until your nose nearly touches the wall. Push back out to start.
Dosage: 2 sets of 10 three times a week
Want to find out what other muscles are being ignored? Click here to be taken to the original story from Huffington Post.
For super effective total body exercises, click here!