Work Your Weak Muscles For Massive Strength Gains

Work Your Weak Muscles

Walk into your local gym and you will see guys queuing up for the bench press, waiting for the lat pulldown, and (increasingly) waiting for the squat rack to become available.

But how often do you see guys waiting to do some reverse flys, or face pulls? What about exercises that target the Gluteus Medius? Or lower back exercises?

Sure there are people who do them, but they are definitely the minority.

In this article we will be looking at some common weak muscles, and discussing some exercises that you can perform to strengthen them.

We’ll also talk about how strengthening these weak muscles can improve your overall strength.

Weak Muscle #1. Rear Deltoids

Where is this muscle?

The rear deltoids are situated at the back of your shoulders, they are part of the deltoid muscle.

Technically, the rear deltoid is just part of the overall deltoid muscle. This muscle is split into three different parts, the rear delts (also known as posterior), the front delts (also known as anterior delts), and the side delts (also known as the lateral delts).

How to strengthen them?

One of the best exercises for strengthening the rear delts is the face pull.

Stand in front of a cable machine that has a rope attachment placed on the highest setting (ideally at head height). Grab a handle in each hand (using an overhand grip) and walk backwards slightly until there is some tension on the cable.

Flare your elbows out and pull the handles towards your ears, keep your elbows nice and high as you do this.

Stop when you either feel a strain across the back of your shoulders or alternatively when the centre of the rope attachment is almost touching your face. Slowly return the handles to their original position.

How will this make you stronger?

As odd as it might sound, stronger rear delts can actually help improve your bench press.

These muscles work as an antagonist when you perform a bench press, and help to control the movement.

They also help you improve your posture which can end up helping hundreds of exercises.

Face pulls are really good at treating posture issues such as Upper-Cross syndrome.

Weak Muscle #2. Hamstrings

Where is this muscle?

The hamstrings are located at the back of the upper thighs. The hamstrings are made up of three muscles: semimembranosus, semitendinosis, and biceps femoris.

They work in conjunction with the quadriceps (front of the upper thigh) and help to extend the hip.

You need them for walking, running, jumping, climbing, and any other movement that requires the legs.

How to strengthen them?

Isolation exercises for the hamstrings are a great idea here, Romanian deadlifts, Nordic curls, seated/lying hamstring curls.

They will strengthen the hamstrings, improve their range of motion, and improve their flexibility.

How will this make you stronger?

An imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstrings is one of the biggest causes of injury in running, most sports, and even in the gym.

Strong hamstrings can help you to train better, to have better posture throughout, and they will help you in exercises such as the barbell squat and the deadlift.

Weak Muscle #3. Upper Traps

Where is this muscle?

Situated from the base of the skull running down to the upper back, the upper traps are part of the trapezius muscles.

When you shrug your shoulders you are using your upper traps to perform that movement. They are important for upper body stability and posture.

How to strengthen them?

Face pulls are great exercises, as are dumbbell upright rows (performed so that your elbows never pass your shoulders), and barbell or dumbbell shrugs.

You can also strengthen them by using good posture to perform the deadlift, bent over row, t-bar row, or single arm dumbbell row.

How will it make you stronger?

Strengthening your upper traps will help you to perform barbell squats and deadlifts with better posture and greater stability (particularly the barbell squat as the traps hold the bar in place).

The upper traps can also help to stabilise your back and chest for exercises such as pull ups, bench press, or shoulder presses.

Weak Muscle #4. Erector Spinae

Where is this muscle?

The erector spinae are a combination of muscles and tendons that are situated in the lower back around the spine.

They are relatively unknown to the general public, but they are incredibly important, and are required for a number of movements and exercises.

How to strengthen them?

The erector spinae are responsible for any movement that straightens or rotates the back. Any exercise that involves leaning over (while maintaining a straight back) relies heavily on the erector spinae.

That means that there are a lot of exercises that can benefit from stronger erector spinae, but equally there are a lot of exercises that can strengthen them.

Exercises that are designed to directly strengthen the erector spinae (usually alongside the hamstrings) are good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, regular deadlifts, and hyperextensions.

How will it make you stronger?

As we mentioned before, strengthening the erector spinae will allow you to have better posture, and to perform many exercises better.

The increased flexibility and stability will help improve exercises such as the deadlift, barbell squat, Romanian deadlift, and glute bridges. These all directly improve lower body and mid body strength.

Weak Muscle #5. Abdominals

Where is this muscle?

The abdominal muscles are situated around the lower part of your torso, above your hips and below your ribs (you know, the six pack!).

They are designed to help with breathing, protect your organs, and help you keep a good posture.

Weak abdominals can make it very difficult to perform any exercise with good form, and will also prevent you from breathing correctly (necessary for lifting heavy weights).

How to strengthen them?

You can strengthen them both directly and indirectly.

Exercises such as crunches, ab rollouts, cable crunches, and planks are great ways to strengthen your abs.

Other exercises such as deadlifts work them indirectly, but are no less effective.

A good program should combine direct and indirect abdominal strengthening exercises.

How will it make you stronger?

By strengthening your abs you are able to perform a breathing technique known as a “block”.

This is where you breathe in, hold it, and use the generated pressure to lift weights safely.

A strong abdominal wall is necessary for that. Abs can also help to improve pushing and pulling exercises by helping you maintain posture, stay stable, and generate power.

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