Strengthening these overlooked muscles can help you stay healthy

Editor’s note: Speak with your doctor before starting any new workout regimen. Immediately stop if you feel any discomfort.


The human body has more than 600 muscles, and it is difficult to strengthen every single one of them. However, there are several whose strength you can increase, and doing so is essential to leading an active, healthy life.

According to studies, having strong muscles helps prevent diabetes, improves cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and mental health, and lowers mortality. The health of elderly individuals, whose muscles deteriorate with age, depends on them as well.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity recommendations for Americans, people should engage in muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups on two or more days per week. (This is in addition to engaging in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week.)

Unfortunately, the muscle-strengthening recommendations set out by the federal government are not being met by more than 80% of individuals. Additionally, those who strength train often target the same well-known muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and triceps.

Even while that may be a fantastic place to start, there are a few often ignored muscles that, if developed, might help avoid certain common aches and pains. Here are five of them together with the suggested exercises for workouts.

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The gluteal muscles help with daily tasks and constitute the buttock region. Amy Koch, physical therapy clinic manager at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska, stated, “Gluteal muscles assist offer us adequate support and stability with walking, stair-climbing, and transitioning from sitting to standing.

Hold a Strong glutes, which help with pelvic, hip, and trunk motions, may also lessen back discomfort, according to Koch.

These muscles may help reduce knee discomfort by improving pelvic stability since an unstable pelvis can put greater load on the knee. On the other hand, weak glutes may cause degenerative disc degeneration and persistent lower back discomfort.

Glute bridge: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your feet hip-width apart. Lifting your back into the air, press your heels into the ground. Squeeze your butt cheeks for two seconds, hold, and then gradually lower yourself back down.

The obliques, which are muscles on your side or waist that join to your spine, are a part of your core. They contribute to excellent spinal alignment and stability and help you bend and turn your body from side to side. If you neglect your obliques, you might have back and hip problems.

The obliques, or core muscles on your side or waist, are worked with the bird dog crunch.
The obliques are crucial because they act as your body’s complete stabilizer, according to Cat Kom, a certified personal trainer and the owner of Studio SWEAT and Studio SWEAT onDemand in San Diego. “Most people think about working on their six-pack, but the obliques are really important, too,” she said.

Crunch the bird dog while on all fours. While extending your left leg and right arm, maintain your abs firm. Then go back on your hands and knees.

A strong grasp makes it simpler to lift and move objects, as well as to carry out various daily tasks like gripping a racquet or opening jars. Your grip might deteriorate over time if your typical tasks do not include a lot of lifting and hauling. Injuries to the neck, shoulder, wrist, or hands might also have a detrimental impact on it, according to Zach Webster, a physical therapist at Columbus’s Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

You may be able to carry less weight and hold it for shorter periods of time if your grip strength is weak. Even your fine motor abilities may be impacted.

People commonly complain that they have problems putting on a dress shirt or bra or that they lose objects more often as a result of their inability to maintain their grasp, according to Webster’s patients. Fortunately, you may improve your grip significantly by just carrying something heavy as you walk.

Farmer’s carry: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand tall and take at least 10 steps in a straight line while letting your hands hang down at your sides.

The rotator cuff, which is made up of the four muscles around the shoulder joint, aids in the powering of arm and shoulder motions. The shoulder is the body’s most movable joint, hence abuse or overuse may lead to injury. Baseball and tennis players, as well as anyone with occupations that require repeated overhead movements, like construction workers, are at risk for rotator cuff injury.

standing row: Take a 3-foot looped elastic band and fasten it to a doorknob or other sturdy item. Your elbow should be bent and at your side while you hold the band. Reverse the motion by slowly pulling your elbow back while maintaining your arm by your side.

Your delts, also known as the posterior deltoids, are tucked beneath the back of your shoulders and support your upright posture. Additionally, they are located right across from your chest’s pectoralis muscles. According to Kom, a lot of individuals focus on their pecs while neglecting their posterior delts, which may result in a muscle imbalance, injury, and a stooped posture.

The deltoid muscles are strengthened via a dumbbell workout.
The anterior delts and pecs at the front of the body are shortened as a result of the amount of time we spend driving, using computers, and doing other tasks while slumped over, according to Kom. Therefore, it’s crucial to lengthen them, and strengthening the posterior delts and trapezoids is a fantastic approach to achieve so.

Sit down and lean forward while holding a dumbbell in each hand for the seated dumbbell rear fly. Keep moving forward while raising your arms to shoulder height and lowering them back down gradually.

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