Anatomy 101: What Do Workouts Do For You?
Our muscles are incredible mechanisms which carry us through each + every day ++ through every workout. We put them through so much work, but do we actually know which muscles we’re working? Below is a compilation of info designed to give you a better *inside look* at the muscles you’re using + strengthening through different exercises.
#1] Triceps [Triceps Brachii]
- Function– main extensor of the forearm
- Exercises– tricep dips, tricep kickbacks, overhead presses, push-ups, bench presses, chest presses
#2] Biceps + Forearm Muscles [Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, + Brachioradialis]
- Function– enable forearm to turn + flex
- Exercises– bicep curls, hammer curls, upright rows, cable rows, lat pulldowns, chin-ups, single arm rows
Our arm muscles provide us the ability to do many day-to-day tasks + strengthening them helps us do these tasks with greater ease. Additionally, building muscle now can benefit our future selves. Aging comes with the loss of muscle mass, but strengthening our muscles when we’re young can help preserve some of this mass, making daily tasks easier for our future selves. So if you’re dreading arm day, know your 40-year-old self will thank you for it later ; ).
SHOULDERS + BACK
#1] Shoulders [Anterior, Medial, + Posterior Deltoids]
- Function– flex, rotate, extend, + move arm
- Exercises– single arm rows, chin-ups, upright rows, overhead presses, lateral raises
#2] Traps [Trapezius]
- Function– elevates, draws back, + rotates scapula [your shoulder blade!]
- Exercises– upright rows, overhead presses, lateral raises, lat pulldowns, single arm rows, chin-ups, deadlift
We engage our back + shoulder muscles numerous times throughout the day as these muscles provide us support during weight-bearing activities. Strengthening them can aid in preventing injuries, especially during physical activities such as playing sports or exercising. Strong back muscles also provide stability + strong shoulder muscles ease arm movements.
#1] Rear Abdominal Muscle [Quadratus Lumborum]
- Function– holds 12th rib firm during respiration + flexes torso laterally [side to side]
- Exercises– booty boosts, side planks, deadlifts
#2] Obliques [Obliquus Externus + Internus]
- Function– provide support to the abdominal wall, aid forced exhalation, + abduct [move away from the middle of your body] + rotate torso
- Exercises– crunches, side planks, planks, deadlifts
Our core muscles provide many benefits to our bodies like stability, balance, + protection of our spine. We engage them in several activities throughout the day such as lifting a package or sitting in class. Strong core muscles can improve our posture + may reduce our likelihood of back pain.
LEGS + HIPS
#1] Glutes [Gluteus Maximus]
- Function– primary extensor of hip joint
- Exercises– booty boosts, barbell squats, squats, lunges, supermans, deadlifts
#3] Hamstrings [Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus + Bicep Femoris]
#4] Quadriceps [Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis + Rectus Femoris]
Our legs carry us through each + every day, providing us with support ++ balance. Our knees actually bear most of our body weight + enable us to do activities we love [like running!]. Keeping our leg muscles strong can help us slow the effects aging has on our muscles + help prevent injuries to our knees + hips.
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For illustrations + more info about each muscle click here ++ if you want to learn more about which exercises use what muscles, check out Pat Manocchia’s book “Anatomy of Exercise.”
We hope this provided you with a better understanding of the impact your workouts have on your muscles + the impact your muscles have on you!