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December 12, 2007

Top 10 Muscles Women Ignore

By Dana Laurier

When it comes to strength training, it’s very important to create a physical symmetry, not only for aesthetic reasons, but for joint strength as well.

For example, if you train your quadriceps twice a week, but only train your hamstrings once every two weeks, the front of your leg will become stronger than the back and you may end up with knee problems.

But besides symmetry, you want to develop equal strength throughout your entire body and in order to do so, you need to train all parts of your body. And that includes the ones you think don’t need any work.

That said, here are the top 10 muscles women ignore when it comes to resistance training.

Muscles women ignore #10
You know that it’s important to work your calves, but it’s just as important to work the antagonist muscle, which is the tibialis (located where your shin is).

In order to avoid rupturing or tendonitis, it’s vital that you strengthen this muscle. At first, the slight soreness you may develop when exercising this body part may not be desirable, but your body will adjust quickly. Keep in mind that you need not apply heavy weight when performing these exercises.

It’s important that you feel the burn when performing these exercises; that means you’re doing it right. Perform them along with your calf exercises.

Exercises for tibialis:
-Walk on your heels holding dumbbells (keep toes off the ground)
-Eccentric knee squat

Muscles women ignore #9

If you ever perform bicep curls or deadlifts and feel a burn in your forearms, it’s because they’re too weak to handle the weight you’re lifting. That said, the forearms are an important part of any workout regime and it’s important that you pay attention to this part of your body.

Aim for exercising this body part once a week and perform at least two different exercises.

Exercises for forearms:
-Reverse curl
-Barbell wrist curl
-Reverse barbell wrist curl

Muscles women ignore #8
Your objective is not to build huge traps (not that you can anyway) but to exercise them so that you develop symmetry and perfect your stabilizer muscles.

Typically, when you work out your traps, your synergist muscles include your shoulders, your neck and your upper back.

Exercises for trapezoid:
-Cable shrug
-Dumbbell shrug
-Smith machine shrug
-Calf machine shoulder shrug

Muscles women ignore #7
Hip flexors
The hip flexors consist of the psoas major and minor, and the iliacus muscles. Contrary to what you would do to develop your other muscles, your hip flexors need to be stretched adequately rather than strengthened via weighted exercises.

In order to stretch them, I suggest you take classes that increase overall flexibility such as yoga.

Exercises for hip flexors:
-Lever hip flexion
-Cable lying leg raise
-Cable standing single leg raise

Muscles women ignore #6
One of the easiest exercises to perform anywhere and at any time, the PC or Pubococcygeus muscle is one of the most neglected by women. A strong PC muscle ensures a tighter vagina, increased sensitivity, ensures bladder control, and perhaps even aids with female ejaculation.

Although no one can see this muscle, any man you sleep with will freak out if you can squeeze his penis nice and tight with your vagina. So exercises this muscle as frequently as you can.

Exercises for PC muscle:
-Kegel exercise

Muscles women ignore #5

If you have big calves to begin with, it’s possible that there is fat covering the muscle underneath. By exercising the area, you can develop lean, defined calves and get the legs you’ve always dreamed of.

You don’t need to dedicate an entire workout to your calves, but on your legs day, incorporate a couple of exercises into your training schedule. There are plenty of machines at the gym designed to target your calves.

Exercises for calves:
-Seated calf raise
-Standing calf raise
-Leg press machine calf raise
-Standing dumbbell calf raise

Muscles women ignore #4
Many women tell me that they don’t want to train their chest for fear of losing their breasts and developing man pecs. In reality, the chances of that happening are close to nil.

Again, you need not dedicate an entire day to working out your pecs, but on your back workout day, devote a few sets to your front as well. The best exercise for the chest (and most difficult to perfect) is the bench press, but there are other options.

Exercises for chest:
-Hammer machine press
-Wide arm push up
-Cable crossover
-Pec deck machine

Muscles women ignore #3
Lower back
A woman’s lower back is very prone to injury so it’s very important that you do not neglect this area of your body when strength training. Keeping this part of your body strong will help you develop a stronger core and avoid potential back injury in the future.

You can always take power yoga or Pilates classes to strengthen your core and your back, and you can perform a few strength-training exercises as well.

Exercises for lower back:
-Pelvic lift
-Cat & camel
-Back extension (may be done on the floor or a machine)
-Reverse back extensions on Swiss ball

Muscles women ignore #2

You work out your hamstrings and your quadriceps, but do you work out your adductors? The adductor muscles are located on the inside of your thighs and if you don’t exercise them, they will remain loose.

If you have never worked them out before, I suggest you start out with a light weight and do no more than a couple of exercises, eventually working your way to three or more exercises and with heavier weights.

Exercises for adductors:
-Cable hip adduction
-Swiss ball adductor squeeze
-Seated adductor machine

Muscles women ignore #1
As you’ve probably surmised, the abductors are found on the outside of the legs near the hips. And although you cannot spot reduce any area of your body, you can definitely tighten the muscles.

And if you couple that with a clean diet, you will definitely see positive results in your thighs within weeks.

Exercises for abductors:
-Cable hip abduction
-Seated hip abduction
-Standing hip abduction machine
-Standing band abduction
-Lying pulse abduction

Muscle women ignore no more

If you can do some exercises for all parts of your body, you will definitely feel more balanced and have more control over your body and equilibrium.

So keep on exercising the muscles that most women tend to avoid and you will be a step above the rest.

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