Often when working out we tend to focus on what we see in the mirror — the anterior muscles of our body such as our chest, biceps, abs and quads, while we forget about those muscles that are, literally, behind us.
So here are some great tips and exercises that will help strengthen your anterior muscles from head to toe and get your booty tight and plump for the summer season.
Lets start at the shoulders. When engaged properly, the shoulders will automatically pull back and down not only creating a leaner and more aligned posture, but they will open up your chest and make it look bigger as well. Therefore it’s important to activate the trapezius, deltoids and rhomboid muscles to keep from getting rounded shoulder syndrome (reaching forward as you type at your work desk eight hours a day) or from getting a rotator cuff injury.
Exercises that will help strengthen these muscles include bent over straight armed dumbbell kick backs. To do one, place the upper half of your body parallel to the floor, while putting your arms at your sides and extending them toward the sky while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Be sure not to bend your arms as that will result in engaging your triceps instead.
Moving down the body, we land on the back whose largest muscle group is the latissimus dorsi or lats for short. A great exercise to engage and activate the lats is the traditional cable lat pull down machine. The key to using it is by sitting into it and pulling down at a slight angle and using a close inside and a wide outside grip. By changing the grip, you will hit different areas of the lat. In addition to the lat muscle, a muscle we tend to not to think much about is the erector spinae muscles, which run along either side of your spine. When worked, they help pull in your core and make your abs look tighter. A simple exercise to work the erector spinae is a called a superman, where you lay face down on a mat and extend both arms and legs toward the sky simultaneously.
Finally, we land at the booty. While we sit it for six to eight hours a day, we tend not to work our glutes. Most importantly, most of us don’t know or understand that our butt is comprised of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius. In general, most people tend to focus on working that gluteus maximus by doing dumbbell or barbell front or back squats. While squats are effective to strength and grow the gluteus maximus, they can be more effective if you trying doing a wider stance so you get a deeper squat to elongate the muscle to work harder for you.
Two other exercises do a great job of working the gluteus minimus and medius. To work the gluteus minimus, doing any sort of abduction exercises will help. I personally like lying leg kicks on a mat where you lie to the side and kick one leg, fully extended with no bend, toward the sky.
And finally, one-legged isolated bridge thrusts are great for tightening up the gluteus medius. Lying on a mat and crossing one leg over the other and squeezing the glute toward the ceiling achieves this exercise.