When you walk into a gym, you always see guys doing the same things: Bench press, curls, sit-ups, to name a few. But what should you be working on?
Daily emphasis on the same exercises can result in imbalances. And that can lead to disproportional muscle development and injury. People love to train their beach muscles, but we owe it to ourselves to maintain balance. To help you bring your muscles back to equilibrium, here are a few exercises you should be doing regularly.
The Russian Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is one of the best overall exercises for your posterior. It develops your hamstrings, strengthens your lower back and builds tight, powerful glutes. The kettlebell swing requires you to drive your hips with power and engage your glutes, which can help counter a number of the negative effects of the tight hips we develop while sitting at desks all day. Plus, they make you look better in jeans.
Tip: Place emphasis on the hip drive for power and only swing the weight to eye level to keep the pressure off your shoulders. Squeeze your butt at the top of each swing.
It’s easy to develop the large muscles in your upper body, like the chest and lats. But did you know those muscles contribute to pulling your shoulders forward and throwing off your posture? It’s just the tiny muscles between your shoulder blades that hold your shoulders back. So you need to focus on strengthening them regularly. And that’s exactly the purpose of the reverse fly. The weight can be light and the move does not need to be explosive, but squeeze your shoulder blades when you do it and it will prove tremendously beneficial for your posture.
Tip: Focus on driving the weights both up and back, keeping the pressure between your shoulder blades and off the outside of your shoulders.
Mini-band Lateral Shuffles
Men often suffer from strong groins and weak exterior hips. The result is that, for many of us, our knees cave inward when we do exercises like squats. No piece of equipment does a better job at strengthening the sides of your hips than the mini-band. Moving laterally with the band around both ankles will force you to strengthen those little muscles that keep your knees in alignment during heavier exercises like squats.
Tip: With a slight knee bend, keep your feet facing forward the entire time to take the emphasis on your hips and off your quads.
Similar to the kettlebell swing, the deadlift is designed to improve hip drive and strengthen the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Learning how to do this move correctly is key, but it should be incorporated numerous times every week to maintain posterior strength. It’s also a huge testosterone booster.
Tip: Squeeze the shoulder blades and keep your eyes up to prevent your shoulders from rolling forward. Focus on hip drive and keep your weight on your heels.
The Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is a form of the front squat designed to improve not just quad and glute strength, but also to build core strength. You’ll strengthen your abs and lower back still building power and endurance in the legs. And if you grip a kettlebell from the horns, you can improve grip strength as well. After all, we’re focusing on training the most neglected muscles.
Tip: Push your hips back to squat low. Keep your weight in your heels, squeeze your core and emphasis finishing at the top with your hips over your feet.
Training your large muscles is easy. Anyone can do that. But building balance and stability in your musculature system, that’s the key to health and training longevity. Add these exercises into your routine regularly and you’ll quickly find significant improvements to your posture, physique and overall well-being, and you’ll be healthier for it.