Don’t Forget Your Backside: In-Shape’s Guide to the Complete Physique
Ever wonder why the muscles you want to strengthen or the bits you want to tighten are usually the same ones, for everyone? Guys usually want to beef up their chests, abs, and biceps. Ladies are all about shoulders, hips, abs and those thighs (ugh my thighs!)!
We spoke to Antioch fitness manager and competition body builder, Tobias Young for more insight into this dilemma. Tobias refers to these as our ‘mirror muscles.’ They’re the ones we see every day when we look at ourselves in the mirror.
But, (or should we say butt?) there is so much more to building a strong body than those muscles we see in the mirror, it’s just a lot harder to remember them when they aren’t staring us in the face.
Mr. Young says, “The most commonly neglected muscle groups are the ones that we don't notice when we look into the mirror. These are the back muscles, rear delts (shoulders), triceps, hamstrings, and glutes. A complete physique is based on overall symmetry with an emphasis on balance and proportion.”
So, with his help we’ve pulled together In-Shape’s guide to the complete physique – backside edition. Mr. Young has given us his top exercises for training these often forgotten, but very important, muscle groups.
For your back, try a seated cable row with the rope attachment. We asked Mr. Young why the handle matters.
“The rope attachment gives you a greater range of motion. Rather than stopping when the handle hits our abs, with the rope, you can pull your hands apart as you squeeze your shoulder blades together,” he explained. “Slowly let the hands move forward again into an arms straight position and repeat.”
For your rear deltoids, Mr. Young’s top choice is the bent over dumbbell fly on the incline bench. Lie face forward on the incline bench so that your body is at a 45 or more-degree angle from the floor. With a dumbbell in each hand, bring your arms away from the floor in a reverse fly motion. Try to keep just a slight bend in your elbow to avoid locking the arms out. Then, slowly lower the weight and repeat.
Toned triceps are on the top of most lists during summer tank top season. Mr. Young recommends the dumbbell French press. Lying face up on a flat bench, grab a pair of dumbbells and extend toward the ceiling, careful not to lock the elbows out. Then slowly lower your dumbbells toward your head in a semicircular motion stopping at approximately 90 degrees in the elbow joint.
Since we’re always focused on the thighs, balance out by strengthening those hamstrings with lying leg curls. It’s that machine you see people lying face down on, and curling the legs up toward the glutes. If you can’t find it, just ask a trainer on the floor to show you.
For glutes, try hip thrusters to make that peach pop. Sit down with your upper back against a low bench with your knees bent. Press into your feet and you squeeze your glutes to lift your hips to the sky. Slowly lower and repeat.
“While building the complete physique makes you look good, it’s also about preventing injuries from muscle imbalances. Add these exercises into your weekly routine for total body symmetry and to ensure you look proportionate at every angle,” Mr. Young advises.