For those just starting out on their fitness journey, knowing which muscle groups to focus on can be a difficult decision. Muscles are the building blocks of physical strength and conditioning, and understanding which muscles to target is essential for achieving desired results.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 suggest performing strength training exercises at least two times per week to stay healthy. The focal point of strength training is to target the right muscles.
While the concept of strength training is simple enough – stress your muscles over time to make them stronger – there are a plethora of different muscles that need to be considered when structuring an effective routine. It helps to break down the body into major regions, such as the arms, legs, core, chest, and back, with each containing one or more specific muscle groups that should be worked upon as part of any comprehensive program.
With this in mind, it is vital for beginners to understand which specific muscle groups they should target if they want to get maximum results from their efforts. In particular, exercises tailored around working out the upper body (arms and shoulders), lower body (hips and legs), and core are essential for building strength and stability throughout the entire body.
Furthermore, it is essential for new exercisers to take note of muscle imbalances between opposing muscle groups (e.g., biceps/triceps) which can lead to postural issues over time if not addressed correctly.
Various exercises target various muscle groups, so you should be adequately aware of how to target your desired muscle group as a beginner. In this article, we are going to discuss the muscle groups that you should focus on being a beginner.
Importance of Understanding Muscle Groups
As a workout newbie, it can be tempting to just jump right in and assume that whatever muscles you have will make it through the workout. But understanding muscle groups is crucial for any workout regimen. Knowing which muscles are used in different exercises helps you target those muscles that are lagging.
Lowers Injury Risk
No matter what workout you choose, understanding the muscle groups being worked on can push your workout to the next level and help build muscle with less effort and injury risk.
Prevents Muscle Imbalances
Understanding which muscles are involved in particular workout moves can help avoid workout-induced muscle imbalances which not only look bad but also can cause considerable discomfort. No one wants to lopsidedly work out their arms without even touching their legs; understanding muscle anatomy helps prioritize different workout muscle groups so that they can all be worked in a balanced manner.
Effective Workout Results
Mastering workout muscle groups can be beneficial if you’re looking to maximize the results of your workout. Different workout muscles target different parts of your body; meaning exercises done for certain muscle groups will yield different results.
For example, if you want to get toned arms, learning about the three tricep muscle heads and understanding how they need to be isolated in order to tone up is essential. Doing arm curls alone won’t get you too far—you’ll need an exercise that specifically isolates that group of muscles and perform it with good form in order to build the right muscles for your goal.
Related Article: Learn How To Build Muscles Faster – Get Swollen Now!
Basic Muscle Groups in Body
Let’s have a detailed look at the basic muscle groups in the body and know their importance.
The abdominal workout groups contain three main sections, each with its own distinctive set of muscles. These include:
- Rectus abdominis, which runs from your ribcage to your pubic bone and gives you that famous “six-pack” appearance;
- Transverse abdominis, which wrap around your sides and waist to give you core stability;
- Obliques, which act as stabilizers when you twist from side to side.
Altogether, these muscle groups provide strength, stability, and power for dynamic movements such as bending and twisting – making them essential for an effective workout routine.
These are the muscles on top of your upper arm. The bicep muscle group actually consists of four muscles:
- Short head of the biceps brachii
- Long head of the biceps brachii
While all four are important for strength training, together they create this beautiful bundle that helps us lift heavy weights and look awesome in our sleeveless shirts.
Your calves can be divided into two muscle groups:
- the gastrocnemius muscle, which is responsible for extending the foot
- the soleus muscle, which assists in plantar flexion (pointing of the feet)
Together, these two muscle groups provide movement and stability within the ankle joint. The importance of calf muscles cannot be understated – without them, we would struggle with everyday activities like walking or running.
The deltoid muscle group is located near the shoulders and is responsible for making activities like arm-raising and shoulder rotation possible. These muscles provide shape and definition to your arms and give you an impressive muscle flex. Not only do they provide superior power and strength in our upper arms, but they also enable stability for movements performed at high speeds.
The forearm muscle group is made up of several muscle groups located between the elbow and wrist joints, making them integral to arm movement. The muscle group contributes to some of the most basic human functions – for example, it’s nearly impossible to write, type, brush our teeth, open doors, lift weights or perform any other arm-intensive task without it!
Gluteal muscles are muscle groups located in the lower body that is composed of several of the largest muscles in the entire body. They include such muscle groups as
- Gluteus minimus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus maximus
All of which have a major impact on movements involving our legs and hips. In terms of their importance to daily functioning, Gluteal muscles allow us to do many routine tasks such as walking, running, and even sitting on a chair without any difficulty.
Hamstring muscles are located on the back of the upper leg, under the Gluteal muscles. These muscle groups consist of:
- Biceps femoris muscle
All of these muscles work together to play a huge role in our mobility. They assist with activities including walking, running, bending, and extending our legs. Additionally, they allow us to rapidly start and stop any leg movements because of muscle contraction when needed.
8. Lastissimus Dorsi
The Latissimus Dorsi muscle, sometimes called the “lats” muscle, is actually a muscle group that is located under your armpits. It is also the widest muscle in your body. you can feel it when you spread your arms wide; it’s the muscle that gives width to your back. Its importance lies in its role of antagonistically stabilizing shoulders and arms which allows the body to balance itself.
Chest muscles (or pectoral muscles) are an essential group of two major muscles found within the chest area. They are located in the front part of your ribcage, running from the top to bottom and converging at the sternum. The chest muscle groups include:
- Pectoralis major
- Pectoralis minor
- Serratus anterior
The primary one is the pectoralis major, which controls movement in both the arm and shoulders, while the pectoralis minor helps to hold your arms closer to your chest.
Quadriceps are located at the front upper legs, above the knee. This muscle group is incredibly important as it massively helps with leg extension, knee flexion and stabilization when you’re moving.
The trapezius muscle is an important muscle group that can often be overlooked; it runs along the back of your neck, down to and through your shoulder blades. This muscle workout group gives you the ability to shrug your shoulders and move them in other directions too.
Having strong trapezius muscles is great for everyday movements such as lifting up a heavy bag or reaching for something high on a shelf, but it can also provide advantages when working out at the gym, like improving your form during strength exercises or helping maintain posture and prevent slouching.
The triceps muscle group is an essential muscle workout group located at the back of your upper arm. As its name implies, it consists of three muscle heads:
With proper training, these muscles can produce astonishing results – from increased strength and energy output to a more toned look.
Tips to Follow Before Strength Training
Before diving straight into strength training, it is important to get familiar with a couple of tips and go through a structural process. This will help you get used to the routine and get efficient results:
Begin with Bodyweight
When starting out, use your own bodyweight as an initial driver. Not only can you get an effective strength workout without needing any equipment, but it’s also a great way for beginners to learn the fundamentals of muscle training. Bodyweight workouts hold all the main muscle movement patterns which is essential for muscle growth and permanent muscle gains.
Don’t Forget to Warm-up
As a beginner, having the know-how of why it’s important to warm up before working out can make all the difference. Warming up helps to prepare your muscles and joints prior to an intense exercise session.
It gets your blood flowing and starts syncing your body and mind, helping you gain motivation while enabling your muscles and joints to work efficiently. In short, know that warming up is like priming your engine – getting both body and mind ready for what is ahead.
Make a Routine
Building a routine is all about scheduling. Aim for two to three days per week and make sure to do total-body workouts. This means each workout should incorporate a bit of everything: lower-body work, core moves, and upper-body exercises – ensuring you build muscle in all areas. This allows you the chance to work evenly in all areas, building strength that will support your overall health and fitness journey.
Hit the Weights
When it comes to getting in shape, your bodyweight should be your starting point. Sure, to stretch out those muscles and get into the swing of things, that old-fashioned push-up can do wonders – but if it’s bulking you’re after, there’s only one place to go: the weights.
Then, once you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt, hit the weights! Investing in a pair of dumbbells can provide endless opportunities for progress and allow you to really focus on particular areas of muscle growth
Practice the Same Moves Everyday
Sticking to the same basic workout moves might sound boring, but you know what they say: when it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all, great results come from repeated efforts and progressive overload – boosting both the resistances and the number of reps as you get stronger. Not only is it a great way to build a solid base of fitness and strength, but it also helps you get better at those movements and master perfect form. Complexity isn’t always better!
Know When to Take Rest Days
We’ve all felt that achy and tired feeling the morning after a workout session. But don’t worry, that’s totally normal — it’s just the body’s response to the tiny tears in your muscles you created while strength training.
A little soreness is expected and okay, but don’t push it too far – if you’re so painfully sore that you’re sidelined from your workouts for several days, then you might be overdoing it! Better dial it back a bit and let your body heal itself so you can work hard again next week!
Related Article: Rest-Pause Training For Muscle Growth And Torched Fat
Weight Training for Specific Muscles Group
As said before, every exercise targets a specific muscle group. Here are some of the workouts that target the major muscle groups.
1. Crunches (Abs)
- Sit on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
- Cross your fingers behind your head.
- Raise your upper body slightly until your shoulders leave the ground. Now you should feel your abs contracted.
- Then return back to the ground.
- Do 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.
2. Barbell Curl (Biceps)
- Start off by ensuring that the weight on the barbell is suitable for you, and position yourself in front of the barbell with your feet at shoulder width apart.
- Don’t forget to check that your hands are also shoulder width apart with palms facing up as you grip the bar.
- Begin by bending your elbows and bringing the barbell to your chest.
- Take caution not to move your upper arms during this movement, and make sure you lower them down slowly after each rep.
- Aim for 10-12 reps with 2-3 sets for optimal results.
Related Article: Bulking Tips – Pack Pounds On Your Biceps Not On Your Belly
3. Military Press (Deltoids)
- Starting with prepping the barbell, you’ll want to adjust it just below shoulder height while standing.
- Then go ahead and load up the weight you’re looking for.
- Then sit down on the bench and use a pronated grip to unrack the weight, then take a deep breath before you begin your rep!
- Brace yourself, tuck your chin and lower the bar to the top of your chest.
- Use that energy from your inhale and exhale to press the bar back out to lockout.
- Do 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
4. Leg Curls (Hamstrings)
- Adjust the weight correctly.
- Start by lying on the machine with your face down and placing your legs under the bar.
- Then, bend your legs at the knee and pull your feet close to your back.
- Once you reach this position, slowly lower them back till they align with where you started.
- Make sure to do 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
5. Bench Press (Pectorals)
- Start off by putting the desired weight of the barbell on a bench press stand and lie down comfortably on the bench.
- When ready, secure a grip of shoulder width apart and take off the barbell while keeping your back and glutes tight.
- Lower it down to your chest and extend your arms when pushing up all the way, slowly returning it to your chest.
- Repeat this 10-12 reps for 2-3 sets for best results.
6. Barbell Squts (Quadriceps)
- Hold a barbell on the back of your shoulders while in a standing position.
- Then bend down from the knees and bring the thighs parallel to the floor.
- Don’t forget to keep your back straight the whole time! Wearing a weightlifting belt during this workout can help.
- As you slowly stand back up, feel free to challenge yourself by doing 8–10 reps, followed by 2–3 sets.
7. Straight Bar Pushdown (Triceps)
- Stand in front of a cable machine with a straight bar attached. Hold the bar while your palms are facing the floor.
- Bring your elbows to the sides and push the bar down to the ground keeping them in place.
- Return the arms to the initial position slowly.
- Do 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
In conclusion, the best course of action for beginner athletes is to focus their efforts on the major muscle groups. These include the chest, the back, the shoulders and arms, and the legs. When starting out, it is important to have a good understanding of how each muscle group works together to create a balanced body.
This can be achieved by performing certain exercises that target each individual muscle group as well as compound exercises that work several muscles at once. Additionally, proper form and technique is key in order to avoid injury, so it may be beneficial for beginners to consult with a professional trainer or coach in order to ensure they are performing their workouts correctly.
- Top Training Mistakes Men Make And How To Avoid Them
- Building Abs – Identifying And Targeting Major Abdominal Muscles
- Muscle Toning Exercises For Your Body Type
- 11 Tips To Stay Motivated For Your Workout