Did you know that the human body comprises of more than 650 muscles? When it comes to strength training, fitness enthusiasts tend to focus only on a small fraction of the whole. The A-list category of muscles like the biceps, abdominals and shoulders get the most love and attention. It’s important to fortify the muscles in the upper back, but do look out for the lesser known ones as well.
FOR THE OBLIQUES
We all love a good workout that tones the abs, but remember that a killer core is not just limited to a flat tummy. Shaping the middle implies paying attention to the sides, or, more particularly, the obliques. Robust and chiselled obliques improve posture and strengthen the lower back. In the quest to acquire six-pack abs, do not ignore the obliques that are located on either side of the stomach between the hip flexors and lats. Crunches alone don’t do the trick
Bird dog crunches Start on all fours with your hands placed flat on the floor directly underneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips and your back positioned flat. Slowly engage your core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder; your left leg should drive straight back from your hip. During this movement ensure that both are parallel to the ground. Your right arm must be squeezed and your left leg must be brought back to its original position. Rest for a second prior starting the second rep. Do ten reps of this movement without resting your right arm or left leg on the floor. Follow this by swapping to the left arm/right leg combo. Finish three to four sets of ten reps on each side with thirty seconds rest in between each set.
TO BURN FAT
By adding some cardio, long with toning the obliques, improve the heart rate and shed unwanted layers of fat.
Breakdancer workout Start on all fours with knees beneath the hips and wrists positioned below the shoulders. Breathe out to involve the abs and lift the knees to a hover off the mat. Follow this by kicking the right leg under the body and across to the left as you alternate hips to the left, and the left heel is dropped to the mat. Concurrently, reach the left arm up. Come back to all fours and float. Perform as many reps as possible for about thirty seconds and do them on the other side.
FOR THE HAMSTRINGS
Doing the single leg hamstring bridge fortifies the hamstrings, lower back, core and glutes. Lunges and squats play a major role in firming the glutes and legs, but people are often not advised to perform them due to knee injuries or other impediments.
Single leg hamstring bridge The bridge pose helps stabilise the spine and lends your booty a good toning exercise. Ensure that the hips are elevated and straight. It is common for one side to tilt marginally, but with strength from your hamstring, glutes and particularly your core, you can achieve the correct movement and posture. It is important to keep your neck relaxed throughout this training.
FOR THE BUTT
The pistol, or single-leg squat, is an excellent workout that seamlessly blends flexibility, strength and grace quite unlike many other movements. The advantages of this one are limitless. One pistol squat is known to target almost every single muscle of the leg along with strengthening the glutes. The pistol squat can convert your entire body into an efficient fat-burning machine.
Pistol squat workout For leg warm-ups, start with 30 deep squats. Keep your legs wide and gradually lower your backside almost to the floor. Expand your chest and let the shoulders stay down and back to avoid an unwanted ‘hunch’. The most vital thing here is to keep breathing between each squat and upward press and to continue at a relaxed and slow pace.
Bonus To feel the burn, you must hold your 30th deep squat (as described above) for 30 seconds in the lowermost position. You could hold your arms out in front or at the sides for additional balance. You must keep breathing during the entire process.
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