While targeting certain muscles in your workouts can be a great way to increase tone in one area, focusing on just a few body parts will naturally prevent you from achieving a balanced level of muscle and tone throughout your entire body. Not to mention, putting too much stress on just one part of your body can lead to injury.
That’s why a full body workout is a good option to get all-around toning of multiple body parts. Instead of doing the same motion over and over, full body workouts allow you to mix up the way your body is moving, making it easier to keep from stagnating.
Full body workouts also allow you to exercise some of the harder-to-reach muscles, which are often unfortunately overlooked in routines that focus on specific body parts. However, if you prefer the targeted-muscle approach, there are also some specific exercises you can do to work out these areas as well.
This is a body part that’s often overlooked simply because people don’t know how to exercise them. You may be doing squats all day long, but squats work muscles in the thigh, such as the hamstrings and quads, more than they do the calves.
To give those calves a little more love, find exercises that incorporate jumping, such as jump rope, or, if you need something quieter, involve raising and lowering your heel. For example, one great exercise is the standing calf raise.
In it, you stand with your feet flat on the ground, facing forward and hip-width apart. Then, engaging your core, you raise your heels as far off the ground as you can, and then slowly lower back down.
This exercise has many variations, including adding more resistance by holding weights in one or both hands or performing the exercise with your heels hanging off the edge of an elevated platform.
These are the muscles at the sides of your abs, so while you might think they’d be affected by all those ab-toning exercises you’re doing, like crunches, sit-ups, and the like, chances are, they’re not. Normal crunches and sit-ups don’t target the obliques because oblique workouts require you to twist your body.
To work out the obliques more, incorporate more twists into those ab workouts. Bicycle crunches are a great option for this since they allow you to work out your upper and lower abs as well as your obliques all in one exercise.
Understandably, most people don’t think of their shoulders first when thinking of strength training. It’s common for people to focus most of their energy on the larger and more obvious muscle groups, like those in the back, legs, and chest. But having strong shoulders is just as important as strengthening any other body part.
For workouts that target your shoulders, try incorporating lateral raises, front raises, and bent-over front raises.
People tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the upper arm muscles known as the triceps and biceps, but often forget that the forearms need tone, too. Working out your wrist flexors improves your grip strength, and can really be useful for lugging home big, heavy grocery bags.
Some exercises that target the forearms are wrist flexions, wrist extensions, and farmer walks. Farmer walks, in particular, are a great option because not only do they help tone your forearms, they also work many other muscle groups in your body.
Variety is Key
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your body needs variety, not only so that you won’t get bored doing the same things over and over again, but to avoid injury, allow certain muscle groups to recover, and keep your body from getting too used to any one exercise. Mixing up which muscles you target will help keep every workout fresh and exciting.
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