Want to Get Stronger? Stop Ignoring These Muscles In Your Workout
You think you’re on top of your workout game. You’re always in the gym, you mix up your muscle groups — hell, you even make cardio a priority. But when was the last time you worked your deep cervical flexors?
Before you Google where those muscles are, let’s assume you haven’t made time for them in your regular workout routine. But that’s about to change.
Many men apply the “bigger is better” philosophy to working out. But some of the most important muscles in daily life require the least equipment to strengthen. While you’re focusing on the muscles you can see — the lats, pecs, biceps, rectus abdominis, glutes and quads — the muscles that actually help you get things done are being left out. These areas need your attention, too — or you might even face problems down the line.
Here is a list of 5 muscles (or muscle groups) that you’ll want to work into your regular fitness routine to help you get stronger, starting now:
1. Deep cervical flexors
Chances are you’ve never thought about these muscles in your life, but they are crucial for proper head positioning.
Deep cervical flexors include the Longus Colli and Longus Capitis, which play an important role in stabilising the neck and improving your head position and cervical alignment. These muscles are often weak in people who spend many hours at a computer or at a desk, leading to a forward head position or the chin being tilted upwards.
Research shows that strengthening the deep cervical flexors can reduce symptoms in people living with chronic neck pain. Unsure if your neck is weak? Try lying flat on your back. Tuck your chin downward then lift the head up using only your neck. Try and hold this position for 20 seconds. Not so easy, huh? Weakness in these muscles can lead to cervical and thoracic pain, and even headaches.
Try a chin tuck to strengthen these muscles, and try incorporating your new and improved alignment into your lifting routine.
2. Grip strength
We use our hands for countless tasks every day, but how often do you take time t0 specifically strengthen your grip? Unless you’re a rock climber or training for the next American Ninja Warrior competition, the answer is probably not often enough.
Research shows that grip strength might be an early indicator of long-term health and longevity. In fact, it may also be a predictor of disease risk in the future. On top of that, your hands are the connection to those heavyweights you’re lifting at the gym. Make an extra point to ensure those hands are strong, and you’ll only see positive results.
If you’re just starting out, try low-resistance wrist extension/flexion with a dumbbell, squeezing a soft ball with your hand, or practicing pinch gripping heavy weights to target some important muscles in the fingers.