Anatomy of a Workout: Understanding Muscle Groups

The human body has a large number of muscles, and these muscles can be divided into muscle groups based on function and location. When it comes to fitness, a proper workout regimen ensures that all muscle groups are trained, and therefore all muscles are strengthened over time.

Relationships of muscles within muscle groups:

Muscle groups can be divided in a number of ways. A simple way to do so is to examine individual sections of the body. For example, one can look at the arms, and therefore group the biceps, triceps, and possible deltoids, or look at the torso for the pectoral and abdominal muscles. Regardless of grouping however, it is important to perform exercises that work all of the muscles, because completing various bodily movements often relies on more than one set of muscles. For example, the bicep is responsible for lifting the forearm, while the tricep pulls in the opposite direction to lower it.

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Workouts with muscle groups in mind:

As mentioned earlier, actions often involve multiple muscles working together; By the same logic, exercises should be tailored to build all of the muscles within a muscle group in order to ensure an even level of conditioning; if a given exercise does not work all of the muscles in the muscle group, complementary exercises should be performed in addition. For example, the leg curl exercise builds the hamstring; a complimentary exercise would be the leg extension, which strengthens the quadriceps. These muscles work together to control the legs around the knee joint.
Simply put, to each flexion and extension; to each push, a pull.

Aside from the aesthetic benefits of remaining well proportioned, training muscle groups correctly and evenly is important to ensure that all bodily movements can be performed smoothly. Muscles within groups work together to perform simple actions, and entire muscle groups work with others to perform more complex actions, such as those demonstrated in competitive sports. Therefore, training all muscle groups is pertinent to health and performance.

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