You can squat, push up, and crunch with the best of them, but how often do you target the less obvious muscle groups? Toned triceps and sculpted glutes are only part of the total-body equation. Most of us regular folk who aren’t personal trainers nor work out with them end our strength-training routines once we’ve hit the major muscles, which leaves a few of them feeling and looking neglected. This is a wake-up call for all of the forgotten muscles.
Scroll through to find which two muscles professional trainers say get ignored the most!
“Yes, they are the complement to that perfect pair of high heels. But the calves also stabilize your entire body as you stand and sit. They also assist with walking, jumping, hopping, lateral movements, basically anything involving movement. But these muscles are often ignored. It’s assumed that either you have calves or you don’t, but we all have them, and they are just as important as any other muscle in your leg.” — Kellie Sikorski, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
“People forget about their calves! Especially in L.A. where we don’t walk anywhere, so we’re way behind any New Yorker. Many will say that genetics play a major role in the size and shape of their calf, but like any part of the body, putting in extra work is all it takes to make a change.” — Astrid Swan, professional trainer
Exercise for your calves: Calf Raises (in every form)
Sikorski recommends standing calf raises and seated calf raises on top of adding calf raises to your standard squats. Swan suggests adding weight to increase strength. The how is pretty simple: “Rise up high onto your toes, and lower back down to feet flat on the ground,” Swan says.
“The erector spinae (lower back) is overlooked way too much, which is ironic because it’s the same area where the average person complains of pain. Not only does it look amazing when it’s developed, but it also protects you from injury. When we say ‘back,’ most just think of the large muscles in the upper back, neglecting the low back. When we say ‘core,’ most think of the abs but not the low back, which is a part of the core as well. Strengthening your low back will greatly reduce your risk of injury, not to mention it’s a small but great looking area if developed well. I always tell my clients the abs will look great as you walk toward me, but eventually, you have to turn around and walk away. So work your lower back!” — Kellie Sikorski, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
“All muscles of the posterior chain that contribute to posture get ignored a lot of the time, especially now that everyone seems to favor a kyphotic [hunched-over] position due to texting and sitting at a computer all day.” — Ethan Marine, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp Miami
Exercise for your lower back: Deadlifts
Start in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand and a slight bend in your knees. Send your hips back as you bend from the waist while keeping your chest up and spine neutral. Slowly rise back to a standing position and restart.
Exercise for your lower back: Supermans
Lie flat on your stomach. Keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine. Looking down toward the ground, lift both legs and arms off the ground and hold for three counts; then slowly lower and repeat.
Have you been neglecting your lower back and calves? Tell us in the comments below!