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Articles > Weight Training > The 7 Main Muscle Groups
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Muscle is a contractile variety of tissue. There are three general types of muscle:
• Cardiac muscle is a specialized kind of muscle found only within the heart.
• Skeletal muscle or "voluntary muscle" is fastened by tendons to bones and is used to achieve skeletal movement such as locomotion.
• Smooth muscle or "involuntary muscle" is found within structures such as the throat, intestines and blood vessels.

Bodybuilders focus on skeletal muscle, and usually the first muscle group that comes to a beginner's mind is the upper arm or more specifically the biceps. The idea that adding bulk to your arms will give your entire upper body a major increase in size is a common delusion that many beginners have. Here is a list of the 7 principal muscle groups, sorted by most to least important, when it comes to adding mass to your upper body.

1. The main muscle group for adding bulk to your upper body is the deltoids. This muscle group is divided into anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids, and can be worked out using the following movements:

Anterior Deltoid
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Behind Neck Press
Front Raise
Military Press
Shoulder Press
Front Raise
Shoulder Press
Arnold Press
Front Raise
Shoulder Press
Behind Neck Press
Shoulder Press
Behind Neck Press
Shoulder Press

Lateral Deltoid
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Upright Row One Arm Lateral Raise
Upright Row (Stirrups and One Arm)
Lateral Raise (One Arm)
Lying Lateral Raise
Upright Row (One Arm)
Lateral Raise Upright Row

Posterior Deltoid
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Rear Delt Row Rear Lateral Raise
Rear Delt Row
Seated Rear
Lateral Raise
Lying Rear Lateral Raise (One Arm)
Rear Lateral Raise
Rear Delt Row
Seated Rear Lateral Raise
Lying Rear Lateral Raise
Rear Delt Row
Seated Rear Lateral Raise
Seated Rear Lateral Raise (Gripless)
Rear Delt Row

2. Next is the chest.
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Bench Press (Power Lift and Guillotine) Chest Press
Decline Fly
Lying Fly
Seated Fly
Standing Fly
Bench Press
Decline Bench Press
Decline Fly
Fly
Pullover
Bench Press
Chest Dip
Chest Press
Decline Chest Press
Decline Bench Press
Lying Fly
Peck Deck Fly (Decline)
Seated Fly
Chest Dip
Push Up

3. Next are the traps or trapezius muscles.
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Shrug
Cambered Bar
Seated Shrug
Trap Bar Shrug
Shrug Shrug Gripless Shrug
Seated Gripless Shrug
Shrug
Shrug

4. Next are the lats or latissimus dorsi.
Barbell Cable Assisted Lever Weighted
Pullover (Bent Arm) Close Grip Pulldown
Front Pulldown
Pullover
Rear Pulldown
Straight Arm Pulldown (Seated)
Underhand Pulldown
Chin-up
Close Grip Chin-up
Pull-up
Rear Pull-up
Underhand Chin-up
Close Grip Pulldown
Front Pulldown
Pullover
Underhand Pulldown
Chin-up
Close Grip Chin-up
Pull-up
Rear Pull-up
Underhand Chin-up

5. Next comes the triceps.
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Close Grip Bench Press
Lying Triceps Extension
Triceps Extension
Bent-over Triceps Extension
Incline Triceps Extension
Kneeling Triceps Extension
Lying Triceps Extension
Pushdown (Heavy and One Arm)
Triceps Extension(One Arm)
Incline Triceps Extension
Kickback
Lying Triceps Extension
One Arm Triceps Extension
Triceps Extension
Overhead Triceps Extension
Pushdown
Triceps Dip
Triceps Extension
Close Grip Bench Press

6. Biceps are next.
Barbell Cable Dumbbell Lever Smith
Curl Curl (One Arm)
Supine Curl
Curl
Incline Curl
Curl  

7. Lastly, we have the abs.
Cable Lever Weighted
Lying Stability Ball Crunch
Lying Leg Hip Raise (Straight Leg)
Kneeling Crunch
Seated Crunch
Seated Crunch
Seated Crunch (Gripless)
Crunch
Hanging-Leg Hip Raise (Straight Leg)
Incline Crunch (Advanced)
Incline Leg-Hip Raise
Incline Sit-up (Advanced)
Jack Knife Sit-up
V-up
Vertical Leg-Hip Raise
Incline Twisted Crunch
Incline Twisting Sit-up
Twisting Crunch

There are certain laws and rules of bodybuilding that have been added over the years. Each year, there are new methods in exercise, diet and supplementation that permit us to take our physiques to the next level.

Good nutrition, good genetics and a good workout routine are the basics needed to build a good body. This is how a basic routine should be split up:
Day 1: Chest and Biceps
Day 2: Cardio and Abs
Day 3: Back and Triceps
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Shoulders and Legs
Day 6: Cardio and Abs
Day 7: Rest

Professionals say resistance training, including lifting free weights, working out on weight machines and doing pushups, helps maintain and increase lean muscle, which revs up metabolism and increases the number of calories the body burns at rest. The reason for the metabolic advantage: the larger your lean muscle mass, the more calories your body burns at work and at rest.

Don't fall in love with any one exercise. If you repeat the same exercise, you'll overdo a particular muscle group. Everyone undoubtedly has a particular asset they would like to develop, but don't overdo it. Use a full variety of exercises, machines and resistances. Try lifting free weights, water, household items, and even your own body weight. Changing it up will shock the muscles, challenging them to lift the weight.

Myths and Facts About Stretching
Stretching recommendations are clouded by fallacies and contradictory research reports. Stretching has been encouraged for years as an essential part of fitness programs to reduce the possibility of injury, ease pain associated with "stiffness," and advance sport performance, in spite of limited data. New evidence suggests that stretching immediately before exercise does not prevent overuse or acute injuries. However, results from animal studies suggest that continuous stretching, (i.e. over 24 hours per day), compared with intermittent stretching of only minutes per day, outside of exercise periods may produce muscle hypertrophy, which could theoretically reduce the risk of injury.

 

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