When many people think of working out, they think of workouts such as biking, aerobic exercises, and so on. While these common drills are good for your lungs and heart, a complete workout programme should be composed of flexibility, balance, and strength training. One of the easiest ways to structure your fitness program is to pair certain muscles. So, would you like to know what muscle groups to work out together?
The success of any muscle-building journey or hypertrophy process depends on your ability to train the correct muscle sets at the right time. This point cannot be stressed enough. Pairing your muscles will lead to more muscle fibres, which will equate to more strength and mass over time. What are the muscle groups that are good to work out together?’
An Overview Of Muscle Groups
Before getting down to what muscle groups to workout together with women, and men, you should at least have an idea about the sets of muscles that you have in your body.
Typically, there are three types of muscles – cardiac, skeletal, and smooth. Cardiac ones control your heart while the smooth ones are actively involved in involuntary actions such as constricting veins. When you go to the gym, you target skeletal muscles which make up over 40% of your body weight (8).
Here are the major groups of skeletal muscles in your body:
These muscle groups can be divided into the following specific categories:
- Biceps – In front of your upper arms.
- Glutes – In your hips and butt.
- Quadriceps – In front of your upper part of your legs.
- Hamstrings – At the back part of your upper part of legs.
- Calves – Found in the lower part of your legs.
- Latissimus dorsi (lats) – under your armpits.
- Trapezius (traps) – Top of your shoulders.
- Forearms – the lower part of your arms.
- Triceps – the back part of your upper arm (10).
Types Of Exercises For Group Muscle Workout
Are you wondering whether you need dumbbells or even barbells for your strength training? Well, resistance training can be done in various ways, such as:
- Bodyweight exercises.
- Machine exercises.
- Free weights.
- Medicine ball exercises.
- Resistance band training.
If you include free weight training into your program, then you must be consistent with weight that you can manage to lift more than 12 times. As your muscle mass builds up, you can increase the weight and reduce the number of repetitions (9).
What Muscle Groups To Work Out Together?
It’s no secret; you must focus on specific sets during your session for best results. So, which muscles should you combine during your fitness hours? First off, be clear that there is no one right way to group your muscles. In other words, you can decide on whichever set fits your needs.
What Are The Best Muscle Groups To Work Out Together?
Typically, many people find it helpful to train muscle groups that are close to each other. For instance, you could pair your shoulders and arms.
Many exercises such as press-ups and rows use both of these parts.
So, if you want to pair your muscles, make sure you only group those that are close to each other.
Which Muscle Groups To Work Out Together For Lean Muscles?
As mentioned, you can pair any muscles together. There is no one way you can get lean muscles by just pairing them.
The only way you can achieve that is by being consistent. Once you start training, do not give up. Continue until you get the desired results. It could take three or more months, so be patient (7).
What Are Muscle Groups Best To Work Out Together?
You can group your muscles according to your preferences. For instance, if you are a sportsman, you could emphasize the muscles you use in your sport. Here are some examples of how you could combine your muscle groups:
If you are an amateur, you could combine your muscles as follows:
- Day 1 – Your shoulders and chest
- Day 2 – your legs
- Day 3 – Arms, back, and abdominals
If you want to work out twice per week, then you could try the following:
- Day 1 – Shoulders, chest, and arms
- Day 2 – abdominals, back, and legs
For Pro Lifters:
If you have been lifting weights for a while, this can help target specific muscle groups in your workouts. Here is an example of how you can combine them:S
- Day 1 – Shoulders, triceps, chest, and forearms
- Day 2 – Calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps
- Day 3 – Lats, abdominals, biceps, back, and traps (4).
You do not need separate exercises for each group. For instance, when you do squats, you will be using the following:
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How Do You Choose What Muscle Groups To Work Out Together?
It is recommended that you group muscles close to each other. Also, you have to choose a different set every day to give your body time to recover. If you are going for strength training 3 times every week, make sure each session emphasizes different parts.
For instance, here is an example of which muscles to group men or even women if you work out three times a week.
First Day: Shoulders And Arms
Do the following exercises:
- Lateral raises – take 3 sets of 10 reps.
- Bench clips – do 3 of 12 reps.
- Shoulder press – take 3 sets of 10 reps.
- Biceps curls – do 3 sets of 8 reps.
- Push-ups – take 3 sets out of 8 reps (12).
Second Day: Focus On Legs
- Calf raises – 12 reps 3 times.
- Step-ups – 12 reps 2 times.
- Romanian deadlifts – 8 reps in 3 sets.
- Dumbbell lunges – 10 reps 2 times.
- Barbell back squats – 8 reps in 2 sets.
Last Day: Focus On The Back, Abdominals, And Chest
- Crunches – 20 reps in 3 sets.
- Dumbbell bent-over rows – 8 reps in 3 sets.
- One-arm dumbbell rows – 8 reps in 3 sets.
- Bicycle crunches – 20 reps in 3 sets.
- Dumbbell fly – 10 reps in 3 sets.
- Dumbbell bench press – 8 reps in 3 sets.
Workouts That Target Specific Muscles
If you want to create your own plan for your sessions, you could incorporate the following exercises for the listed muscles. Be sure to follow their respective workout steps correctly (14).
1. Resistance Band Pull Apart
This is a great exercise to start your back workout. Here, you will need resistance bands that can allow you to complete over 15 to 20 reps in 2 sets. Follow the directions below:
- Stand with both of your arms extended.
- Hold a resistance band in front of you using both of your hands.
- The band should be parallel to the ground.
- While keeping your arms straight, pull the band to your chest by moving your arms further apart.
- You should initiate the movement from your mid-back.
- Squeeze both of your shoulder blades together.
- Keep your back straight.
- Return to the start slowly. Repeat the steps several times (3).
2. Barbell Deadlift
Doing this exercise will work your lower back, spinal muscles, and hamstrings. Follow these steps:
- Place a barbell on the floor. Make sure it is steady.
- Stand behind it.
- Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- Your chest should be kept lifted.
- Now, begin to reach down to pick the barbell.
- Make sure your back is straight and that you only hinge your knees and hips so that you are squatting.
- Grasp the bar with both of your palms. Use overhand grip.
- Pull back up, back into your starting point. Keep your feet straight and your shoulders should be at the back of your neck.
- Push your hips back and bend your knees until you return to your original position.
- Repeat this 12 times for 3 sets (1).
3. Renegade Dumbbell Row
This move adds extra core training to your back moves. Follow the steps below:
- Hold dumbbells on each of your hands.
- Lie down facing the floor.
- Lift your body so that you form a straight line from your toes to head.
- Each of your hands should be on the dumbbell.
- Now, row with one hand and pull your elbow toward the ceiling.
- Return the dumbbell to the ground while ensuring that your hips don’t swing.
- Repeat with the left arm.
- You can complete 3 sets of 20 reps.
1. Barbell Bench Press
You will need a barbell and a bench just as the name suggests. Use the procedure below:
- Lie on the bench with your feet firm on the ground.
- The bar you are lifting should be directly above your eyes.
- Your shoulders, head, and buttocks need to be on the bench.
- Grasp the barbell and move it to your starting point. You will need a spotter just in case something goes wrong.
- Position the barbell straight chin and keep your wrists and elbows straight.
- Now, inhale while lowering the bar until it touches your chest, just below your armpits.
- As you lower, move your elbows outwards so that they can curve slightly.
- Exhale while pushing the bar up to your original position (5).
No equipment or gym visits are needed here. This exercise will strengthen your chest, shoulders, and arms. Follow the steps below:
- Lie down while facing the floor.
- Tighten your abs, keep your body flat from head to toe.
- Your elbows should be at your sides.
- Now lift yourself so that your arms are straight.
- Lower yourself slowly until your chest almost taps the floor.
- Press up and repeat the procedure.
3. Inclined Dumbbells
Here, you will need a set of dumbbells and an inclined bench. Use the procedure below:
- Sit on the bench.
- Your head back and abdomen should be on the bench.
- Make sure the bench is inclined to about 120 degrees.
- Hold dumbbells in both of your hands.
- Press your shoulder, head, and butt on the bench and position the weights near your armpits.
- Your palms should face inwards with your wrist straight.
- Breath out and tighten your abs. Slowly press the dumbbells up above your chest.
- Breath in and lower the weights slowly to the level of your chest. The dumbbells should be parallel to your chest.
- Lift the weights towards the ceiling in the same manner. Repeat the motions several times (2).
Here, you need to:
- Kneel on a mat or just a towel placed on the floor.
- Next, place your hands apart and a bit wider than your shoulder width.
- Lift your knees so that the weight is shifted to your hands. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.
- Now, lower your chest towards the ground without sagging your lower back. You should maintain a straight line from your knees to your head.
- Ensure the chest lightly taps the floor and then press away from the floor so that your arms are straight. Repeat the move several times.
2. Tapping Push-Ups
This exercise will work on your abs, arms, and chest. Follow the steps below:
- Kneel on a towel or a mat.
- Place your hands wider apart than your shoulder width.
- Curl your heels towards your upper body so that they face the ceiling.
- Make sure you maintain a straight line from your knees to your head.
- Lower your chest towards the floor until it slightly hits it.
- Press away by straightening your arms.
- Repeat the procedure several times (11).
3. Biceps Curls
Follow the steps below:
- Stand upright, with a dumbbell in all your two hands.
- Extend your arms to the sides. Keep your hip-width apart.
- Tighten your ABS.
- Raise one arm, rotate its forearm until it is aligned with your shoulders.
- Return the arm to its starting point and repeat the same procedure with the other arm.
4. Triceps Cable Pushdowns
For this exercise, you have to:
- Face the cable machine and grip the handle at your neck level.
- Contract your ABS, keep your elbows on your sides.
- Pull the cable downwards.
- Return it to the starting point and repeat the procedure.
Follow the steps below:
- Lie down on the floor facing the ceiling.
- Bring your hands to your head. Clasp them behind the head with your elbows bent outwards.
- Bend your knees close to your chest.
- Draw your abs and lift your upper body up.
- Squeeze your abs tighter.
- Make sure your shoulders are off the floor. Only your lower back should be on the floor.
- Repeat this 10 times in 2 sets (13).
2. Single Leg Dip
This exercise strengthens your abs muscles. Follow the steps below:
- Start by lying horizontally on the floor while facing the ceiling.
- Make sure you have a mat or a towel so that you won’t be hurt by the floor.
- Now bend your knees, so that your feet will be flat on the floor.
- Place both of your hands behind your hips with their tips facing forward.
- Now, lift your upper body using your hands, so that you form an acute angle with the ground.
- Lift the right leg and hips.
- Extend it so that it is straight and facing the ceiling. It should make a right angle with the floor.
- Bend your arms so that your body lowers down a little bit.
- Press back up. Repeat the procedure severally.
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Basic lunges will work out your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. To correctly do one:
- Stand tall.
- Step forward with the left foot.
- Move until the leg forms a right angle with your knee.
- Your knee should be parallel to the floor. It should not go beyond your toes.
- Lift the leg back to your original position.
- Repeat the procedure while switching off between the right and left leg until you do over 10 repeats.
This training will target your quadriceps and hamstrings. Follow the procedure below:
- Position your barbell at the upper part of your chest, just below your neck.
- Make sure you grab it with a wide grip.
- Engage your abdominal muscles by squatting. That is bending your hips and knees at the same time.
- Make sure your back is straight.
- Lower your body until your thighs make 90 degrees with your lower legs.
- Return to the starting point and repeat this severally (6).
There are a lot of ways you can plan your weekly fitness sessions. However, to obtain the most out of your training, you must focus on one muscle group at a time. If you follow the above examples of which muscle groups to work out together and tips, you are most likely to get your desired results.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Dumbbells sold out? Try these creative replacements (2020, edition.cnn.com)
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- How does bench angle affect upper body muscle activation during bench press exercise? (2015, sciencedaily.com)
- How to Do Squats (2016, webmd.com)
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- Raise the bar: a beginner’s guide to lifting weights (2017, theguardian.com)
- Strength training: 6 ways to get more from your workout (2014, health.harvard.edu)
- The rise of push-ups: A classic exercise that can help you get stronger (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- Time course for arm and chest muscle thickness changes following bench press training (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Video: Abdominal crunch (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Which muscle groups can people work out together? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)