Ask most guys in the gym about what they hope to achieve for their physique and you’ll most likely hear something along the lines of “big arms” or “broad chest”. However, the trouble with focusing solely on your “mirror muscles” and neglecting other parts of your body is that you cheat yourself of potential areas of growth. Rather than fall victim to this common mistake, make the effort to include various muscle groups in your workout routine rather than focusing solely on just a few.
For instance, if you spend a large amount of time working on your chest and arms, you may find that the muscles of your back become proportionately weaker, causing your posture to become less than ideal. In this case, perform exercises in a 2:1 or 3:2 ratio to strengthen the weaker muscle group. You don’t have to superset everything if it doesn’t agree with you, but your total training volume should reflect this.
Neglecting lower body training is also one of the worst sins you can commit in training. Even if your area of focus when it comes to muscular hypertrophy is aim at the upper body, performing compound movements like squats and deadlifts trigger a greater release of growth hormones. Not featuring them in your regimen is tantamount to getting off the “gain train” even before you reach your destination.
There is a saying that goes, “Don’t look worse going out than you did coming in.” Aside from imparting wisdom about the importance of final impressions, it also conveys plenty of truth as far as fitness is concerned. The muscles along the back and lower portion of the human body are essential to both form and function, affecting anything from posture to athletic performance and injury prevention.
If you’re training for a sport like football, a strong set of hamstrings is practically a must, not just because they affect a player’s ability to decelerate quickly and change direction, but they also play a strong supportive role in knee health and preventing ligament injuries. Bodybuilders and physique competitors also realise the importance of having a well-developed back. Bodybuilding shows are said to be won from the rear, and many ties have been broken due to the differences in back development.
Another important tip to avoiding muscle imbalance is remembering to take breaks from hitting the gym. Although it may seem counter-productive, rest days ensure that your muscles are given time to recover and develop. You may still be itching to hit the gym, but spending your rest days re-evaluating and adjusting your routine based on the progress you’ve achieved is just as vital.
When dedicating time to training, it’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight, and that your body needs a stimulus to precede that change. By making sure your workout routine is well rounded, you can avoid unnecessary strain and injury, and build a stronger and more impressive physique in the long run.