Top 5 Forgotten Muscles You Can’t Ignore

Forgotten Muscle Groups

Okay, admit it. If you’re the typical guy, you’re probably guilty of editing your workouts to include only those muscle groups that get judged most. You know, the ones that actually turn heads.

You’ve been caught. We see you spending 30 minutes hitting the same muscles as always and 15 minutes hitting on the toned brunette on the leg press. The last 15 minutes are spent hitting on yourself in the mirror and possibly sneaking a “selfie” to post on Instagram #gymfreak4life.

If this is you, then it’s time to stop using the pretty-boy training method and instead spend a little time developing some of those other areas that we often forget.

Here are the five most often neglected muscle groups, and a set of simple fixes to get them up to speed.

    1. The Forgotten: Rear Delts. You’ve seen those guys—heck, maybe you are one of them. They show up at the gym to work their chest and their abs (quite intensely, in fact) and then head out the door. You think you’re getting great pecs and a six-pack with time left over to go to lunch. But what you actually end up with is a rounded back and tightened and shortened chest muscles. Bad posture isn’t pretty, and in the long term it also isn’t very safe. It’s time to fix that and get yourself standing up straight again.
      The Fix: Add some rear delt work by doing bent-over reverse flys. Another consideration is to sacrifice some of that weight you’ve been lifting on your narrow-grip cable row and choose a wider grip while raising your elbows. This will recruit more of your rear delts, or the back of the shoulder, into your back-work and help correct your some of that poor posture.
    1. The Forgotten: Forearms. So, do you remember the last time you worked your forearms? Have you ever even worked them? If not, or if you’ve ever given a weak handshake, then you likely need to get on those forearms. Don’t worry—with a little consistency, great forearms and a firm grip can be in your future. Shockingly enough, my girlfriend goes crazy over my forearms. You’d be surprised what muscles the ladies drool over that you’re neglecting.
      The Fix:
      One of the first things you can do is get a grip, literally. Forego those lifting straps for awhile. Sure, they’re great for doing those heavy pulls, but leaving them at home for a while will force your forearms to work that grip and increase your strength. Another thing to add is wrist extension and flexion exercises. When you do this, remember that you want to keep the weight heavy enough to rep out in a set of around 10. That’s the hypertrophy (muscle-growth) zone. My favorite little trick I do is hold dumbbells out at 90 degrees and and rotate my wrists inward and outward.
    1. The Forgotten: Hamstrings. Are you ever worried about knee injuries? Or, maybe your knees have been “talking” to you a bit. One of the sure-fire ways to help protect your knees is to strengthen those hamstrings. Sure, you do your squats and leg extensions, but you need to add some extra work for hamstrings.
      The Fix:
      Try two of my favorite exercises—RDL’s (a.k.a. Romanian Dead Lifts) and physio ball curls. Both of these exercises require your glutes and lower and middle back to engage as you perform the work. They also require to you work your hamstrings in a somewhat unstable environment, which is a great thing for those who like to be active and want to ensure knee health. Most injuries occur when there is a muscular imbalance, an unstable environment, and an applied force—and the knees are no exception. The bonus: nicely developed hamstrings complete a great set of legs.
    1. The Forgotten: Calves. You know those little bird legs you have below the knee? Well, it’s time to stop contemplating implants or stuffing your socks. Instead, put in some good gym time to get them stronger and increase the size of your lower legs. To develop some good strength and size you’ll need to be a bit aggressive with the heavy weights during your calf workout. You don’t want to be that guy with the muscular top that doesn’t match the bottom. Awkward.
      The Fix:
      To get you started, you’ll want to at least add a couple sets of standing calf raises to your workout. The standing calf exercise will allow you to hit your triceps surae (that is, the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which are the two major muscles in the lower leg). This is basically the entire calf muscle group. To focus your development on the medial (or inner) head, turn your toes out slightly; to develop the lateral (or outer) head, turn your toes inward slightly. If you want to go one step further, add a seated calf raise as well. In the seated position, your gastrocnemius will relax, allowing your soleus (the muscle that lies under the gastroc) to do the majority of the work. Creating size underneath will make that gastroc pop just a bit more, and doing both exercises will give you size, strength and a great looking calf.
  1. The Forgotten: Cardio. Ok, this isn’t about a specific muscle group, but I put it on the list because I believe that most guys generally don’t do enough cardio work (if any). The only time cardio comes to mind is during a lean-out phase or in a nightmare. Truth be told, a strong cardiovascular system will help keep you healthier. It’s that simple. And, of course, it’s also a great base for any training that you do, including strength training.
    The Fix:
    It’s time to bump up that cardio output and get yourself breathing seriously heavy. You can do this in any number of ways: running, swimming, cycling, cardio weight circuits, or group exercise classes like bootcamp or crossfit. The key is to remember F.I.T.T.:

    Frequency: Ideally, you want to be doing some cardio 3-5 days a week. This is best to do after weight training so you don’t deplete your endurance and strength up front.

    Intensity: Your cardio session needs to be hard enough to get you to breathe vigorously. At some point during the workout, you should be able to hear yourself breathing.

    Time: It is estimated that it takes 15 minutes for the body to properly respond to cardio. Anything prior to that is like scratching the surface. You want to push for 30 minute sessions, even if not all at once.

    Type: To help keep your body constantly guessing and prevent it from acclimating to workload (and to keep yourself sane), you want to change up what type of cardio you are doing. In fact, you can do various types in one day. Just make sure you get it in.

What You Probably DON’T Know About Testosterone

testosteroneHormones can be tricky to master, especially when trying to elevate testosterone without having it convert into estrogen.

HOW MUCH “T” YOU GOT THERE, MAN?

Most guys don’t even know where their T-levels are at. I suggest getting a basic blood panel and checking your lab results to see where your testosterone and estrogen levels are at. Surprisingly, more men than you think have no clue they produce estrogen. In fact, they don’t realize that the higher their body fat %, the more estrogen they produce.

According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone levels are at their highest during adolescence and early adulthood. As men get older, their T levels decline about one percent a year after age 30….ouch!

Male

Age T Level (ng/dL)

0-5 months 75-400

6 mos.-9 yrs. <7-20

10-11 yrs. <7-130

12-13 yrs. <7-800

14 yrs. <7-1,200

15-16 yrs. 100-1,200

17-18 yrs. 300-1,200

19+ yrs. 240-950

Avg. Adult Male 270-1,070 (-1% per year after 30)

 

ONE OF MAN’S WORST NIGHTMARES: MOOBS

If you are over 40 years of age, there is a good chance that more of your testosterone is converting into estrogen then you would like. This not only causes loss of energy, weight gain, fatigue and difficulty adding lean muscle to your body, but it also leads to what is called ‘estrogen dominance,’ which makes you more susceptible to a whole host of other problems, including cancer.

The obvious signs of too much estrogen, aside from those mentioned above, is added fatty tissue around the chest (man-boobs). *gasp*

WHY NATURAL IS BETTER THAN SYNTHETIC

There is a big push by drug manufacturers for men to have their testosterone checked to see if that’s what causing erectile dysfunction, loss of stamina and libido.

Unfortunately, they are more interested in prescribing synthetic testosterone drugs instead of using the old fashion, inexpensive testosterone that doesn’t have a patent on it. When you take synthetic testosterone drugs as replacements, your body will produce lesson its own, so when you stop taking the drug you feel terrible and compelled to get another prescription.

EVERYONE CONVERTS TESTOSTERONE INTO ESTROGEN

T-E-Aroma

 

Men are designed to retain most of their testosterone and only have a tenth of it be converted into estrogen. What speeds up the conversion process is the activation of an enzyme called aromatase.

BOOST YOUR TESTOSTERONE NATURALLY

We will cover the “Three Way Testosterone Plan” in our next post. Stay Tuned!

10 Healthier Beers To Chug This July 4th

Feeling guilty about knocking a few back this July 4th weekend? It might be time to stop the guilt! Moderate beer consumption has been shown to help protect against heart disease and lower the risk of hypertension. Just remember, we’re talking moderate consumption. As it turns out, all beers are not created equal, so grabbing whichever tallboy is on special this weekend doesn’t guarantee health benefits. Here, we’ve rounded up the beers most likely to bring a health punch to the party.

Popping Bottles—The Ultimate Beer List

Yuengling Light

1. Yuengling Light Lager: Looking for a full-flavor lager that’s still light on calories? Search no further. Yuengling managed to combine the health benefits of a lager with a lower carb count. At only 99 calories, this is a solid selection for a healthier classic brew.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 3.8%
Calories: 99
Carbs: 9 grams

New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale

2. New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale: This newer brew skips the gluten and uses sorghum, corn, and raspberry puree malt to create a not-too-sweet, fruity brew with extra antioxidants (from the berries). Perfect for those looking to enjoy themselves while avoiding gluten. Bonus: New Planet donates a portion of sales from this beer to Colorado-based non-profits using the 3R philosophy—reduce, reuse, recycle.

Type: Ale
Alcohol Content: 5%
Calories: 160
Carbs: 17 grams

Abita Purple Haze Beer

3. Abita Purple Haze: Abita Purple Haze: Don’t enjoy the bitter taste of beer but still want to reap the heart-health benefits? Have no fear! Abita infused this brew with real raspberries to deliver a fruity aroma and a sweet taste. The berries pack an antioxidant punch and give the beer its namesake purplish hue.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 4.2%
Calories: 145
Carbs: 11 grams

Left Hand Good Juju

4. Left Hand Good Juju: Complete with a hint of fresh ginger (one of our favorite superfoods!), this unique ale combines unique herbs and spices to bring out a full flavor. This lighter-bodied brew is perfect for those that want full flavor without sacrificing their waistline.

Type: Ale
Alcohol Content: 4.5%
Calories: 131
Carbs: 12.1 grams

Guinness Draught

5. Guinness Draught: This dark Irish blend—famous for quenching thirsts on St. Patty’s day—is a classic beverage with a creamy, decadent flavor and a sneakily healthy twist! Packed with phenols, this super-dark staple brings the taste and feel of a stout with fewer carbohydrates and calories.

Type: Stout
Alcohol Content: 4%
Calories: 126
Carbs: 10 grams

Sam Adams Light Lager

6. Sam Adam’s Light Lager: Creating a light beer that still stands up to the Sam Adam’s taste was no easy task. Brewers stuck to the basics and invented a lighter calorie beer that didn’t sacrifice flavor, making this beer perfect for those looking to stay health-conscious without skimping on taste.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 4%
Calories: 119
Carbs: 9.7 grams

New Belgium Blue Paddle

7. New Belgium Blue Paddle: This brew packs the hops without expanding the waistline, since it’s relatively light in calories. Complete with a fruity, herbal aroma and a slightly bitter finish, this beer delivers a healthy wallop! Not to mention, it has some pretty awesome packaging.

Type: Pilsner (Lager)
Alcohol Content: 4.8%
Calories: 145
Carbs: 14 grams

Full Sail Session Lager

8. Full Sail Session Lager: This full-bodied, old-school brew is a far cry from bland mass-produced lagers. With a positively measly calorie count and plenty of flavor, this classic beer is perfect for any summer gathering or meal. Plus, it comes in adorable “stubby” bottles with sweet retro labels. What’s not to love?

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 5.1%
Calories: 135
Carbs: 10 grams

Butte Creek Organic IPA

9. Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale: Looking for an organic pale alethat is made free of potentially hazardous pesticides and chemical fertilizers but still tastes great? Look no further! Butte Creek has managed just that with this Indian pale ale.

Type: India Pale Ale
Alcohol Content: 6.4%
Calories: 201 (22 oz.)
Carbs: 1.9 grams

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Combining a heap of hops with slight hints of orange blossom is no small task. Sierra Nevada pulls it off with this award-winning brew.

Type: Pale Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.6%
Calories: 175
Carbs: 14.1 grams

*Note: All nutrition facts are based on a 12-ounce serving unless otherwise noted.

The Science Of Muscle Performance