Training complementary muscle groups in your workouts is a simple trick that took me years of experimenting to perfect. It is simple and obvious once you know the trick but few people actually use this knowledge when working out. I’ll save you lots of wasted time and energy in the gym by describing how to use training complementary muscle groups to your advantage. This will allow you to experience great strength gains, cardio burn, and incredible balance within your body.
Now, what does that mean- training complementary muscle groups? It means working out muscle groups that support one another, and that function together in the movement of the body.
Two great examples of complementary muscle groups: the abs and the lower back, as well as the quads and the hamstrings. Working them out together will allow you to reach your goals more effectively and efficiently.
When I train my core, I always start with an ab move, followed by a lower back move. I’ll knock out a solid set of crunches, and then immediately head to the back extension machine. When I do this, my heart rate stays elevated because I’m not resting in between exercises. Futhermore, I’ll feel the entire core getting stronger on both sides of my body (that means my abs AND my back – as opposed to just one part.) This will keep my body balanced and equally toned, and in this way I avoid injury for the long run since no part of my body will be weaker than another. Every muscle will be trained and strengthened consistently.
The same goes for the legs. I’ll hit the leg extension machine for the quads, and then right away move into the swiss ball hamstring exercise. This is a powerful combo for the legs, and one that’s integral to the Mission Lean training program. Again, you’re getting a great cardio workout because your heart rate is elevated, and training the complementary muscle groups. The front and back of your legs are feeling the burn, which helps you add strength and also stability in your body. Not to mention creating functional strength all around. So in your next workout try this trick by training complementary muscle groups, and reaping the results. Let’s get after it!
Jon Pearlman is a former #1 singles player for the the Harvard tennis team, two time All- Ivy athlete, ATP-ranked touring professional, and author of The Lean Body Manual. Jon’s experience as a top tennis player and his passion for fitness and nutrition has made him uniquely positioned to be an advocate and ambassador for the lean body.