The Best Solution for Your Workout
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 which muscle groups to workout together and how to use it 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.
What Is the Best Way To Structure Your Workout?
There is no one way that you should structure your workout. The types of exercises and the number of sets and reps depends on what you want to achieve and the current condition of your body. Complementary muscle groups optimize your workout, but whether your focus for the day is your lower or upper body is up to you and your trainers. Muscle groups are generally divided into:
Many people find it best to train muscle groups that are close together. I’ll explain how I like to structure my training. 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.
Exercises for the Abs and the Lower Back
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. Furthermore, 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.
Exercises for the Quads and the Hamstrings
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!
Start Each Day as if You Had a Week’s Rest
An added benefit of training complementary muscle groups is that you give your other muscles time to rest. Overtraining will cause your performance to plateau and can be the source of long-term health problems. Even basic exercises, when you know which muscle groups to workout, will keep you fit and lean. Add to that a structured meal regiment and your body will feel like it never has before.
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.