The body is often divided into different muscular groupings, and deciding what muscle groups to train together is an essential part of any strength training regime.
No muscles are ever worked out all on their own. Smaller muscles are needed to support larger ones, while different groupings complement muscles in both functionality and appearance. Grouping your muscles together and working out with a combination of weights and booty resistance bands will help you to better focus and target your exercises while also giving you adequate days off for recovery.
Here are the best muscle group combinations to workout together in your strength training sessions!
Major muscle groupings
The human body has numerous muscles, but they are often divided up into several major muscle groupings that will work together and should be targeted together in a workout.
The primary muscle groupings are divided into the following areas:
Within these significant groupings, there are also minor groupings, which again can be targeted together. Multiple muscles make up the legs, including the calves, quads, and hamstrings. Your arm muscles include the forearms, biceps, and triceps, while the back comprises the rhomboids, traps, and lats.
All of these individual muscles work together, so there's no point working out just one muscle or even one group if you want a healthy and defined body. For that reason, it's important to work out different groupings on the same day, together.
For example, if you're working on your chest, you also need to think about your shoulders and arms, as these muscles often complement chest exercises. You don't need to think about your legs, though, so you can work these groupings on separate days of the week. Allow yourself rest days between your chest training and leg training.
Best parts of the body to workout together
There's no definitive list of groupings that should always be trained together. Some are obvious, such as leg muscles or arm muscles, but because everyone has their own training goals, a lot of it will come down to personal preference.
As an example, though, the following groupings do work well when trained together:
- Chest, shoulders, and triceps
- Back, biceps, and abs
- Hamstrings, calves, and glutes
You can put together strength training circuits to target the different muscle groupings in the same session. You can work out with weights or use resistance bands to warm-up or build strength and definition in multiple muscle groups.
Resistance bands help you engage specific muscles, which is excellent when you only want to hit your biceps and not your triceps. Resistance band exercises can be performed anywhere! Use them in the office, on the go, or at home, and as your strength improves, you can increase the strength of the band you workout against too.
Here are example exercises with resistance bands that will help you train specific muscle groupings together. Remember to stretch before commencing any strenuous activities, and add a short cooldown session after your strength training.
Target the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
1. Banded chest press
- Tie a long resistance band firmly to chest-level support.
- Face away from the support, and bring both ends of the band to either side of your body.
- Raise your arms to chest level.
- Push forward, away from your body with both arms, then slowly release back to the start.
2. Resistance band shoulder press
- Stand firmly in the center of a long resistance band, and hold the ends in both hands.
- Raise the resistance band to shoulder height.
- Raise your arms above you, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly lower and repeat.
3. Tricep extensions
- Stand with a long resistance band beneath your feet.
- Use both hands to pull the band behind your back until your arms are straight above your head.
- Lower the band by bending your elbows.
- Raise your arms again until straight.
Target the back, biceps, and abs.
1. Bent over back row
- Stand shoulder-width apart and loop a long resistance band beneath your feet.
- Hold either end of the band in either hand and slightly bend your knees.
- Lean forward, so your back is straight with your chest over your knees.
- Use your arms to pull the resistance band up towards your body to complete a 'row.'
2. Banded bicep curls
- Stand over the center of a long resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grab either end of the band, keeping your elbows locked at your side.
- Raise your forearms to your shoulders.
- Lower your forearms slowly.
3. Banded pallof press
- Attach a resistance band to sturdy support at chest height.
- Grab the loose end with both hands, then stand side-on to the support.
- Hold the band against your chest, then extend your arms to push the band away from you.
- Hold this position for 1 second.
- Return to the start position.
Target the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
1. Kickback with resistance band (hamstrings)
- Stand shoulder-width apart, and loop a resistance band around one foot.
- Hold the other end in your hands or tie the end to sturdy support at the floor level.
- Lean your upper body forward, then raise your banded foot off the floor and bend at the knee.
- Kickback and extend behind you.
- Repeat, then change legs.
2. Resistance band calf raises
- Stand over the center of a resistance band with your feet slightly apart.
- Raise the loose ends of the band up and over your head until your arms are straight.
- Hold the tension with your arms, while simultaneously contracting your calves to stand on your toes.
- Hold the position, then stand flat again.
3. Banded squat hold
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, loop a booty band around both thighs, just above your knees.
- Keep your back perfectly straight, and hold your arms out ahead for support.
- Lower your body, so you are in the squat position by bending your knees.
- Hold for as long as you can, then raise your body to the start position.
Muscle Group Workouts to Think About!
Figuring out the best muscle groupings to train together isn't as simple as dividing the body into different sections and applying exercises. Bodies react differently to various pressures and exertions, so it can take a little bit of trial and error to find out what combination works best for your body.
Most importantly, focusing on muscle groups to train together on each training day will give your other muscles time to recover while they aren't under stress. Resting is just as important as training!
Why not start training and implementing exercises by muscle group to see the results?