WORK THE BODY
Click on the highlighted muscle groups below to see an animation showing you how to exercise the different muscles. Contact Kaywan to really learn how to work your body, get fit and get your body ripped!
Click on a muscle group to the left.
The pectoralis major has four actions which are mostly responsible for movement of the shoulder joint. The major actions are; lifting the arm in front, pulling the arms in towards the body, medially rotating the arms and pushing away from the body. Secondly, it adducts the humerus, as when flapping the arms.
It has two different parts which are responsible for different actions. The clavicular part is close to the deltoid muscle (shoulder) and contributes to flexion, horizontal adduction, and inward rotation of the humerus. The sternal costal part is work opposite to the clavicular part, contributing to downward and forward movement of the arm and inward rotation when accompanied by adduction.
The pectoralis major is also responsible for keeping the arm attached to your body.
Common exercises for the pectorals are; push-ups, bench press and dumbbell fly's.
The trapezius is the major muscles that act at the shoulder girdle, mostly helping to stabilise scapular base from which the arm operates. The major actions the trapezius is responsible for are: raising and lowering your shoulders, extending your neck, and moving the shoulders forwards and backwards. The trapezius is used for throwing, while working with the deltoid (shoulder).
The upper fibers shrug shoulder and aid in suspension of shoulder girdle. The middle fibbers aid in adduction and rotation of the inferior angle of the shoulder blade. The upper and lower trapezius fibers also work in tandem with the serratus anterior (muscles on the upper ribs) to upwardly rotate the shoulder blade, such as during an overhead press. When activating together, the upper and lower fibers also assist the middle fibers with scapular retraction/adduction. The lower fibbers, together with the serratus anterior, clamp the shoulder blade to chest wall so that it cannot rotate or slip sideways.
The upper portion of the trapezius can be developed by elevating the shoulders. Common exercises for this movement are shoulder shrugs and upright rows.
Middle fibers are developed by pulling shoulder blades together. This adduction also uses the upper/lower fibers too.
The lower part can be developed by drawing the shoulder blades downward while keeping the arms almost straight and stiff.
The triceps brachii muscle is the large muscle on the back of the upper limb of the arm. It is the muscle mostly responsible for extension of the elbow joint (straightening of the arm), and extending the arm at the shoulder. Latin for 'three headed arm muscle', it has three bundles of muscle of different origins, joining together into a tendon, at the elbow. It originates just below the socket of the scapula (shoulder blade) and at two distinct areas of the humerus, the bone of the upper arm. It extends downward and inserts on (attaches to) the upper part of the ulna, in the forearm.
The triceps work opposite the biceps and brachialis muscles. It can also fixate the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements, e.g., when writing. The lateral head of the triceps is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements. With its origin on the shoulder blade, the long head also acts on the shoulder joint and is also involved in retroversion and adduction of the arm.
Common exercises for the triceps are; pushdowns, extensions and dips.
The biceps brachii, as the name implies is a two-headed muscle. The biceps lie on the from of upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. Both heads arise on the shoulder blade and join to form a single muscle which is attached to the upper forearm. While the biceps crosses both the shoulder and elbow joints, its main function is to flex the elbow and make the palm and forearm face forward.
The biceps brachii also functions as an important flexor of the forearm, particularly when the forearm is supinated. Functionally, this action is performed when lifting an object, such as a bag of groceries or when performing a bicep curl. When the forearm is in pronation (the palm faces the ground), the brachialis, brachioradialis, and supinator function (not the bicep brachia) to flex the forearm, with minimal contribution from the biceps brachii.
Several weaker functions occur at the shoulder joint. The biceps brachii weakly assists in forward flexion of the shoulder joint (bringing the arm forward and upwards). It may also contribute to adduction (bringing the arm out to the side) when the arm is externally (or laterally) rotated. The short head of the biceps brachii also assists with horizontal adduction (bringing the arm across the body) when the arm is internally (or medially) rotated. The long head of the biceps brachii, due to its attachment to the shoulder blade, assists with stabilisation of the shoulder joint when a heavy weight is carried in the arm.
The deltoid muscle form the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is made up of three distinct sets of muscle heads.
The front deltoid head arises from most of the front border and upper surface of the lateral third of the collar bone. The front deltoid origin lies adjacent to the lateral fibers of the pectorals major muscle as do the end tendons of both muscles. These muscle heads are closely related and only a small intertwined space, through which the cephalic vien passes, prevents the two muscles from forming one muscle mass. The middle deltoid muscle arises from the superior surface of the acromium process (a bone attached near the shoulder joint). The rear deltoid arise from the lower lip of the rear border of the spine and shoulder blade.
When all the deltoid heads contract simultaneously, the deltoid is the prime mover of arm abduction along the frontal plane. The arm must be medially rotated for the deltoid to have maximum effect. The deltoid works opposite the pectorals major and latissimus dorsi during arm adduction.
The front deltoids are involved in shoulder abduction when the shoulder is externally rotated. The front deltoid is weak in strict across action but assists the pectorals major during shoulder cross action / shoulder flexion (elbow slightly inferior to shoulders). The anterior deltoid also works in tandem with the subscapularis (muscle on the shoulder blade, close to the shoulder joint), pecs and lats to internally (medially) rotate the humerus.
The rear deltoids are strongly involved in sideway extension particularly as the latissimus dorsi is very weak in strict sideway extension. Other sideway extensors, the infraspinatus and teres minor, also work in tandem with the rear deltoid as external (lateral) rotators, antagonists to strong internal rotators like the pecs and lats. The posterior deltoid is also the primary shoulder hyperextensor.
The middle deltoid performs basic shoulder abduction when the shoulder is internally rotated, and perform shoulder sideway abduction when the shoulder is externally rotated.
An important function of the deltoid is preventing the dislocation of the shoulder head when a person carries heavy loads. It also ensures a precise and rapid movement of the shoulder joint needed for hand and arm manipulation. The middle fibers are in the best position to do this, though like arm movements movements, it is assisted simultaneously by the rear and front deltoids.
The latissimus dorsi, meaning 'broadest muscle of the back', is the larger, flat muscle on the back, rear to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its middle back region. The lat is attached directly to the spine, which means it can influence the movement of the shoulder blade, like the downward movement of a chin-up.
The latissimus dorsi is responsible for extension and adduction, sideways extension, flexion from an extended position, and medial rotation of the shoulder joint. It also works with other muscles in extension and lateral flexion of the lumbar spine.
The Latissimus dorsi muscle can be trained with a variety of different exercises. Some of these include: Vertical pulling movements such as pull-downs and chin-ups, horizontal pulling movements such as bent over row, rowing exercises, and Dead-lifts. Lifting with control can help reduce chances of injury.
The abdominal muscles provide movement and support to the torso and help in the breathing process. Additionally these muscles protect the inner organs. Also, together with the back muscles they provide postural support and are important in defining the form.
The transverse abdominus muscle is the deepest muscle, so it cannot be touched from the outside, but it can greatly affect the body posture. The internal obliques are also deep and also affect body posture. Both of them are involved in rotation and lateral flexion of the spine and are used to bend and support the spine from the front. The external obliques are more superficial and they are also involved in rotation and lateral flexion of the spine. Also they stabilise the spine when upright. The Rectus abdominus is the muscle that very fit people develop into the 6-pack ab look. The main work of the abdominal muscles is to bend the spine forward when contracting.
When properly exercised, the abdominals contribute to improve posture and balance, reduce the chances of back pain, reduce the severity of back pain, protect against injury by responding efficiently to stresses, help avoid some back surgeries, and help healing from a back problem or after spine surgery. Also, when strengthened, the abdominal muscles provide flexibility as well.
The abdominal muscles can be exercised by general body strength work outs, or they can be targeted by exercises such as, stomach crunches and leg raises.
Lower Back Muscles
The lower back muscles support upper body weight, protect body tissues and stabilise the spine.
The deep back muscles are erector spinae and transversospinalis. Erector spinae supports the entire spinal column and attach from the sacrum (large triangular bone in the lower spine) to the all five lumbar vertebrae and the bottom two thoracic vertabrae. The deepest back muscles, transversospinalis, include three layers, starting with the deepest: rotatores, multifidus and semispinalis. These layers stabilise the spine and help each vertebra move in a precise manner.
The extensor muscles are attached to the back of the spine and enable us to stand and lift objects. These muscles include the large paired muscles in the lower back (erector spine). This large muscular and tendinous mass varies in size and structure at different parts of the vertebral column. In the sacral region it is narrow and pointed, and at its origin chiefly tendinous in structure. In the lumbar region it is larger, and forms a thick fleshy mass which, on being followed upward, is subdivided into three columns; these gradually diminish in size as they ascend to be inserted into the vertebrae and ribs. Some of its fibers are continuous with the fibers of origin of the Gluteous Maximus.
The quadriceps, quadriceps extensor, or just quads, is a large muscle group that includes the four prevailing muscles on the front of the thigh. It is the great extensor muscle of the knee, forming a large fleshy mass which covers the front and sides of the femur.
It is subdivided into four separate heads, which have different names: Rectus Femoris occupies the middle of the thigh, covering most of the other three quadriceps muscles. It originates on the ilium (the uppermost and largest bone of the pelvis). It is named from its straight course.
The other three lie deep to rectus femoris and originate from the body of the femur, which they cover from the top of the femur:
Vastus Lateralus is on the outer side of the thigh. Vastus Medialis is on the inner part thigh. Vastus intermedius lies between vastus lateralis and vastus medialis on the front of the thigh), but deep to the rectus femoris. Typically, it cannot be seen.
All four parts of the quadriceps muscle ultimately insert into the top of the tibia (one of two main bones in the leg below the knee). This is via the patella (knee cap), where the quadriceps tendon becomes the patella tendon, which then attaches to the tibia.
All four quadriceps are powerful extensors of the knee joint. They are crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. Because rectus femurs attaches to the ilium, it is also a flexor of the hip. This action is crucial to walking or running as it swings the leg forward into the next step. The quadriceps, specifically the vastus medialis, plays the important role of stabilising the patella and the knee joint.
The quadriceps is trained by several leg exercises. Effective exercises include the squat and leg-press. The leg extension exercise will target just the quadricep muscles.
The triceps surae (from Latin caput and sura. "three-headed calf [muscle]") is a pair of muscles located at the calf - the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles both insert into the calcaneus, the bone of the heel of the human foot, and form the major part of the muscle of the back part of the lower leg, commonly known as the calf muscle.
The triceps surae is connected to the foot through the Achilles tendon, and has 3 heads deriving from the 2 major masses of muscle.
The superficial portion (the gastrocnemius) gives off 2 heads attaching to the base of the femur directly above the knee. The deep mass of muscle (the soleus) forms the remaining head which attaches to the superior posterior area of the tibia. The triceps surae is innervated by the tibial nerve, specifically, nerve roots L5-S2.
Contraction of the triceps surae induce plantar flexion and stabilisation of the ankle complex in the transverse plane. Functional activities include primarily stabilisation during movement like walking and running and power jumping.
Exercises to train the calf muscles are standing and seated calf raises.
The Hamstrings are comprised of three separate muscles: the Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus.
These muscles originate just underneath the Gluteus Maximus (buttocks) on the pelvic bone and attach on the tibia (top of one of the lower leg bone).
The Hamstrings are primarily fast-twitch muscles, responding to low reps and powerful movements.
The hamstrings cross and act upon two joints - the hip and the knee. The primary functions of the Hamstrings are knee flexion (bringing the heel towards the buttocks) and hip extension (moving the leg to the rear). Semitendinosus and semimembranosus extend the hip when the trunk is fixed; they also flex the knee and medially (inwardly) rotate the lower leg when the knee is bent. The long head of the biceps femoris extends the hip as when beginning to walk; both short and long heads flex the knee and laterally (outwardly) rotates the lower leg when the knee is bent.
The hamstrings play a crucial role in many daily activities, such as, walking, running, jumping, and controlling some movement in the trunk. In walking, they are most important as working against the quadriceps in the deceleration of knee extension.
In strength training, squats, knee curls and the stiff legged dead-lift are combined with other lower body exercises to develop the hamstrings.
Stretch the hamstring by performing the "sit and reach".