(CNN) — The human body has over 600 muscles and it is impossible to strengthen all of them. However, there are many that you can increase in strength, and this is essential to enjoying a healthy and active life.
Strong muscles help fight diabetes, improve cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and mental health, and reduce mortality, according to research. They are also essential for the well-being of the elderly, whose muscles atrophy with age.
For this reason, adults should do muscle-strengthening exercises for major muscle groups two or more days a week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (this is in addition exercise for at least 2 hours). and 30 minutes per week at moderate intensity).
Unfortunately, over 80% of adults do not meet the federal government’s muscle building guidelines. Additionally, strength trainees tend to work the same familiar muscles, such as biceps, triceps, hamstrings, and quads.
While this can be a great start, there are several often overlooked muscles that, if strengthened, can help prevent some common injuries and pains. These are five of them, with recommended exercises to incorporate into your workouts.
The gluteal muscles are a great help in daily activities. “The gluteal muscles help support and stabilize us as we walk, climb stairs, and go from sitting to standing,” says Amy Koch, clinical director of physical therapy at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. .
Strong glutes can also help reduce back pain, Koch explains, because they help move the pelvis, hips and core.
By developing pelvic stability, these muscles can also help prevent knee pain, as an unstable pelvis can put more force on the knee. Conversely, a weak buttock can lead to chronic lower back pain, which in turn can lead to degenerative disc disease.
Buttock bridge: Lie on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Press your heels into the floor while lifting your butt in the air. Squeeze your glutes and hold the position for two seconds; then lower slowly.
The obliques are part of the core and are side or waist muscles that attach to the spine. They help flex and rotate the body from side to side and are essential for proper spinal alignment and stability. If the obliques are ignored, back and hip problems can develop.
“Most people think of working their ‘wash,’ but the obliques are also really important because they’re a complete stabilizer for your body,” said Cat Kom, certified personal trainer and founder of Studio SWEAT in San Diego.
Abdominal bird-dog: kneel on all fours. Straighten your right arm and left leg, keeping your abs tight. Return to the starting position and switch sides.
Having a firm grip makes it easier for you to lift and carry things, and it helps you with many daily activities, like opening a jar or holding a racket, for example. If your regular activities don’t involve heavy lifting and carrying, your grip may weaken over time. It can also be negatively affected by injuries to the hand, wrist, shoulder or neck, says Zach Webster, a physical therapist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Poor grip strength can reduce the amount of weight you can carry and how long you can hold it. It can even affect fine motor skills.
“People come in and say they have trouble putting on a dress shirt or a bra, or they drop things more often, because they don’t have the ability to hold their grip,” Webster says of his patients. “Fortunately, you can build your grip just by picking up something heavy and walking around with it.”
Farmer’s charge: Take a dumbbell in each hand and, with your hands hanging by your sides, stand up and take at least 10 steps in a straight line.
The four muscles that surround the shoulder joint make up the rotator cuff, which helps power arm and shoulder movement. Since the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, it is easy to injure it through misuse or overuse. People most prone to rotator cuff injuries are those who play a lot of baseball or tennis, or who do jobs that require repetitive motions overhead, such as construction workers.
Standing Row: take a rubber band with a yard loop and tie it to a doorknob or other stable object. Hold the band with your elbow bent and out to the side. Slowly pull your elbow back, keeping your arm at your side, and return to the starting position.
The rear deltoids sit below the back of the shoulders and help maintain an upright posture. They are also just in front of the pecs. According to Kom, many people work the pecs but ignore the rear delts, which can lead to muscle imbalance, injury, and slouched posture.
“We spend a lot of time driving, in front of the computer, and doing things in that bent position, which shortens the front deltoids and pecs,” Kom says. “That’s why it’s important to lengthen them, and a good way to do that is to strengthen the rear deltoids and the traps.”
Back raise with seated dumbbells: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, sit down and lean forward. Stay in this position as you raise your arms to shoulder height, then slowly lower them.