Forgotten muscles workout

Exercise physiologist Neil Russell is here to help you target those often forgotten muscle groups.
Published 3 December 2015

Forgotten muscles workout


There are certain muscles we always focus on when exercising, but it’s important not to neglect other muscle groups for postural reasons, injury prevention and overall body shaping.

What you need

Exercise balls are sold at sporting outlets and online, but you can still do this workout if you don’t have one. You’ll also need a 5-10kg dumbbell or a large bottle of water and a yoga mat or towel.

The plan

These exercises focus on triceps, obliques, core and glutes while strengthing other muscles, too.

1. Overhead triceps extensions

Works: Arms and core

How-to: Sit on a ball, or stand if you don’t own one, and look straight ahead. Hold the end of a dumbbell, or heavy bottle of water, with both hands above your head, making sure you have a firm grip. Keeping your elbows pointing forward, lower the weight down behind your head until it gently touches your upper back. Squeeze your elbows in and slowly lift back up to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times.

Overhead triceps extensions

2. Oblique crossover

Works: Obliques (side abdominals), core, arms and shoulders

How-to: Start in a plank position, with your hands flat and the balls of your feet on the ground. Keeping your shoulders directly over your wrists, bend one knee across towards the outside of the opposite elbow. Maintaining a strong plank pose, return your foot to the starting position then repeat on the other side. Complete 10 times on each side.

Oblique crossover

3. Alternate arm and leg lift

Works: Upper and lower back, glutes and shoulders

How-to: Kneel on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Look towards the floor. Bend and touch one elbow to the opposite knee, then extend them as straight as possible. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating sides until you’ve completed 10 on each side.

Alternate arm and leg lift

4. Single leg bridges

Works: Hamstrings, glutes, thighs and core

How-to: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Lift one leg off the ground, then as you squeeze your bottom, slowly raise your pelvis towards the ceiling, rolling up your spine one vertebrae at a time until your back is at a 45-degree angle to the floor, then roll your spine back down. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Single leg bridges

5. Cobra

Works: Back and glutes How-to: Lie with your tummy on the ball – or on the ground if you don’t have a ball – with your arms on either side of it (like you’re hugging it). Keep your feet nice and wide for balance. Slowly bring your arms out to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades back and down, with your thumbs pointing up to the sky, as you lift your chest to a straight position. Pause for 2 seconds and slowly lower yourself back to the start position. Repeat 10 times.