Muscles, Splits, & Exercises

WIP, check this occasionally

Lifting is much, much more complex than people think it is. To most people, it's just "move weights and build muscle". However, there are so many different factors that go into lifting that it's very, very hard to do everything completely optimally. And you should never strive for such; all you need to do is know what to do and what not to do.

This often deters many beginners; as they begin, they just do the exercises they're told. But as they begin to move into more advanced stuff, people can easily be overwhelmed by all of the information. As such, this is an organized introduction to everything needed for lifting.

The Groups

Generally, the "muscles" are split up into a few different groups: legs, arms, shoulders, core, back, and chest. Each of these is further subdivided into even more groups: thighs, calves, abs, obliques, biceps, triceps, forearms, and upper, lower, and mid chest and back. Each of the main groups generally perform different tasks, and the subgroups as well.

Legs

Doesn't take a genius to guess what these do. They move your knees, pelvis, and feet. Pretty simple.

Quads

Your quads, or quadriceps, are the big muscles located on the front of your thighs. And when I say big, I mean it. The quadriceps are some of the largest muscles in your entire body; and this is reflected in their strength. The amount of force that can be exerted by your quadriceps is absolutely incredible. And it makes sense for them to naturally be so insanely strong; they're constantly being used to hold your entire body up. And you're using them whenever you sit down, walk, run, kick, etc, meaning they get tons of natural exercise.

The quads serve to extend the knees outward.

Hamstrings

The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of your thighs. Unlike the quadriceps--which, as the name implies, consist of 4 muscles each of various shapes--the hamstring is generally thought of as 3 long, equally sized muscles.

The main jobs of the hamstrings are to extend your hip (i.e. standing straight up), and flexing your knee. These can be worked with leg curls and deadlifts, especially Romanian deadlifts.

Calves

Literally just your lower leg. Consists of 2 main muscles: the actual "calf" at the back, and the shin in front. The whole of your lower leg does one thing: move your ankles and feet. Your shins rotate your ankles up (and as such are used when you raise the ball of your foot), and the calves rotate them down (and as such are used when you raise your ankles). It's pretty hard to work the shin directly, but the calf is easy, through exercises like calf raises.

You also have two more options for getting good calves. For one, you can play soccer. Or get parents with good calf genetics, get fat, and do calf raises.

Chest

The chest is divided into 3 separate groups; the upper, lower, and middle chest. All of the chest serves one purpose: push the arms out in front of the body. However, each goes in a different direction. When you push out perpendicular to your body, the mid chest is used. When you push at an upward angle, the upper chest is used. When you push at a downward angle, the lower chest is used.

As such, the exercises are pretty easy to understand; bench presses and pushups can work all 3, by either doing them at an incline (upper chest), flat (mid chest), or a decline (lower chest). Dips also work the lower chest.

Though this is sort of misleading. All parts of the chest are used equally with a flat bench press, so if you want to have a round, evenly-shaped chest, do just flat benches.

Back

Your back is used for a LOT of movements--far more than you might think. It's used in such a diverse range of movements that even the individual small groups are hard to define for movements.

Traps

The traps dominate your upper back. They serve almost solely for pulling--they work directly with the scapulae and thus rear delts, assisting them in pulling, and therefore, exercises like rows, face pulls, and pull ups work the traps. There are some accompanying muscles next to it like the teres, but they're irrelevant as they do the exact same thing.

Lats

The lats are located towards the lower middle of your back. They serve a wide variety of purposes; rotation/extension of the shoulder, extension/flexion of the lower spine, and pulling of the arm are the main ones. As such, they can be worked with exercises like pulldowns, pullups, rows, and deadlifts.

Erector Spinae

Rotates and straightens your back. That's it. It stretches from the middle to lower back. Many exercises will work them; rows, deadlifts, pullups, planks, even squats. Don't really need to change your routine to work it.

Arms

Wonder where these are? Your arm's purposes are probably pretty clear, too. Lower arm controls your hands, upper arm moves your elbows.

Biceps

The muscle on top of your upper arm. Used whenever you're pulling something: curls will isolate them, and they're worked with exercises like rows, pullups, and pulldowns as well.

Triceps

The muscles on the bottom of your upper arm... who would've guessed? These do pushing: so push-ups, benches, etc. will work them. You can isolate the triceps by doing close-grip benches or push-ups.

Forearms

Control your wrist and fingers. The posterior (bottom) forearms "flex" your wrists upward; and can easily be worked through wrist extensions (basically, holding a dumbbell and flexing your wrist up). The anterior (top) forearms "extend" your wrist downward (assuming the palm is facing down); they can be worked with forearm curls, which have the additional benefit of working your finger muscles directly.

Shoulders

Your shoulders mainly serve to connect the arms to the back and chest. They do some movements on their own, though. They're separated into 3 groups: front, mid, and rear delts.

Front Delts

Located on the front of your shoulder (really?). Used whenever you raise/push something in front of you. You DO NOT need to work these separately; they are already worked extensively through bench presses and overhead presses.

Mid Delts

The meaty part of the shoulder on the side/top. Used whenever you move your arms to your side. Worked indirectly through bench presses, but unlike your front delts, you should directly work it: arnie presses and lateral raises will work them very well.

Rear Delts

Back of the shoulder. Used whenever you are moving your arms back, like when you're pulling something. Standard rows (esp wide grip) and reverse flyes will work these enough.

Core

Your core consists of your abs and obliques. Has a lot of functions.

Upper Abs

Located right below your ribcage. Mostly functions to flex the lumbar spine (effectively, curving your upper back forward); i.e. when doing crunches. Levitation crunches will crush these.

Lower Abs

Right below the upper abs (wonder why?), and are a sort of V-shape. They primarily function to move and rotate the entire pelvis, and work directly with the hamstrings and erector spinae to move your legs and straighten your spine. It's important to work this muscle; it is crucial for good posture. Exercises like reverse crunches and pelvic thrusts will work these.

Obliques

Pretty much just balance your abdomen and nothing else. They're those muscles on the side of your abdomen. They are directly used in almost every single exercise that involves any movement of the abdomen or legs. If you want to work them in isolation, farmer's walks and reverse crunches will seriously target them.

Others

Glutes

Yeah. Glutes primarily serve as a hip extender and spinal erector. And yes, you heard that right, there are 4 entire muscle groups dedicated to keeping your spine straight. Glutes are worked with a ton of exercises; {Romanian,} deadlifts, standing split/traditional squats, etc. They can be specifically targeted with wide-stance Bulgarian split squats.

The glutes are traditionally placed in the same group as the back; but they aren't a part of the back, nor the legs. Their function is a combination of the spinal erector and hamstring--it is connected to them, after all. Either way, the correct group for the glutes is... the glutes.

Neck

Saying the neck is its own group is kind of inaccurate; most of the neck is actually a part of the traps. It does have a few unique muscles though, particularly on the front, so it's usually considered a separate group. You can just do neck curls for these: put a plate on your head/neck and start moving it up and down.

Jaw

Who doesn't love a strong jaw? While you generally do not need to exercise the jaws, it is very easy to build strong jaws. Eat tough cuts of steak like flank, eat more meat and solid food in general--particularly foods that require a lot of chewing--chew on some gum (mastic gum works particularly well as it's very tough; my favorite is Greco Gum. Yes, it starts out bitter, but it gets better after a while, and feels amazing too!), and burn some cheek fat. To accelerate growth, you can do various jaw exercises--look them up though, I'm not listing them.

Let's also not forget mewing. Good tongue posture is crucial to good face and jaw muscle strength, size, and even attractiveness.

Splits

One of the most difficult parts about getting into lifting is by far knowing what to do. Splits are one of the hardest parts of starting. I've seen dozens of people who want to get into lifting, but simply can't, because they can't figure out the splits.

Progressive Splitting

The most effective way to create splits is to make your days progressively harder. Generally, experienced lifters will do each group twice a week. However, when you start out, this is a bad idea, as it's very intensive. Starting out, I highly recommend you do one muscle group per day, additionally working the glutes with your legs. Your starting splits can look something like this:

This is obviously not the most ideal split schedule. But when you start out, you must ensure you are working each of your muscles very well--and that's what this split schedule is supposed to do.

something something overlap

Better split twice a week etc. please finish this thank you.

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