Table of Contents
- Working out
- Muscle groups
- What muscle groups to workout together?
Regular exercise is something that many people engage in for the benefits it gives to their physical fitness and health. Many more look and aspire to start on the path of their fitness journey by getting into exercising. Once you start working out, you will begin to see and feel the benefits that consistent physical activity can have on you. Both physically and mentally. As you continue pushing forward and become more experienced, you may want to get more into the nitty-gritty details of physical fitness. Now we don’t mean that everyone who workout will become a student of Biomechanics and Anatomy, but when you start becoming more serious you eventually do acquire some sort of understanding of the human body and how it works, helping you to achieve your fitness goals. Here we will go over what muscle groups to workout together to achieve different goals. But before we get into what muscle groups to workout together, let’s first look at some basic concepts of working out.
Before one starts to understand what muscle groups to workout together, let’s discuss working out first.
When we hear “workout”, the idea of performing the exercise to build our physique and stay healthy comes to mind. Of course, this is true, but if one is a beginner or not very familiar with working out and physical fitness, it stops there. It’s a little more nuanced than that, and depending on your goal, what you do in a workout could vary greatly from person to person as the objectives that they wish to achieve from their training are different.
That’s an important word, training. If we have long-term fitness goals in mind and want to see lasting change in ourselves we will have to treat it such. Consistency is key and as much as possible you have to stick with whatever training routines you or a personal trainer has set for you. We hope not to labor the point too much, but especially for people who are new to exercise, the idea of committing to a new routine and lifestyle can be the hardest hurdle to cross. This is why we stress that you must first be sure that you can commit if you want to see changes. For more experienced individuals the question may become what muscle groups to workout together?
We can generally group exercise into three broad categories. These categories are aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, and flexibility exercise. Before we get into what muscle groups to workout together, let’s quickly go over the difference between the three.
Aerobic exercises are physical exercises that are intended to increase cardiovascular endurance. It does this by using the large muscle groups of the body to increase oxygen use. Some examples of aerobic exercise include running, swimming, dancing, and hiking.
Anaerobic exercises are strength exercises, to increase muscle mass and bone density. Anaerobic exercises include strength and resistance training such as push-ups, squats, and weight training.
Flexibility exercises are meant to increase joint flexibility and lengthen muscles. The ultimate goal is to increase the range of motion and reduce the chances of injury during intense physical activity.
With this in mind, it is essential to cater your workout to your goals and what parts of your physique and physical capabilities you are looking to develop. For this article on what the best groups of muscles to workout together are, we will be looking into some of the mechanics of Anaerobic exercises.
Before we can answer what muscle groups to workout together, we will first set up some context about the muscle groups of the human body. On average our muscles makeup about 40% of our body weight and are responsible for contracting and moving all of our body parts. With over 600 different muscles in our body, it can be hard to keep track of them. Luckily for our purposes, we don’t need to, but we can identify the different muscle groups so that we can better target certain ones during training. Knowing the functions and right exercises to use for each muscle group could see a dramatic increase in results for you in your workout. It can even help you on what muscle groups to workout together.
There are few ways that we can classify our skeletal muscle groups. Here we have chosen to divide them into five (5) major groups that can be further subdivided into specific muscles. These are the chest muscles, back muscles, arm and shoulder muscles, abdominal muscles, and leg muscles.
The main part of our chest is made up of the pectoral muscles. These are made up of the pectoralis major and minor. Our chest muscles are responsible for assisting in many common movements, especially relating to our shoulder joints.
The back is a very complicated group of muscles that work together to help us achieve many different kinds of physical activity. It is divided into five more subgroups of muscles. These are; the Latissimus Dorsi or Lats that stretch from our back to sides behind the arms; the Rhomboid which is a triangular-shaped muscle on our upper backs; the Trapezius or traps, that are located along the back of the shoulders and connect to our neck; the Teres Muscle which are underneath the lats; and the Spinal erectors that rotate and provide stability to our backs.
Arm and shoulder muscles
Our Arm muscles can be subdivided into three groups. These are the; Biceps, which are essential in doing a lifting motion. They are located in the front of the upper arm. Next is the Triceps in the back of our upper arms. These allow for the straightening of the elbow joint and stabilizing our shoulders. Lastly, there are the Deltoids or delts. These are the shoulder muscles, responsible for side movements in the shoulder joint.
Many people’s favorite, the abs. The abdominal muscles are responsible for the stability and movement of our core. It also plays a vital role in protecting our internal organs. The movements of our abs provide the power in many activities that require us to swing or turn. Aside from these our abdominal muscles also include the obliques, which are on the sides. They are used for lateral movements of the core and are vital for maintaining good posture.
It should be pretty obvious what leg muscles are for. We can subdivide this group into four large muscles. These are; the Hamstrings, which are a very large muscle on the upper rear of your thighs, and are mostly used for actions that propel us forwards and bend our knees. Next, there are the Gluteals, the muscles in your butt. These are the largest skeletal muscles in the human body and are key in moving our legs and keeping balance.
Next are the Quadriceps or quads, which is a group of four large muscles in the front of the thigh. Lastly, we have the Gastrocnemius, commonly called the calves. These of course are essential in the actions of walking, running, jumping, and more.
Now that you’re well-versed with all the major muscles, it’s time to look at what muscle groups to workout together.
What muscle groups to workout together?
Now with the foundational information out of the way it is time to address the question presented in the title, what muscle groups should you workout together? Well like mentioned earlier it will be anaerobic exercises that will be used to successfully achieve hypertrophy (muscle-building). As the different groups have different functions, a variety of exercises will be needed to engage the most amount of muscles. It is important to understand this when asking what muscle groups to workout together.
Best muscle group combinations to workout together
As the title suggests, let’s look at the best muscle group combinations to workout together. The order in which we workout the muscles is important because after training we need rest, and during that time we can focus on other groups in subsequent workout sessions. Doing it in the wrong sequence can be detrimental to your overall gains. So to be the most efficient we have to make sure that our exercises engage muscles that complement each other.
A big mistake many gym-goers make is hitting two main muscle groups in the same workout. This is a problem because when going full intensity in the training of one muscle group, the other that was also engaged in the workout can no longer perform at peak capacity when you are going to start training the other.
Of course, no exercise can be done in isolation, activating only one muscle. All our muscles work together to perform movements, but to stimulate the most gains in both groups of muscles it could be better to work all out in one major group (chest, back, and legs.) then split the rest of your session into targeting two smaller muscle groups (biceps, calves, and abs). These are some of the best muscle groups to workout together. Now that you know what muscle groups to work together with, let’s look at a workout plan to help you get going.
Workout plan muscle groups
If you’re wondering what muscle groups should I workout together, here is a great workout plan. Generally, it’s a good idea to schedule your workouts in a three-day split. That is, you are working for three different major muscle groups on different days of the week. One each day, with a rest day in between. Of course, depending on where you are in your fitness journey and your general athletic level, you may want to adjust with more rest or lower intensity workouts.
Even for a beginner, a three-day split can be a good idea, because it helps you set into a routine. You can start with less intense versions of the exercises, the important part is to get your form right before moving up.
3 day split example
So to answer what muscle groups to workout together, here we have laid out an example three-day split workout routine for the major muscle groups that can help you get started in maximizing your gains. Depending on your personal goals and preferences, you can change it around as needed. Because you might be training for a specific look or activity, you can focus on certain groups more, or if you are training for general fitness you might want to have a more balanced regimen.
Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
For the first day, you can focus on exercises for the chest, shoulder, and triceps. These groups of muscles have many related movements and complementary functions that you can take advantage of by choosing some good exercises to work them. If you do intense training with this group, you can opt to rest for a week before training them again.
Some exercises you can do are:
- Incline Chest Press
- Decline Chest Press
- Dumbbell Flat Bench Flys
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- Barbell bench presses
- French presses
- Face Pulls
Day 2: Back, Abs, and Biceps
The back and abs are a good one to hit next as you move down from your chest and shoulders. The back and abs also help make your form better as they are essential in keeping a stable core. Be sure to exercise both the flexion of these muscles and resisting flexion as this is needed to keep a stable core. Together with this, you can hit your Biceps in isolation since you just trained your triceps the previous day.
Some example exercises include:
- Wide grip pull-down
- Crossbody dumbbell hammer curl
- Rowing (reverse grip and upright)
- Overhead bicep curls
- Tricep rope pushdown
- EZ bar skull crusher
- Bent-over row
- EZ bar curl
Day 3: Legs
Now for leg day. A lot of guys skip leg day because it takes a lot of effort with the big compound movements, and progress isn’t as noticeable as with your upper body. If you want to do explosive movements with your legs you have to train them and build strength in the muscles you have in your lower body.
Some example exercises include:
- Barbell back squat
- Leg extension
- Dumbbell split squat
- Calf raises
These are some of the good muscle groups to work together answering your impending question of what muscle groups to workout together. In our example, we showed a three-day workout split. There are however other ways you could go about it with different workout splits, like two-day, four-day, or six-day routines. Many people undergo the 5-day workout routine for weight loss and muscle gain with 2 days of rest.
Create a simple muscle group workout chart where you can start to note down the exercises you do, the muscles you target throughout the week, the muscle group workout schedule, and the number of reps you have accomplished. Keep this chart and fill in the details every day. Every month, go back to the first day you started and compare how far you have come along.
We did not include the number of repetitions or sets that you should do in the sample exercises, because it depends on you and where you’re at. If you are experienced, you don’t need us to tell you how many you should do, and if you are not, just do as many as you can. The important part of getting hypertrophy is doing it until failure. That is when you can no longer contract that muscle to perform the movement.
Please keep in mind that this is our suggestion to you, in the end, you determine your regimen and routines. Our guide simply aims at helping you understand what muscle groups to workout together, the combination of exercises and reps depends on you.
So when asked what muscle groups to workout together generally it goes; chest, shoulders, and triceps; back, abs, and biceps; then legs. In the end, though it is still important to talk to a personal trainer at your local gym because they will have a better idea of what can work for you if you are just starting. This is because they can see you and assess what you need to do to achieve your goals, and help you find out what muscle groups to workout together.
One point that we’d like to hammer home one last time is consistency. You’ll get the most gains if you keep at it and stay determined. We hope you now have a better idea of which muscle groups to workout together after reading this.