We commonly get the question from someone who wants to tone up their arms or get six-pack abs! Maybe there is a bit of cellulite on their thighs. We know you’ve heard this before but training specific muscle groups typically doesn’t work and in fact, it can be dangerous.
You might say that you’ve bought the Ab Trainer, the Ab Roller, the Ab Blaster, and the Magic Ab Destroyer, and on and on; so you realize that training specific muscle groups doesn’t work but how can it be dangerous? That’s a good question with a simple answer.
When you attempt to overdevelop one area of your body, you can put additional strain on other areas of your body. It works in much of the same way as the illegal use of steroids. I saw with my own eyes an injury that happened to a guy that was abusing steroids. As he was bench pressing some weights, the ligaments and tendons that held his pec muscle to his chest came loose and rolled up to his shoulder joint. It was a gruesome scene.
With the abuse of steroids, the muscle develops much more quickly than the support structures and soft tissues. Without the use of steroids, the connective tissue should develop at the same rate as the muscle but when you bypass this with the use of steroids, you get an imbalance.
Everyone knows that you don’t do curls only on your right arm. You will look very strange after a period of time if you only do curls with one arm. The muscle on the right side will look very developed and strong and the left will look like someone has never worked out. The problem is people do this all the time. I’ve known a number of people who do leg extensions but never do leg curls.
When you overdevelop one set of muscles, it puts additional strain on the bone structure, soft tissue, and the corresponding sets of muscles. It makes it easier for you to be injured. It is just like overdeveloping one section of a machine without accounting for the increased power of that section in the machine in the other areas.
So what is the answer? It is just like every other area of your life: balance! If you are going to develop your biceps, also develop your triceps. If you are going to work on your chest, work on your upper back and shoulders. If you are doing ab work, do lower ab work. If you work your quadriceps, also work your glutes and hamstrings.
Just like in life, when you workout make sure to try to achieve balance. We tend to do the exercises we like but just like when your mother made you eat your peas to get dessert, do the exercises you don’t like too!