This post is dedicated to how to activate muscles that have gotten lazy so that you can maximize your fitness challenge results.
Do you feel as if you’ve been training hard, but aren’t getting the results you desire? It could be a matter of improper muscle activation.
Inactive muscles are a big problem in our society, largely due to our lifestyle. We’re sitting and sedentary a lot. Because of this, entire muscle groups can slip into inactivity, which can lead to imbalances, alignment issues, and potentially even injury.
What makes muscles “lazy”?
Lazy muscles don’t just happen to lazy people. It’s possible that you’re quite active, yet have certain muscles that simply aren’t firing correctly due to improper alignment or because your muscles have adapted to work differently due to your lifestyle.
Let me explain. For example, the glutes often become “turned off” because many of us sit a lot throughout the day. When the glutes are inactive, the surrounding muscles including the quads and lower back have to kick in and bear the brunt of your movements.
Unfortunately, this is not sustainable in the long term. These other muscles get overworked while the glutes are getting a free ride. This is like a recipe for injury and imbalance in the body, not to mention you probably won’t be getting the training results you want.
How to activate muscles.
Follow these tips for how to activate muscles that have become lazy.
1. Identify which muscles are inactive. The first step toward activating muscles that have gotten lazy? Identify the lazy culprits.
Some of the most commonly inactive muscles include the glutes, the abdominals, and the upper back, though it will vary from person to person based on what activities you do throughout the day, what type of exercise you do, your alignment, and other factors.
2. Pre-activate. Pre-activation is a form of targeted stretching/warming up that is designed to awaken the muscles you want to target, so that when you begin your actual workout, you’ll see the most benefits.
For example, if you want to target the rhomboids, you’d do some isolated upper back movement or stretches to awaken the muscles, so that when you add weight or intensity, you’ll be more likely to properly engage and utilize the desired muscles.
This article offers a great variety of pre-activation movements for commonly lazy muscle groups, including the legs and glutes, shoulders, and back and chest.
3. Focus on form. It’s terrible, but true: if you have improper form, you’re not going to attain your desired body composition results. For instance, if you’re trying to build up your glutes but don’t have proper alignment when you’re doing squats, you could do hundreds of reps and still not gain the toned booty you crave.
I’m not trying to scare you off by telling you this. Rather, I am trying to emphasize the importance of proper form. When you are learning a new exercise, be sure to take it slow at first and focus on form. That way, as you increase the intensity you’ll see better results.
4. Get high (intensity, that is). High intensity workouts are an incredible way to activate muscles. In short bursts, you intensely fire up your muscles and perform movements that target different parts of the body.
With our New You 6 Week Challenge workouts, we focus on high intensity exercise that targets different parts of the body, with dynamic movements that will have your muscles firing.
5. Monitor your progress. Are you feeling the burn the day after a workout, or a few days after? This is not always a bad thing. When you work out, you are in essence breaking down your muscles; they then get the message to rebuild bigger and stronger. This is how you amass muscle mass.
Don’t hit too hard, but take solace in the fact that you’re activating your muscles now. Take it easy and keep hitting your workouts and the strength will eventually come. Now that you’re activating, you’ll begin to enjoy better results from your workouts!
We all have our areas of strength and weakness. By identifying your turned off muscles, you now have an opportunity to activate muscles and build more strength where you need it. This balanced approach will reduce your risk of injury, increase your strength, and deliver better results in the New You 6 Week Challenge and toward your wellness goals.
Have your muscles gotten lazy?