The 5 Muscles You Should Be Working For A Better Body – And How To Build Them Fast
Five little-known muscles that can tone your body, boost your energy and keep you off the disabled list.

May 30, 2018

Build muscle: illustration of muscles an stretching around the knee

Often we focus too much on the core groups: arms, back, chest and legs and we end up doing the same workouts that work the same muscles. Well, that’s where you are messing up. Read on for how to really build muscle – and fast.

Related: How to Activate More Muscle Fibres—With Your Mind

There’s a whole lot of muscles you’re leaving untapped and unworked. Shift your focus to individual muscles and watch as your body gets bigger and better in no time.

Gluteus Medius

What? The small wedges of muscle on your hips

Benefits: Stabilise the pelvis when you run or ski, and help you kick to the side – useful for martial arts and locked doors

Work it: Cable Step-Up

Set a bench near a low cable and attach the cable to a belt around your waist. Stand sideways with your right foot on the bench and your left heel on the floor. Push down with your right foot, lifting yourself onto the step, and then step back down. Continue for one minute, then switch sides and repeat.

Related: The 5 Minute Shaolin Workout

Levator Scapulae

What? Diagonal ropes of muscle running from your neck to your shoulder blades

Benefits: Fill your shirt collar and reinforce your neck against injuries

Work it: Bent-Arm Cable Shrug

Attach a handle to a low pulley and grab it with your left hand. Stand with your left side to the machine and look over your left shoulder. Elevate that shoulder as high as you can, bend your left elbow as if doing a biceps curl, pull your shoulder blades together and rotate your left shoulder back. Repeat for a minute, then switch sides.

Related: The Benefits Of Neck Exercises

External Obliques

What? Strips of muscle that extend diagonally from your ribs to the sides of your waist

Benefits: Stabilise your core and assist in sports that require rotation: golf and swimming

Work it: Dry-Land Backstroke

Lie face-up, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Crunch forward and lift your shoulders as high off the floor as possible. Keeping your chest high, perform a backstroke with one arm at a time, twisting your torso toward the arm that is reaching back. Work up to five sets of 45 seconds.

Related: Trainers Swear By This Technique For Defined Obliques

Serratus Anterior

What? Lengths of muscle that run down each side of your torso

Benefits: Stabilise your arms during sex, tighten your torso and increase pushing strength

Work it: Crunch With a Plus

Grab a light barbell with an overhand grip and lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the bar above your eyes, crunch forward, and push the barbell toward the ceiling while pulling your shoulder blades apart. Return to the starting position. Continue for one minute, rest, then do another set.

Related: 3 Exercises To Chisel Your Back Into The Perfect Tapered Torso


What? The body’s longest muscles, running from the sides of your hips down to your knees

Benefits: Add power to all leg movements, especially kicking, running and cutting

Work it: Cable Leg Crossover

Attach one end of an exercise band to your left foot and the other to a squat cage. Face away from the cage and step to the right so that the band is stretched at a 45- degree angle behind you. Kick your left foot toward two o’clock, swinging it across your body along the same 45-degree angle. Do 10 reps, switch legs, and repeat.