One aspect of fitness we frequently stress is how you shouldn’t focus on only one part of your body. Your structure is a complex network of muscles and bones that work together from top to bottom, and focusing on only your arms, your legs, or your stomach can cause an imbalance that harms you in the long run. Body groups are not only defined by where they are, but also by their function. For example, push and pull exercises are some of the most common, but most new athletes aren’t sure what it is they’re building. What is it that makes a push muscle different from a pull muscle, and what are the exercises that revolve around them?
Push muscles are those that contract when you push something away from your body. A contracting muscle is a muscle that is getting work done; it is that tight flexing feeling when lifting a heavy object. Push muscles also get longer when the weight returns to the body, such as when you are slowly lowering a bar to finish a bench press. Push muscles include:
- Calves: The muscles at the lower back of your legs.
- Deltoids: Located and making up most of the curve in your shoulders.
- Pectorals: Your chest muscles.
- Triceps: Located at the back of your arm between the shoulder and elbow.
- Gluteals: Butt muscles.
- Quadriceps: The front area of your legs between the hips and knees.
Pull muscles are those that contract when your body pulls weight closer to it, then get longer when the weight moves away. For example, in a basic dumbbell lift, these muscles contract when you lift up the dumbbell, and lengthen when it lowers back down. Pull muscle groups mostly make up the other half of the body not mentioned with the push muscles, including:
- Biceps: The muscles that flex into a lump at the front of your arm, between the elbow and shoulder.
- Abs: Below the deltoids, these muscles make up the front of your midsection.
- Hamstrings: Between your knee and hips, your hamstrings are the softer back part of your legs.
- Trapezius: Usually called the “Traps,” these muscles support and rest at the sides of your neck.
While these push and pull exercises are more traditional workouts, athletes can get creative with them while still providing their bodies with balanced conditioning. If you’re looking for a unique take on working out, try a free class with us at PumpFit Club!