Often times people will shift their focus from quality of life to how they look. As a result, they only focus on their cosmetic muscles. Let's look at some examples:
-People do crunches because they feel the burn and think they're shredding their abs. What they're not doing, is working their deep core stablizers that can be hit with plank variations. Work those deep core stabilizer muscles and find that your movements become more efficient. With more efficient movement comes strength. Not only is there a potential for fat loss in your workouts, there is a potential for losing lower back pain too!
-People do heavy squats and never hit their hamstrings. While your quads are a great show, don't forget that your hammies are the backing band and every bit as important. When building the quads up without paying attention to your hamstrings, you run the risk of injury due to a muscle imbalance. Sure, you'll never see your hamstrings as a sexy muscle, but you'll be glad you've given them the appropriate attention when your strength and speed increases. Please note that this is NOT limited to these two muscles groups.
-Your shoes' soles are too thick. If you wear a shoe with a thick padded sole, you may be cheating yourself. When I used to do overhead squats and lunges, the balls of my feet absolutely killed me! I lost the thick soled shoes and started going barefoot. As a result, my feet, not my shoes were more deeply rooted to the ground. This allowed me to hit all of the tiny stabilizers within my feet... not just my quads. Three weeks later, the pain was gone and my squats and lunges became much more fluid and comfortable. Again, I'll never see those muscles but they make a world of difference in the way I move now! If you don't like the idea of working out barefoot, there are some good options for shoes out there. I personally prefer New Balance Minimus. But you need to find what's right for you.
Those are just a few of many examples. Muscle imbalance is a huge cause of many injuries. When you work your chest, work your upper back. When you work your biceps, follow up with the triceps. Hit your hammies and calves when you hit the quads. Having balance and strong stabilizers may very well boost balance, strength, speed, and agility.
Work your stabilizers! How? I'll give you a hint... break up with the machines! There's only one machine you need and that's your body. After body weight exercises, you'll work your stabilizers the most with these pieces of equipment (listed most to least efficient): Kettlebells, dumbbells, and then barbells. It still runs deeper than this though. Not sure where to start? Come on in and I'll be happy to show you!
That being said, there's a lot more to our bodies than the muscles we see! Do you know how to make the most of it?