7 Exercises to Work Large Muscles

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Work Large Muscles First—Part 1 by Stephanie Nickel

In general, it’s best to work your muscles from large to small groups. And before doing so, it’s good to warm up your cardiovascular system with at least a little cardio (walking or jogging on the treadmill, using the elliptical or the rowing machine—or simply marching on the spot or going out for a walk or easy run outdoors).

And when you’ve gotten that blood pumping . . .

Quads and Hamstrings (upper legs)

Squat, lunges, and leg presses are great.

Adductors and Abductors (inner and outer thighs)

There are adductor and abductor machines at most gyms, but if you are working out at home or would prefer not to use the machines, you can do the following:

While sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle, squeeze a small, lightweight exercise ball between your thighs as tightly as you can and hold for 30-60 seconds. Do not use your hands to assist you. Relax and repeat.

To work your outer thighs, lie on your side. Raise your top leg 6-12 inches and hold for 30-60 seconds. Make sure your knee is pointing forward and your foot is parallel to the floor. (Don’t turn your toes toward the ceiling.) Making sure to keep the knee pointing forward, raise the leg as high as you can and hold for another 30 seconds. Relax and repeat. Roll over and repeat with the other leg.


While standing on the edge of a step and holding on for balance, let your heels drop slightly below the step then press up on the balls of your feet. Repeat from 12-24 times.

Lower Back

The lower back machine at the gym is great, but you can also perform back extensions using a stability ball. Lie facedown over the ball with your feet propped against a wall. Tighten your glutes (the muscles in your backside) and gently arch your back. Relax. Repeat 12-24 times.


First, work your large muscles then your small muscles. (click to tweet)


Read other articles by Stephanie 

How to Warm up your Muscles

7 lower body Exercises

6 Ways to Intensify your Workout


Steph (b and w)


Steph Beth Nickel is an author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.

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