While the showoff muscles get all the acclaim, they'd be nothing without the supporting cast of smaller stabilizers and assisting muscles. Ignore them, experts say—and you'll eventually pay the price. The cost? Injury. Missed workouts. Painful runs. An unbalanced body. Wondering if your'e guilty? Here, experts discuss the most neglected muscles, why they're important, and how to strengthen them for an even, injury-free physique.
Few muscles get as much attention as the gluteus maximus, yet it could not reach its full potential without these two lesser-known helpers, which serve to stabilize the pelvis— especially when standing on one leg, says Guy Andrews, MA, CSCS, executive director of ExerciseEtc.com. "They're vital for any athletic performance and crucial for walking and climbing stairs. Plus, when they're toned they lift up the glutes."
Strengthen it: Using a heavy resistance tubing circle, step inside the tubing with both feet and fasten around each ankle. Stand in a wide sports stance, knees slightly bent, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on hips or out in front. Step out to the side and continue walking sideways for 8-10 steps, then repeat in the opposite direction. Perform 2-3 sets, 2-3 times a week.