Sculpting healthy, well-rounded muscles doesn’t only require that you bomb them with heavy weight. (Though that certainly helps, of course.)

New science shows that light sets of low-impact exercises specifically target your connective tissue—tendons, ligaments, and the “extracellular matrix”—and allow for “improved energy transfer to the overall muscles” when you work them out, says Luke O’Brien, a physical therapist at Howard Head Sports Medicine in Vail, CO. 

In other words: The stronger and more robust your connective tissue, the stronger your overall muscles. But remember: This collagen-building workout should be considered supplemental training. Do it independently of your normal routine. 

Directions

Perform this workout at least six hours before or after your normal training. For example, if you lift weights at night, complete this routine in the morning. Perform four sets of 15 reps for each exercise, moving slowly so that it takes five seconds to complete each repetition.