Get Stronger By Training Your Torso

Think about the activities you do every day, like opening doors, putting the toothpaste back on the top shelf of your medicine cabinet, carrying grocery bags into the house, and so on — what do they have in common? They all involve using the muscles of your torso.

Want to participate in sports, or just improve your ability to do simple, everyday tasks? Study the torso muscle groups and apply this knowledge to some select training exercises.

The three major muscle groups in your torso are located in the chest, the upper back, and the shoulders. The major muscle of the chest area is the pectoralis major. It is thin and fan-shaped. The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle positioned below the pectoralis major. The chest muscles are responsible for movements like throwing and pushing.

The muscle that makes up most of the upper back is the latissimus dorsi, or "lats," which is a long, broad muscle whose primary function is to pull your arms backward and downward, as in pulling and climbing motions.

The shoulders comprise 11 muscles, of which the deltoids are the most important. The deltoids are actually one muscle made up of three separate parts, or heads. The anterior deltoid, found on the front of the shoulder, is used when you raise your arms forward. The lateral deltoid is located on the side of the shoulder and is involved when you lift your arms sideways. The posterior deltoid resides on the back of the shoulder and is used to draw your arms backward. The deltoids play a vital role in throwing, pushing, carrying, and climbing.

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