Train What You Can’t See

Train What You Can’t See
We’re a forward moving species. The anterior (front) part of our body does the most work, but that’s because we trained it that way. Joints take a beating when muscles are compensating. Muscles are compensating when they’re doing too much work. Because we can see our chest, abs, quads, biceps and shoulders, those areas get worked more. Everyone wants better abs and stronger arms, but the joints surrounding those fun places to work become irritated and mad at you for overworking them.

You can’t do your best squat without proper hamstring strength.

You can’t get your abdominals where you want them to be without fully working your back.

Your biceps can only be as strong as your triceps.

In other words, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. That weak link is the posterior chain–neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

The best analogy I’ve heard, and still use to this day, is to think of your body as a puppet show. There are all sorts of strings being pulled in all different directions. When too many strings are being pulled in the front of the body only, the puppet hangs from the front of its body, so the show is messed-up and nobody is happy. However, when all the strings are working together efficiently, the show makes sense and everyone is happy. Although it’s a silly reference, it will stick with you.

Here are three areas of the body that are often over developed, with exercises to bring more balance.

1. Quads – For the most part, we’re very quad dominant, meaning our quadriceps do most of the work when we walk, run, sit, stand, and workout. That puts a ton of stress on the knees and front of the pelvis.

Recommended exercises to help develop the hamstrings and balance out those overworked quads include:

Romanian Deadlift


Single leg Romanian Deadlift

Swiss ball lying hamstring curls

Train What You Can’t See

2. Pecs – We like to press. To much pressing and not enough pulling can cause some funky shoulder problems. At ZUM we refer to this as SSS: S#*$ty Shoulder Syndrome.

Recommended exercises to help build back strength include:

Wide grip lat pulldown

V-Grip pulldown

Chin up

Pull up

Single arm Dumbbell/Kettlebell row

Seated low row

Barbell bent row

3. Abs – A good way to categorize your abs is to think trunk. “Hey Erik, let’s do some trunk training.” That way the entire trunk gets some love. The obliques, lower back and mid back want to get in on the action. When they get involved, you’ll notice your “core” strength becomes much more sound and secure.

Recommend exercises to help strengthen the mid-to-low back and sides include:


Glute/low back extension

Chinese row (lying on your chest on the high bench, row dumbbells toward your belly-button)

Low row

Lean away pulldown

Side plank

If you feel like the front of your body has gotten overworked try some of these movements. If you need help, just ask a trainer at ZUM! Have fun.

– Erik