Many popular strength-training moves (think bench press, barbell squat, lat pulldown) sculpt your big muscle groups but neglect the smaller, stabilising muscles that help protect your body from imbalances that lead to injury.

The solution? For starters, foam roll. Spending even five minutes on tight muscle groups before a workout can help prevent tweaks and pulls, says Aaron de Jong, founder of Vancouver’s Movement108 and the Movr app. From there, add in this mix of three exercises at least twice a week before hitting the rack, to strengthen those smaller muscles from every angle. 


Lie facedown on the floor or an incline bench (or stand, holding a light dumbbell in each hand). Raise your arms overhead so your body forms an I (a), then lower arms gradually so your body forms a Y (b) and then a T (c), holding for five seconds at each position. Do 10 to 15 reps.

RELATED: This Is How Much Strength Training You Should Actually Do Every Week


Stand with feet hip-width apart, then bend over and place your hands on the floor in front of you, keeping your legs as straight as possible (a). Slowly walk your hands forward until you reach pushup position (b). Step your feet toward your hands, come to a stand, then push your hips down and back to lower into a deep(c). Do 10 to 15 reps.


Lie faceup with your arms extended toward the ceiling, then lift your legs and bend your knees to 90 degrees (a). Lower your left arm and right leg just above the floor (b), then return to start and repeat on the other side. Alternate for 10 to 15 reps per side.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US. 

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