T Nation

Large vs Small Muscle Groups


#1

Having trouble trying to discern which muscle groups are large and which are small. Most say chest, back, legs, and shoulders are large and bi's and tri's are small... but seperating legs into hams, quads and calves, are all considered large?


#2

Why separate legs? They are a muscle "group". That being said, qhads and hams are definitely bigger muscles. As far as calves go, well I know mine are pretty small, haha.


#3

You have to know why you are splitting muscle groups at all. Calves, forearms, abs, and to a lesser extent, biceps are all "small" muscle groups...I find it difficult to get much DOMS in these groups no matter how intense the workout is.

To that end, I've converted them to time under tension/high frequency scheduling...The theory being that due to their small size, they can recover faster.

Large muscle groups, and really any total body lifts (O lifts, deads, squat, bench to a lesser extent) are probably where you want to focus your intensity techniques, since the strength gains due to neurological conditioning should be larger, but also because the systemic effects of training are maximized (talking about serum GH levels, here) by using intense lifts/lactic acid buildup, and the more muscle you're fatiguing in this manner, the better the systemic result should be. 20 repetition squats didn't get it's reputation by accident.


#4

whoa whoa whoa.

first off we need to discern what a muscle group is here...its only a figure of speech.

Do you mean muscle group as in 1)muscles that act together to perform an exercise or 2) muscles in similar locations on the body (like your shoulders)

The largest muscles in your body are your lats, quads, hams, glutes, and pecs. Keep in mind that there is also the pectoralis minor muscle underneath your pectoralis major, so you could "group" these two muscles together.

I think for all lifting purposes you are speaking of just where they are on the body.

Lurker's got a good point though, the larger muscles groups will much more anabolic effects on the body because of the sheer amount of muscle fibers being brought into action (deadlifts).

Just take a look at any body builder posing and you should be able to spot the biggest muscles. There are few true athletes with biceps bigger than their hamstrings, and just take a look at a back pose and tell me those lats aren't just massive!!


#5

Who?


#6

Scott Steiner


#7

Maybe in terms of height/hang, but in terms of overall size not even close.


#8

Well I always understood it as: Chest, Back Legs (hams/quads), maybe shoulders as large.

With arms and calves being your smaller muscle groups.

That being said, I train all these muscle groups as I want them all to grow, I just can use more weight on the "bigger" muscle groups. Nothing looks sillier than small forearms and calves.


#9

You may be better off approaching this from the standpoint of large vs. small exercises.


#10

I posted the question because i am about to follow CT's Refined Physique Transformation and need to design a program. CT suggests 3 exercises for BIG muscle groups and 2 for SMALL muscle groups. So basically what I need to know is: for what muscle groups should I complete 3 exercises for; and what muscle groups should i complete 2 exercises for?