Training the Muscles Everyone Forgets About: Traps, Obliques and Serratus

My python

It seems that everyone wants to get into better shape and wants to develop muscle. I’ve spent the last few days on a beach in Turkey for instance, and as a bodybuilder I get a lot of attention from people asking how to develop their pecs more, or how to build bigger biceps. They all want to be stronger so they can impress ladies and feel more physically dominant (I presume) and so they all want six packs and bicep peeks. What nobody asks about though is how to build stronger serratus muscles or obliques. Or forearm flexors. It’s fair enough, as many people don’t even know what those words mean, but often I suspect that even if they did they still wouldn’t be interested; they’re more interested in the vanity muscles that get them the attention they want.

But bodybuilding isn’t about just having great abs, and if you are going into the gym with that attitude then you are destined for failure. Not only because it demonstrates that you’re in it for the wrong reasons, but also because it shows that you are likely to end up with a musculature that is not balanced and even. Working the smaller and less glamorous muscles is highly important because it enables you to give yourself support and stability during other movements, and at the same time it will also help to make your other ‘main’ muscles look better. Here we will look at three highly neglected muscle groups in the upper body: the traps, the obliques and the serratus muscles.



The traps or the trapezoid muscles are the muscles on either side of the neck which then span down to the middle of your back covering your shoulder blades. These large muscles are used in a range of pulling and pushing movements and are one of the bigger muscle groups in your upper body. They are also highly useful for looking ‘hulking’ and creating the impression of mass.

The main way to work the traps is with shrugs, and if you use these regularly you will find that they grow very quickly in size – they respond highly well to training. Lateral raise are also very good in this capacity.

You can also train the traps though with a number of pushing exercises and these include bench presses and shoulder presses. Don’t think they’re getting enough training this way alone though, if you want to look mighty you should also do at least some shrugs.

Serratus Muscles

The serratus muscles are the small details at the sides of your pecs under your armpits on your upper ribs. They don’t get much attention as they’re relatively hidden away but they look awesome in a tank top. They’re also responsible for moving the shoulder blades and are useful in a range of pushing movements. To train them, focus on moving or rolling the shoulder blades against resistance, so for instance doing mini press ups but keeping your arms extended out straight the whole time.


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The obliques are beneath the serratus muscles on the sides of the abs. These are diagonal lines which are on either side, and they are perfect for making your mid-section look that much more ripped and model-like. They are responsible for twisting your body, so to train them you want to use exercises that involve a twist such as twisting sit ups or golf swings. Add them in to your usual abdominal workout.

This guest post was written by Pauly Singh fromĀ Pauly is a bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast. He has written many articles about fitness and muscle training.

2 thoughts on “Training the Muscles Everyone Forgets About: Traps, Obliques and Serratus”

  1. I’m a newbie when it comes to working out in the gym so this post is really informative. I bet even those who already workout in the gym for a long time are also not aware of these important muscles. I hope they read this and be informed of what they are missing on their workouts. Thanks!

  2. I agree with you on this. A lot who work out in the gym are not aware that those three are also important. I know some who just go to the gym in order to get that great abs. What they don’t know is they neglect a lot of muscle exercise that they should also be working on. Your post is very informative. I’ll share this to my friends! Thanks

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