Shaun Stafford, two-time WBFF pro world champion and Optimum Nutrition-sponsored athlete, says he wants to stay lean and strong.
"But now I also want to be pain free," he adds. "I want to be mobile. I want to be flexible. And that means creating a slightly more well-balanced, more well-rounded sort of training approach."
As a result, while Stafford puts plenty of time into developing his main muscle groups, he also understands the value of spending time on other, often overlooked, muscles. Whether you're into sports or bodybuilding—Stafford has done both—these overlooked muscles can often turn into weak links that'll come back and bite you in the glutes if they're ignored.
Specifically, Stafford refers to the hamstrings and trapezius muscles. Here are his prescriptions for bringing up both, starting with the hammies.
Name any major sport. From preseason through the championship flows a never-ending stream of blown-out hamstrings. Hammies are important! They make it possible for you to do things like stand up, jump, and run, but they are rarely the focus on workout days. Stafford has three exercises that'll turn your hamstrings from weak links to strong points: the glute-ham raise, straight-leg deadlift, and single-leg exercise-ball curl.
Trapezius muscles don't get enough respect, either. That's partly because they're relatively small muscles, and partly because they get worked when you perform many other upper-body exercises. But, for both symmetry and strength, you need to do exercises that work your traps directly, such as the EZ-bar upright row, dumbbell lateral raise, and cable reverse fly. By doing so, you'll build the tie-ins with your deltoids to give you those imposing boulder shoulders.
Now, in his mid-30s, Stafford has logged more than his share of gym hours. He's learned how to get exactly what he wants out of the gym. These days, that doesn't mean just pure strength and muscle mass. For him, the most developed physique is also the most well-balanced one. His weak-link workout will help you make sure you haven't left any body parts behind!