Many popular strength-training moves (think bench press, barbell squat, lat pulldown) sculpt your big muscle groups but neglect the smaller, stabilizing 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.
1. I-Y-T RAISE
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.