YOU are not perfect.

YOU aren”t perfect. And neither am I.

We all have imperfections in our physique and movement patterns, and we share MANY of the same imperfections.

Chances are if you”ve been involved in an active lifestyle with any regularity, you will fall into the 90% category. This category of athletes and recreational lifters have spent some time developing their strength and skills in the gym.

With a single plane of motion dominating most exercises (SAGITTAL -front to back), the muscles that stabilize and produce movement in the other two planes of motion start to lag. This can predispose you to injury and at the very least slow your progress in the gym.


This article is assuming the GENERAL, the average problem for the 90%. It is in no way saying EVERYONE needs the exact same list of exercises.

But you probably do.

With that said, here is my list of exercises addressing the most common and shared needs.

1) The lower and middle traps oppose the neck and upper traps which are invariably tight on athletes. Strengthening these muscles will give you better posture and scapular (shoulder) stabilization.

The Prone Y is my favorite exercise to address this need

2) The gluteus maximus is a large and potentially VERY powerful muscle in the posterior chain. The problem is, for most this muscle is not hitting its potential, instead contracting out its work to the hamstrings and other synergists. If your glute max isn”t firing, you are not performing to your potential, period.

The glute bridge is my favorite exercise to target the glute max.

3) The gluteus medius is a muscle on the outside of the hip. It”s primary responsibilities are to pull the leg away from the body and externally rotate the leg. It also stabilizes the hip in all of the Sagittal  plane exercises (squat, deadlift, lunge, sprint etc). It”s important and usually weak. A great way to strengthen this muscle is the lateral band walk.

4) The anterior tibialis is the “shin” muscle. This muscle produces the opposite movement of the gastrocnemius (calf). The calf is a NOTORIOUSLY tight and shortened muscle. Strengthening this muscle allows for better ankle movement in dorsiflexion, which can stave of injuries such as ACL tears and allow for better performances in all of the Sagittal plane movements mentioned above. A quick and efficient exercise for the anterior tibialis is the ankle band pull.

This is not an exhaustive list. Nor does it apply to everyone (but for the 12 years I”ve been training clients, it has for most).

For any questions or an individual assessment, contact a corrective exercise specialist at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

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