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Looking at the list of exercises on exrx.net, I see a good deal of them recommending exercises to target muscles that most fitness sites seem to completely overlook. For example, there are pages with exercises for:

With the exception of neck exercises, I haven't seen the others on any recommended fitness routines. Should these muscles be exercised as part of a non-rehabilitation regime for preventive purposes? Or would they be adequately worked out by other compound exercises?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Many of the exercises for smaller muscles are assistance exercises. By assistance, I mean that they are supplementary to the main compound lifts to either fix weaknesses or perform some rehabilitation.

Particularly when you are a beginner, if you focus on the four main lifts:

  • Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Press
  • Dead lifts

You will be strengthening most of those muscles. That combined with common assistance exercises like rows, back extensions, planks, and other core work will be the majority of what is needed.

It is not common for such small muscles to be limiting factors for beginners, and even many intermediate lifters. As such, focusing on the main lifts will help you get all your muscles stronger. Additionally, it is unlikely you will ever need to directly strengthen your neck unless you intend on ramming your head into someone like a football player. The main lifts will strengthen it as the body maintains rigidity throughout the lifts.

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Thanks Berin. That's a bit of a relief. –  Mirov Jan 10 '12 at 21:14
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