Usually, your back doesn’t get the attention and care it needs unless you have a backache. One great benefit to back exercises is the decreased risk of having back pain or injury. You will also have improved posture and an overall stronger back. The muscles in your back are important for spinal support and give you the ability to lift heavy objects, and control your upper body range of motion. In addition, many people like having a well-toned back to show off.
Here are some exercises you can either add to your regular routine or, if you’re just beginning a workout habit, choose which ones are best for you!
This exercise targets the erector spinal muscles that control the back’s flexibility. To do this exercise, start by lying on your stomach on your mat on the floor. Extend your arms over your head and spread your feet shoulder-width apart. While in this position, look straight ahead. Keep your core down on the mat as you lift your arms and feet while looking toward the ceiling. Hold for 3 seconds then slowly go back to your original position. This is one of many core exercises you can do at home.
The spreading wings lift exercise works the trapezius muscles, which are largely responsible for your shoulder movements. Every shrug or turn of the head is powered by the trapezius muscles. To do the spreading wings lift, you will need light weights - like dumbbells, books, or bottles of water. With your elbows locked and arms slightly bent, lift your arms out to your side. Stop when your arms are at shoulder level, hold for a few seconds then slowly lower to the starting position.
As the name suggests, the wide grip lat pulldown targets your lats or your latissimus dorsi — your upper back, in simpler terms. This gives you great upper body strength. What makes the lat pulldown ideal for beginners is that it involves the support of a machine. If you are a beginner, you’ll need a coach or trainer to help you adjust the machine to suit you. Once this is done, hold the bar with your hands more than shoulder-width apart. As you exhale, pull the bar down, keeping your elbows close to your sides and squeezing your shoulders together. Stop and hold when the bar is just above chest height, then slowly return to the starting position.
Another exercise that targets the lats is the bent-over dumbbell row. This exercise also requires weights. To begin, stand with your knees slightly bent and body angled about 30 degrees forward. Your feet can either be together or shoulder-width apart. Keep your core tight and arms hanging down then draw your shoulder blades down and together. Next, pull the weights up to your rib cage while keeping your upper body in a fixed position. Hold for a few seconds and slowly move back into your starting position.
The seated cable rows, like the wide grip lat pulldown, requires a machine. It is a great exercise that works the entire back, arms, and shoulders. Once the machine is adjusted to suit you, you can begin by sitting upright on the bench and placing your feet on the plates. Keep your back straight and bend your knees slightly as you grasp the bar. Keep your elbows close to your body, and, as you exhale, pull back on the bar. You should feel your core tightening and your shoulders squeezing together. When your thumbs have almost touched your abdomen, slowly go back to your starting position. This is perhaps one of the best back exercises, but it can be harmful if done incorrectly. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when you try the seated cable row.
The chin-up is easily one of the best-known forms of upper body exercise, and having the ability to do even one is a huge accomplishment for most fitness enthusiasts. While the technique looks fairly simple, it is considered an advanced exercise because of how much upper body strength it requires. To begin, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar in an underhand grip. Using your lats, pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar then hold for a few seconds and slowly lower yourself down.
Your personal workout routine is highly dependent on the results you are aiming for, your physical abilities, and the time you have to dedicate to it. For these reasons, it’s advisable that you consult a physician before starting a workout and, if possible, speak with a professional trainer for more tailored guidance. You may want to add lower back exercises or upper back exercises to your regular strength-training routine or set a specific day or time to do your back workout. Doing back exercises one to three times weekly can be effective depending on the type of exercise and the number of reps you do. There are also a few safety tips worth remembering if you decide to increase your time at the gym.
Before including your back in your workout plan, it’s important to consult your doctor and trainer about back exercises and their intensity. If you feel as though you are pushing yourself too far, ease up. If you have had issues with your back in the past then start slowly. Ensure that each exercise is being executed as instructed to reduce any risk of injury. As with all forms of exercise, back exercises burn both calories and fat, so it’s important to replenish your body, particularly if you increase the frequency of exercise.
Back day is just as important as leg day! With these 6 simple workouts, you won’t want to ignore back day again. What’s more, you can do most of these back exercises at home, but before you get started, be sure to clear your new back workout routine with your doctor and learn how to execute the exercises correctly.