Jackie Wright – Achieving a Strong, Functional and Sculpted Back
January 14, 2010
(Second in a Three-Part Series)
Last week’s column featured the Standing Row exercise which targets the upper back muscles, the trapezius, the latissimus dorsi and the rhomboids. This week we will highlight an exercise for the middle back which includes the trapezius and latissimus dorsi as primary muscles as well as other secondary muscles. All of the exercises described are foundational back exercises which just about anyone may be able to perform. As always, please consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
Middle Back – Primary Muscles Targeted : Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi-Functional and effective middle back exercises involve pulling and rowing actions.
Bent Over Standing Row – Dumbbell: Choose a dumbbell which will fatigue the middle back muscles within 8-12 repetitions.
This bent over position requires you to engage the abdominal and core muscles stabilizing and protecting the lower spine.
• Choose a bench/step 8-12 inches in height.
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• Place your dumbbell right on top of the bench so that you can easily access it.
• Place your left foot on top of the bench.
• Hinging from your hips with the shoulders, hips, knees and toes facing the same direction throughout the exercise and place your left forearm on top of the left thigh, supporting your upper body.
• Rotate the shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine with the right knee relaxed.
• Pick up the dumbbell in the right hand with the right arm fully extended.
• Engaging the trapezius and latissimus dorsi (i.e. lats) by keeping the shoulders away from the ears and the scapulae retracted, row the right arm back, driving the elbow back so that the upper arm becomes parallel to the floor.
• Slowly lower the arm back toward the floor without permitting the torso to shift toward the floor. Maintain a stable torso position with • Perform one-three sets of 8-12 repetitions, on each side, two to three times per week.
You may like to try the following variation of this exercise to perform in lieu of the standard standing bent over row once you have mastered it first.
Bent Over Standing Row Training Variation – Descending Sets: While the exercise execution will not be modified, the weight increment and number of repetitions will change. This is a great method of safely increasing your muscular strength in the middle back.
• Choose three different dumbbell weight increments. For example, if you performed the standard standing bent over row with ten pounds successfully, then choose a 10, 11 and 12 pound dumbbell.
• Place these in a row on top of the bench from lowest to highest increment (i.e. 10, 11 and then 12 pounds).
• Perform the exercise for 12 repetitions with the 10 pound dumbbell then perform it on the other side followed by the 11 pound dumbbell for ten repetitions on both sides and then the 12 pound dumbbell for eight repetitions on both sides.
Next week, we will feature a great lower back exercise.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com., her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com.