Jackie Wright/The Fitness Trail: Three Great Ways to Strengthen Your Back
August 22, 2008
The following three back exercises, when performed regularly, will enable you to reduce back fatigue, help prevent injury and experience better posture.
Seated Lat Pulls ” (works the latissimus dorsi, biceps, deltoids, and the core as stabilizers)
– Begin seated, facing the back pad on a lat pull cable/pulley station with a traditional horizontal lat pull bar which curves at the ends.
– Choose a weight increment on the weight stack that will fatigue the lat muscles within 8-12 repetitions.
– Hold the bar close to the padded ends with arms fully extended, the knees in a 90 degree position with the feet on the floor or the sides of the equipment and navel pulled toward the spine.
– Before movement occurs, engage the lats by driving the shoulders away from the ears and maintain this stable position of the shoulder girdle throughout.
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– Pull the bar down along the front of the chest, never behind the neck as this may strain the shoulder joint.
– The arms should be flexed at the elbow and driving toward the waistline upon completion of the down phase of the exercise.
– Keep the body still as you pull the bar downward; avoid leaning backward to compensate or lifting the hips off of the seat.
– Then, return slowly to the beginning position.
– Perform two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two slow counts down and up, two to three times per week.
Standing rows ” arms elevated with tubing ” (Works the trapezius; deltoids/biceps and core as stabilizers)
– Begin with resistive tubing looped around an immovable object such as a ballet barre, railing or a post on a four-poster bed with the tubing at shoulder height.
– Choose a tubing resistance that will fatigue the mid-back in 8-12 repetitions.
– Standing with the legs staggered apart and shoulder width apart, hinge from the hips approximately 45 degrees and pull the navel toward the spine.
– Hold a tubing handle in each hand with the arms fully extended in front of the body at shoulder height, the palms facing the ground.
– Engage the trapezius first by relaxing the shoulders back and downward, away from the ears.
– Then, retract the shoulder blades toward one another driving the elbows straight back forming approximately a 90 degree angle at the elbow joint.
– Return the arms to the beginning position without permitting the tubing to become slack or rounding the shoulders.
– Perform two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two slow counts back and forward, two to three times per week.
Upright Rows with dumbbells ” (Works the trapezius, deltoids. biceps and the core as stabilizers)
– -Begin standing with the feet shoulder width apart, the knees soft, the arms suspended in front of the body holding a dumbbell in each hand which will fatigue the upper and mid-back in 8-12 repetitions.
– Initiate the movement by elevating (shrugging) the shoulders toward the ears allowing the arms to come along for the ride (think elbows toward ears, fists toward chin).
– Then, drive the shoulder girdle downward pinching the shoulder blades together as you complete the exercise and return to the beginning position. Keep the navel pulled toward the spine throughout.
– Perform two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two slow counts up and down, two to three times per week.
Next week, three great chest exercises to compliment the back exercises.
” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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