The Fitness Trail: Concentrate on your back |

The Fitness Trail: Concentrate on your back

The posterior upper body is often neglected when compared to the amount of time spent by many clients on the anterior upper body. For example, it is not unusual for a client to come to us with anterior upper body muscles over-developed to the detriment of the posterior upper body muscles leading to serious imbalances between the anterior and posterior upper body chains of the body. The three exercises suggested this week concentrate on strengthening the major muscles of the posterior upper body chain utilizing the TRX and cable/pulley systems. While not exhaustive by any means as there are dozens of variations, these exercises are a great foundation. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

**Please perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each of these exercises, two-three times/week on non-consecutive days following warm-up.

***Naturally, this just addresses one aspect of the body. Your entire program should address the total body.

Inverted Wide Rows – TRX Suspension System – the straps should be approximately 24 inches off the floor. Facing the anchor point, place the body into an inverted standing position or fully inverted from the floor (in this case, you must have the sternum aligned with the TRX anchor). Holding the handles, place the arms up at shoulder height, palms facing the floor and arms fully extended at the elbow joint. Engaging the trapezius (i.e. middle back), row toward the anchor point, “cracking an egg” between the shoulder blades, flexing the arms to approximately 90 degrees and then return to the beginning position. *Trains the trapezius, deltoids/biceps and nose to toes core.

Straight Arm Pull Downs – Multi-Gym (Cable/Pulley) – unilateral – place a handle on one carabineer, place the cable/pulley at the highest setting on the column. Choose a moderate weight on the stack, stand facing the cable/pulley in a staggered leg position front to back. Holding a handle in one hand with the arm above shoulder height in front of the body, (make certain to line the body up so that the training side is in direct line of pull with the cable/pulley) engaging the rear deltoids and lats (i.e. back of shoulder and wide part of back), pull the arm straight down with the palm facing away from the anchor point. You must keep the arm extended with a relaxed elbow, but no movement must take place at the elbow joint. Return the arm to the above-shoulder position and repeat. Then, repeat on the opposite side. *Trains the rear deltoids/lats and nose to toes core.

Low to High Rows – bilateral – Multi-Gym (Cable/Pulley) – set the cable/pulley at the lowest setting on both of the columns, place handles into the carabineers, set the weight at a moderate to heavy load. Standing, holding a handle in each hand, with the arms fully extended facing the anchor point, place the body into a 1/2 squat position and maintain that position throughout. Engaging the lats, wide part of the back, with the palms facing one another, row the arms downward and back, cracking an egg between your scapulae and then return to a fully extended elbow joint. Avoid rocking, leaning backward (cable/pulley is not meant to hold body weight) and isolate the lats. *Trains the latissimus dorsi/deltoids/biceps and nose to toes core.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at, and her Facebook Page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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