Developing a Powerful Back
The back is a myriad of different muscles including the lattisimus dorsi, the rear deltoids and scapula, spinal erectors, trapezius, rhomboids, and a complex array of other muscles.
The effectiveness of any exercise is consistency, intensity, duration, proper range of motion and most importantly your body type’s specific needs. Try these two low back spinal erector exercises at the starting point of your back routine to help prevent lower back strain by strengthening your lower lumbar and core region: a crucial stabilizing area in “functional strength training.”
Get down on your forearms and toes (similar to a push-up), hold yourself prone for 60 seconds a set, and then rest and repeat. One should start out by doing three sets of this exercise. This exercise works by strengthening your lumbar region, spinal erector muscles, as well as the transverse abdominus muscle around your mid-section.
Lay yourself forward on the hyperextension bench in reverse position, so that your hands will grasp the part your feet go through; make sure you are lying so your hips can lay flat down at a right angle and your torso is flexed so your abdominal muscles are sturdy against the pad. Slowly raise your legs upward, squeezing your glute muscles at the position a little higher than parallel with the floor-hold for 2 seconds, lower slowly, repeat for 10-15 reps, rest for 60 seconds; complete 3 sets. This exercise really targets the lower lumbar region as well as the gluteal muscles, that when strengthened, play a crucial role in preventing injury of the lower back.
Now that we have started to strengthen your lower lumbar and core region, we will now look at some more advanced back workouts.
Pull-up Overhand Wide Grip
Grasp the pull-up bar about 6” wider than shoulder width apart on each side. Hang completely straight; starting from fully stretched position, pull yourself vertically until your chest is just about touching the bar, then lower yourself in an easy motion down into a full stretch hanging position. Do as many reps as possible and then rest; repeat for prescribed sets. This phenomenal exercise works the scapula as well as the outer lat muscles creating a bat-like appearance, once properly developed helping to create a wider upper back.
Rear Deltoid Rows
This exercise is a variation of the dumbbell row with the exception you must turn one hand and elbow out as opposed to next to the waist line, while the other hand is resting on a sturdy bench for support. Keep your lower back flat and arched and strong so stability is created. Proper technique for this exercise is to use a dumbbell of moderate weight so as not to sacrifice form: lower the weight allowing a deep stretch, pull vertically to about ear level and pause for one second at the top position, then smoothly lower the weight remembering to accentuate the stretch. Work both sides for prescribed reps and sets. This exercise really targets the teres minor and major, the scapula, as well as the rear delts, creating a wide back.
There’s an old school exercise that really adds bulk muscle into the whole entire upper back and lat area. Using a straight bar with the prescribed amount of weight (remember not to sacrifice form for higher weight), bend at the waist using a slight arch in your lower back to create stability. Knees slightly bent, your shoulders at a slight angle higher than your hips, grasp the barbell about 4”-6” wider than shoulder width apart. inhale before lifting, bringing your elbows back as you pull the barbell to your sternum area just below your chest; squeeze at the top so you feel the muscles in your upper back contract, exhale as you lower the weight into a fully stretched starting position and repeat. This exercise will add thickness to your lat muscles along with width to your upper back. Keep strict form as always and proper prescribed sets and reps.
Few people actually realize this fact: “When you accentuate a body part and muscle group, you do spot reduce and spot produce.”
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