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Why You Should Start Doing Back Exercises

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016

Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be an aspiring bodybuilder or an athlete before you think about lifting weights or doing back exercises. Because no matter what your profession is, back pains will start to develop once you stop taking care of yourself.

A man in the gym flexing his back muscles.

Whether you’re a gym regular or someone who has just started training, a trainer or therapist will almost always advise you to do lower back exercises. Perhaps they want to add in a routine training for injury prevention and better overall body strength.

Even if you don’t realize it, your body particularly needs back exercises just like how plants need fertilizers or dogs need dog probiotics: you can potentially survive without it, but your life would be so much better with it.

So what’s the big deal with back exercises? Why do we need to do them in the first place?

The Natural Benefits of Back Exercises

Back exercises provide spinal support.

The body’s muscle groups located at the lower back includes stabilizers that act as support for muscles around the spinal cord and consequently, the spinal cord itself. Some of these muscles make up the part of the core muscles that takes a lot of benefit from consistent toning and strengthening. The body’s core muscles are so important as they are the direct connection of the lower body to the upper body. As such, it provides a vital role in maintaining balance and aligning the body’s center of gravity during various physical activities.

In the grand scheme of things, the core carries the body and distributes the pressure brought about by gravity or other outside force acted on it. By carrying the body and distributing the stress all over it, the core is able to support the body’s internal infrastructure. This includes a huge part of the spinal cord, the abdominal organs, and many other important parts.

Muscular anatomy, the core.

This is how vital taking care of the core is. Many kinds of lower back exercises like leg curls and back hyperextensions actively work out the lower back muscle groups, which means that the core muscles can function more easily because they are stronger.

Back exercises facilitate proper balance among muscle groups.

If you’re not a bodybuilder, you are usually not appropriately using your muscles. Sometimes, you might find muscle pains that you have no memory of stressing. No matter who you are or what you do, you ought to take care of your back muscles as they are the muscles that takes care of all your other muscles.

Say you’re lifting a box full of your old stuff. The act of lifting any object definitely takes a toll on your back muscles as time progresses. Think of it as a sum of many stressful actions that eventually makes your body ache – especially your back muscles.

This is the reason why bodybuilding is always good for the body, especially when you train properly. In handling heavy weights, the back muscles are also trained in order to provide balance with the chest muscles. In a more general sense, there’s also the “strong limbs/weak core” scenario, or someone who trains up the pecs and arms without training the back and abdomen.

In this case, you may suffer some area-specific injuries or conditions simply because the surrounding muscle groups are not prepared to deal with the additional bulk or pressure on another. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the balance between your lower back and other core muscles in relation to the primary muscle groups in the chest and arms while you are engaged in an intensive weight training program.

Back Exercises Without Weights

Surely, lifting weights maybe too much for beginners. Luckily, Dailyburn.com gave a few good back exercises that do not require weightlifting:

  1. Reverse Snow Angels
  • Position yourself face down on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down.
  • Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapula together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back.

A floor exercise to train the whole back.

  • Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head.
  • Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
  1. Dolphin Kick
  • Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench.
  • Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support.
  • Straighten out your legs while raising them all the while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your low back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement.

Lower back exercise.

  • Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging every muscle in your body, before dropping the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
  1. Superman
  • Lie face down with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze.
  • Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you.
  • Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor.
  • Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground.

Core/back exercise on the floor.

  • Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body and“fly” like Superman.
  • Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.
  1. Hip Hinge
  • Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground.
  • Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position.
  • Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips.
  • Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position.

Straight back while bending.

  • Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets.
  1. Nose and Toes Against the Wall
  • Start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall.
  • Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral.
  • Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands towards the wall.
  • The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position.

Wall pushup demonstration.

  • Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.
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