Getting Back on Track with Exercise

man fitnessOften forgotten in home workouts, the back is an important part of your body to develop to make your daily activities – picking up boxes, carrying heavy loads, turning, twisting, and bending for performing household jobs and other various reasons – much easier. A right back workout will strengthen your back muscles and decrease your risk of getting pain from doing various activities.

There are three major back muscle groups that you need to work out – the trapezius (upper back), latissimus dorsi (mid-back), and erector spinae (lower back). You’ll be looking at the single arm row, bent barbell row, lat pull-down, pull-ups, and deadlifts when working your back area.

Single arm row

The single arm row works the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, as well as your forearms and biceps. Kneel on an exercise bench with your one knee and place your other foot on the floor. Grab a dumbbell with your one hand and hold the edge of the bench with the other to support your upper body.

Pull the dumbbell up until it touches your torso and then squeeze your back muscles for maximum peak contraction. Pull the dumbbell down back to your starting position. Repeat and do the same for the other arm.

Bent barbell row

The bent barbell row is a basic back workout that develops all back muscles and your forearms and biceps. At the waist, bend over and grab a barbell. Bend your knees slightly and lift the barbell with straight arms. Move the barbell close to your stomach and arch your back. Maintain this position while squeezing your back muscles to achieve a maximum peak contraction. Slowly lower the bar, keeping the tension on your muscles. Repeat.

Lat pulldowns

This exercise works the rear deltoids, lats, forearms, and biceps. Grab the bar attached to a high pulley a little wider than shoulder width and position your knees under the machine’s knee pad. Stretch your lats, arch your back, and then pull down the bar in front until it touches your chest. Hold this position to achieve a maximum peak contraction, then straighten your arms back to the start. Repeat as desired.

Pull ups

Like the lat pulldown, the pull up works the same muscle groups. This workout is an advanced exercise since you need to lift your bodyweight. Here’s how to do it: Grip a pull up bar with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your legs so that your body is hanging from the chin up bar.

Stretch your lats and hold this position for a second or two. Then slightly arch your back and pull yourself up until your chin is a little over the bar. Hold this position to achieve a maximum peak contraction and then lower yourself slowly back to the start. Repeat as desired.

Deadlifts

The deadlift workout is a highly recommended exercise to develop the back. In addition to the trapezius, lats, and spinal erectors, it also works the buttocks, hips, quadriceps, abdominals, and forearms. Stand with your feet a shoulder width apart. Grip the bar with your hands a little wider than shoulder width.

Keep your arms straight, flatten your back, and bend your legs. Lift the barbell by straightening your torso and legs until your body is totally straight. Pull your shoulders back and then lower the bar slowly back to the floor.