Core strength is a hot topic these days. But what about upper and lower back strength?
Why Back Strength Matters
You use your back for everyday movements, like picking something up off of the ground or pushing and pulling a vacuum. Your back muscles support your spine, and a weak back can lead to muscle imbalances and injury.
Your back is made up of three different muscle groups: the superficial layer, intermediate layer, and deep layer. With many back muscles layering on top of one another, it’s important to focus your workouts on each part of your back to ensure you are strengthening your back as a whole.
Here are some great exercises for strengthening your upper and lower back:
Seated Back Row
Find a low pulley row machine with either a V-bar or rope. Sit down with your knees bent, feet on the front resting platform, and back straight. Make sure you are comfortable. Pull the bar or rope towards you, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Ensure that your back is straight the entire time.
Watch this video by Women’s Strength Nation for a step-by-step on how to do this exercise:
Wide Grip Pull Ups
Wide grip pull ups focus primarily on your lats. Your grip will be about two times the length of your shoulders. A couple of tips on pull ups, keep your body straight and avoid swinging your body, you can cross your feet or bend your knees to steady yourself.
Watch this video from LSW Health on how to execute the wide grip pull up properly.
Pull ups are easy to modify, you can purchase a band that can assist your body weight. You can also use a pull up assisted machine (which is made to assist you in pull ups), or perform negative pull ups to start. A negative pull up means that you slowly lower yourself down, the exact opposite of a normal pull up.
Lower Back Exercises
Back extensions are a great exercise for strengthening your lower back. You don’t need to add on weight (by holding a weighted plate), but if you want the added challenge, you can. Find a hyperextension machine at your gym, lock your legs in firmly and cross your hands over your chest. Slowly, lower your upper body down towards the ground and up again.
Find a hyperextension machine at your gym, lock your legs in firmly and cross your hands over your chest. Slowly lower your upper body down towards the ground and up again.
Watch this video from LIVESTRONG on how to execute back extensions:
These are great, easy to execute exercises that will help you to strengthen your upper and lower back!