One area of our bodies that I see women tend to ignore is the back and I’m here to tell you, stop ignoring it! The neck and upper back are very important muscle groups as they are used daily for activities like holding up your head and turning your neck. The spinal extensors are the group of muscles and tendons that line and support your spine and lower back. This group of muscles helps you maintain proper spinal alignment and aids in flexing and extending the spine in activities such as picking things up from off the floor or simply bending over. The rear deltoid is the muscle group responsible for pulling your shoulders back and giving you that pretty looking posture your mother always reminded you of when sitting in a chair at home. All of these muscle groups (and others not listed here) are responsible for so many daily activities that we take for granted, like sitting up straight, shaking our head from side to side, and even bending over to play with our kiddos or house pets. Plus, with swimsuit and tank top season right around the corner, why wouldn’t we want a pretty back to show off? I’m here to tell you your back is important and you need to take care of it because once you injure any portion of your back – upper, middle, or lower – you will deal with the pain every day from here on out and it won’t be pretty.
So, how often do you need to focus on your back and what exercises should you do? This answer depends on many things and before I share what I like to do, let me remind you that we are all wired differently and are stronger/weaker then others around us, so remember to always check with your doctor before trying anything new, and make sure to go light and easy if these are new exercises for yourself. I try to focus on my back at least once a week with an assortment of exercises. I will also pair my back workout with bicep exercises so that I hit the opposite muscle groups in the same setting. You often here the phrase “back and bi’s, shoulders (or chest) and tri’s”…meaning pair your back exercises with your bicep exercises and your shoulder (or chest) workout with your tricep workout. Make sense?
For a sample of my back exercises see below (if you have any questions on the workout please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer you back):
Lateral pulls: 3 sets for 1 minute each (weight should tire you out but not so much that you can’t go for the entire minute)
Lateral pulls, drop sets: 3 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight followed by 15 reps with light weight
Bent over rows: 3 sets for 15 reps
Seated dumbbell curls: 3 sets for 5 reps with heavy weight
Superset with cable curls (using the rope): 3 sets of 20 with light weight
And remember, a sexy back is always in season!