Put Your Back Into It

Bring your back to the forefront of your training.
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A few years back, the fashion tides turned abruptly. The emphasis suddenly shifted from plunging necklines to daring low-backed gowns, popularized by the likes of Kate Hudson and Halle Berry. But red carpet appearances aside, there are other, more practical reasons to strengthen and tone this area.

Your lats, traps, rhomboids and erector spinae — collectively known as your back — actually assist as you train your other muscle groups. In fact, there are no moves that do not call upon your back in some way, whether it is the working muscle in the motion or acting as a stabilizer.

A Bit About Backs

The muscles of the back are essential to the movement of your spine, but they also move your neck, shoulders, hips, head, arms and pelvis. Your back muscles move and stabilize the vertebrae, help your hips tilt the pelvis forward and back, and significantly contribute to pulling movements. Because the back is made up of numerous nerves, bones, ligaments and tendons, it is susceptible to unwanted pain as well as injuries. Even worse, sprains and strains in this area are some of the most common types of pain in adults, and they are the number-one type of disability in people under the age of 45. The good news: pairing frequent aerobic exercise with back-specific training will help to reduce and even prevent these potential injuries.

Benefits Of Back Moves

Aside from helping you look great as you walk away, incorporating back training into your workout routine can enhance your health in a number of ways. “Back exercises can help to improve posture, enhance activities of daily living, promote muscular balance within the body, reduce the risk of injury, and enrich overall physical performance,” explains Jessica Matthews, MS, an exercise physiologist at The American Council on Exercise. She further points out that establishing proper stability and mobility can also help enhance lower-back health and reduce pain in this area.

Get Back In Action

The best part is that anyone, even newbies, can incorporate back exercises into their workout regimen, says Andre Short, PT, AAAI, ISMA, owner of Go Hard Bootcamp. In order to optimize results and reduce injury, Short advises exercisers to focus on keeping the core muscles engaged and making fluid (not jerky) movements when training the back. “It is extremely important that both advanced and novice exercisers focus on proper form,” he stresses. Adding longer rest periods between sets is one way to ensure this, as you will take on each set with newfound energy.

As with any strength training, back workouts can boost your metabolism to assist in overall weight loss, while increasing the amount of lean muscle mass in the body. So, just do it – put your back into it!

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