What’s up Rockstar! So great to have you here for this awesome workout!
Now this may not be true for you, but one of the most neglected areas of the body in training is the back.
Strengthening it can have long-term benefits to your overall body balance and aesthetics, while neglecting it can leave you prone to injury and throw your joints out of balance.
Since we spend so much of our time doing activities in front of us (naturally, we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads!) the muscles that perform forward motion get used more.
Even a balanced full body training program that includes back strengthening isn’t always enough to combat the long term overuse effects of these repetitive daily tasks.
I invite you to add this, and other low impact back strengthening moves into your “heavy rotation” – that’s the parts of your body you give special focus to and never forget to train – for a lot of people that’s our abs – but I’d argue that this area is far more essential.
Just a reminder, always train within your limits, pain-free, and when in doubt or if you’ve had a previous injury (like me) be sure to seek out someone locally who can provide hands-on, personalized support to assist you in your preventative maintenance and safe training customized to YOU.
Work out with me in live weekly online home workout classes - check out Rock Your Life!
Move 1: Upper Back Activator - 10
- Begin by laying on your back with your arms bent at 90 degrees.
- Gently pull your shoulder blades back and down together to assist your shoulders in making contact with the mat or floor.
- Keeping your shoulders, elbows and wrists touching the ground, begin lifting your arms overhead, coming as high as you can go without losing contact with either shoulder on the floor. Return to start and repeat.
Move 2: Upright Upper Back Activator - 10
- Stand against a wall in a wall sit, pressing your lower back into the wall. You can sit as deeply as you like to add a bonus burn to your legs.
- Position your arms against the wall the same way you did on the floor, at 90 degrees and with your shoulders touching. This may be a challenge - it's meant to help you bring awareness to imbalances in your shoulder joints and help you work to correct them.
- Begin lifting your arms up and down, as high as you can go without losing contact with the shoulder against the wall.
- You do not have to go super high, it is enough to work on this regularly as it will quickly have an effect.
Move 3: Superman Lift -10
- Position yourself on the mat on your stomach. Extend your arms and legs.
- Lift up smoothly, bringing your arms and legs off the floor and lower down with control. Bringing the feet out wide will make it easier to lift as you build strength, and feet in close together adds additional challenge.
- If this is challenging to do, try breaking the move into two parts. Practice lifting your upper body by itself, then lifting your legs while keeping your upper body isolated. Work on these individually before putting them together.
Move 4: Swimmers 10 each side
- Stay in the same position you were in for your superman lifts. This time, lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, and alternate with your left arm and right leg.
- Keep a slight contraction in your lower back as you "swim" and keep your gaze in front of you so your neck isn't straining or hyperextending up or down.
Move 5: Renegade Rows - 15 each side
- Come into tall plank, arms below your shoulders back flat, belly button hugging in and up and legs straight. You may hold light dumbbells or position your hands in soft fists.
- Stabilize your body and row your right elbow up, keeping it in close to your body. Place your hand or weight back in the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- It's important to maintain your core stability as you do this move, and minimize the amount of movement in your hips.
- You can also perform this from a kneeling plank position, maintaining the same strong form.
Move 6: Superman Lift with Trap Activator - 10
- Come back into your superman position.
- This time, as you lift your arms, draw your elbows in to your ribcage. Focus on the squeeze between your shoulder blades and lift your legs at the same time.
- To modify this, work on just lifting your upper body and focus on the trap activator before bringing your legs into it too.
Move 7: Dolphin Presses -10
- Come into a tall plank and lift your hips up high, pressing into a downward facing dog with legs straight and arms straight.
- Lower your head toward the floor, allowing your elbows to flare out to the sides. Press back up to your starting position.
- Keep your core engaged and hips lifting. It's natural to begin to shift forward, so pause to readjust your down dog position after a few presses.
- You may also work on this from a kneeling position, as shown.
Move 8: Reverse Flye - 12
- Stand, holding weighted objects. Engage your shoulders back together slightly as you hinge forward at the hips, coming to a standing 45 degree bend. Keep you core engaged.
- Turn your pinkies up toward the ceiling slightly and keep a soft bend in your elbows. Lift your arms up and away from you, focusing on the engagement of your upper mid back muscles between your shoulder blades.
- Bring the weights back down, palms facing each other and repeat.
Looking forward to hearing from you! Share this with a friend who would like it, and post your comments, check ins and questions below!
More articles on this subject you'll enjoy:
- Building a Balanced Physique and Protecting Your Joints
- 5 Moves to Build a Strong Back, No Gym Required
- Back Pain Sucks- Do This Stretch