Back issues are probably the most common problem I see in clients! Whether that be upper back and neck issues or lower back pain. All our sedentary lifestyles lead us to poor posture, rounded shoulders and also lack of strength and activation of our upper and lower back. So here’s 5 of my favourite exercises for a healthier and stronger back!
All horizontal row variations are great. Here are my favourites:
– 1 arm dumbbell rows
– Barbell or Double Dumbbell Bent over Rows
– Rope Sled Pulls
– Ring or Inverted Rows
Each provides a slightly different emphasis and difficultly level, with the barbell row requiring some stability and strength through your torso to support the weight. 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps would be a good starting point.
Love pull ups. These add a vertical pulling motion into your back work, rather than just on a horizontal plane. Mix up the grips, including chin ups, wide and narrow grips and negatives (slow downward motion!). If you don’t have pullups just yet, work the negatives or ring row variations!
3. Band Pull Aparts
A simple exercise that works the rear deltoid and upper back wonderfully! Hold the band out in front and pull it apart, focusing on retracting your shoulder blades together. It is a very simple exercise that can be used as warm-up or extra work. You also only need just a band. These could be used even if you are sitting at your desk! (Yes, desk-ercise the hell out of it :P)
4. Hip Extensions
These I love either as a warm up before working out, or as accessory work for your glutes and lower back. They can be challenging so start with low reps and build slowly. Keep the form good and the torso locked in. Ensure you use your glutes on the way up and add a little hold at the top 🙂 You can scale back to a glute bridge before starting with these!
5. Good Mornings
Fundamental lower back, hamstring and glute exercise! You can do many variations of these including with Dumbbells, barbell, bodyweight or even bands. You can even look like you are doing a stretch when you get up from your desk 🙂 Keep the lowering phase under control in this movement! 3-4s down.
So if you struggle with back or postural issues, a combination of these exercises 2-3 times a week will benefit you. I have attached a video giving a demonstration of each of the exercises 🙂