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Back training

Exercise Health

Written by:
Birgitte Nymann ( www.nymanns.dk )
Author, speaker and educator within Exercise, health, nutrition and motivation. Concept – and seminar developer at Pro Academy, Denmark. Educated and trained in sport from University of Copenhagen.

Do you know about rolls of fat starting to develop also at your back, or your waist starting to sag to your buttocks!? Your back is aching after a day at the office, in the car or in the garden? And your posture is not what it used to be?

Having strong muscles around your spine is the Alpha and Omega of keeping your body healthy and well-functioning and your abdomen and waist well proportioned, and keeping back pains at arm’s length. Your muscles need training in many different ways to enable them to endure everyday rigours. The primary function of your back muscles is to keep your spine stable during all the different movements you make every day: standing, walking, sitting, pulling, bending, pushing, running, hopping and jumping etc. At the same time, they are used for moving your spine.

Sore back muscles are often the result of repetitive work and a daily strain on your back. If your muscles are unfit, they will be working comparatively hard all day. This may cause a muscle condition that is experienced as soreness or an “aching back”. This soreness in your back can disappear through training. Your muscles need to be fit to endure the daily strain on them. In back training, it is important to consider that your back strength needs to be built from within. In practice this means that it is important to do stabilising and rotating exercises to strengthen the inner-most muscles, which are invisible no matter how slim you are, as well as exercises involving more superficial and visible muscles. To obtain a good effect of your back training it is important that you train regularly, 2-3 times a week. Doing this you can obtain the optimum result.

What more can you do?

  • Position your chair and your table so that you sit with your computer screen a bit below eye level, at your job as well as at home.
  • Sit correctly on your chair. Sit on the seat edge.
  • Drink liberally. If you ingest too little fluid, the discs between your vertebrae will dehydrate more easily, which may cause an aching back. Drink a third of your body weight measured in decilitres (if you weigh 60 kilos you need to drink 20 decilitres a day = 2 litres).
  • Train your legs and buttocks. Strong legs and buttocks relieve the strain on your back.
  • Go for long walks where you swing your arms freely.
  • Swim regularly.
  • Believe in yourself! – When you are unsure of yourself your posture tends to be worse than when you are sure of yourself.

This is a back training program designed for everybody who wants to strengthen the function, strength, endurance and coordination of the back muscles. Repeat all exercises steadily and at a controlled pace. The back training program is aimed at you who often have sore back muscles. If you suffer from specific injuries in your back or pains that spread down in your buttocks and legs, you need to see a physician, a chiropractor or a physiotherapist before starting on the program.

Deadlift light (Training of back muscles, abdomen, buttocks and back thighs)

Initial position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Pull your abdomen inward and lower your shoulders. Bend your knees a little.

The movement: Bend your hips so that the upper part of your body falls forward. Lean forward till your hips are bent 90 degrees at a maximum. Keep your knees bent, back straight, shoulders down and your abdomen pulled inward. Stretch your arms back and forward over your head while maintaining your back position.

Repetitions: Do the exercise 3 x 45-90 seconds.

Pull arms backward (Training of the back of upper arms, back of shoulders and the wide back muscle)

Initial position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and with an even weight on both legs. Bend your knees a little and lower your shoulders. Pull your navel toward your spine and stretch your arms behind your body, pointing the palm of your hands backward.

The movement: Move your arms diagonally backward and up as far as you can while keeping your shoulders down. Lower to initial position.

Repetitions: Do the exercise 3 x 15

Shoulder rotation (Training of the back of upper arms, back of shoulders, below and between shoulder blades)

Initial position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and with an even weight on both legs. Bend you knees a little and lower your shoulders. Pull your navel toward you spine, bend your elbows and keep them tight to your sides. Turn the palm of your hands upward.

The movement: Pull your hands backward while keeping your elbows at your sides. Pull your hands as far as possible without relaxing your abdomen. Take your hands back to the initial position.

Repetitions: Do the exercise 3 x 15

Diagonal lift on all 4 (Training of entire back and abdomen, shoulders and hips)

Initial position: Rest on all 4 with your wrists just below your shoulder joints and your knees just below your hip joints. Maintain a natural sway of your loin, pull your navel upward and your shoulders downward towards your posterior.

The movement: Lift your right leg and left arm till the leg and the arm reach the level of your back and head. Hold your arm in a diagonal position from your shoulder. Lower to initial position and lift the opposite arm and leg.

Repetitions: Do the exercise 3 x 20

Pelvis lift (Training of buttocks, back of thighs, loin and abdomen.)

Initial position: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Put your arms along your sides and pull your abdomen downward.

The movement: Lift your posterior off the floor till your hips are stretched. Lower to initial position. Focus on lifting with your buttocks.

Repetitions: Do the exercise 3 x 15

Enjoy your training!

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