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Strengthen your back muscles with these exercises

30th May 2015

To build a lean and athletic body, you need more than slender legs and a six-pack: your back muscles are also important, as they are also responsible for your posture and core strength. Yet, back muscles are among the most neglected by people whose workout routine isn’t created by a professional fitness trainer.

Back exercises don’t improve only your physical appearance: a well-conditioned back can protect your spine more efficiently, reduce the risk of spine deformities, and withstand more stress. Moreover, movements that target the back muscles can also help in strengthening the ligaments and tendons, and many of these exercises target the stomach, hips, and glutes while toning the back.

By focusing on your back muscles during your workouts and incorporating at least a couple of exercises for this body area into your routine, you can build a strong core, improve your balance and posture and reduce back pain and the risk of injury.

Given below are some classical strength exercises for the back, as well as a list of whole body vibration movements that target mainly the back muscles.

1. Bent over rows with dumbbells

Grab a pair of dumbbells and bend your knees slightly, bringing the torso forward. Bend at the waist but keep the back straight, until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Keeping the head up, lift the dumbbells to your side, with elbows as close to your body as possible. Squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second, then lower the weights and get back to the initial position. Repeat 9 more times.

2. One-arm dumbbell rows

This exercise works the back muscles and upper arms at the same time, and it’s good for toning your shoulders as well. Place your right leg on top of a flat bench, and bend the torso forward until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Place the right palm on the bench as well.

Holding the dumbbell in the other hand, maintain the back straight, engage the core and pull the weight straight up to the side of your chest. Keep the upper arm close to your side and breath out as you lift the weight. Squeeze the back muscles and hold one second on top, then return to the initial position and repeat 9 more times. Do the same for the other side.

3. Whole body vibration push-ups

This WBV exercise targets mostly the shoulders, arms, and chest, but it’s excellent for your core muscles as well, so make sure to add it to your routine for a stronger back and abdominal muscles. Set the frequency to 8-12 Hz and place your palms on the platform, at #2-3. Do 3 sets of 10 reps, or 1 minute of push-ups, keeping the back straight and the abs engaged.

4. Whole body vibration planks

Just like the push-ups, the plank exercise is great for toning and conditioning the back and abdominal muscles. Mix regular with oblique planks for more stimulation and a leaner core, and keep the frequency at lower values to prevent vibration from going to the head.

To perform the exercise, place your palms on the WBV, squeeze in the glutes, engage the abs and keep the back straight, with head in line with the back. Maintain for 1 minute or plank for 30 seconds, then take a short break and repeat for another 30 seconds.

5. Chin-ups

Grab the pull-up bar with your palms and keep the torso straight, creating a curvature in your lower back and sticking out the chest. Pull your body up until the head is around the level of the bar, keeping your elbows close to your body. Hold for one second, then slowly lower the body back to the starting position. Repeat 9 more times.

6. Basic stance on the WBV machine

This simple exercise strengthens the lower back and relieves pain and tension from the back muscles by providing a relaxing massage. It also conditions the core, hips and glutes, as these muscle groups to maintain the body’s stability and posture while the platform tilts up and down. Make sure to keep the knees slightly bent, back straight and feet at #2 for less stimulation, or at #3-4 for more stimulation and energy consumption.

For more exercises, check out the whole body vibration training section.


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