We hear you summertime: sun’s out guns out and sky’s out thighs out! But now that the season is turning, this might be the perfect time to re-assess your training program and make sure you’re addressing other body areas which may have gotten the cold shoulder during the hotter months.
One area we can think of?
Working this upper portion of your posterior chain with these back-strengthening exercises can give you some significant aesthetic improvements, but more importantly, can help improve your posture and maximize your core stability (which translates to better movement with all other exercises). Go ahead and take a look at a few of our favorite back strengthening moves and be sure to ask one of our personal trainers for some helpful pointers.
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5 Back-strengthening Exercises to Try This Fall
1. Bird Dog
Start on your hands and knees and your spine in a neutral position (brace your abs and look down at your hands—don’t drop your head down nor lift it up). Keeping your core as steady as possible, extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Keep them at shoulder/hip height respectively for one to two counts, then slowly lower back to the start position. Switch to the opposite arm/leg. Repeat 15-20 times per pair for 3 sets total.
2. Bent Over Row
Try this with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. To do, stand while holding the weights in your hands with an overhand grip (if holding dumbbells, you can also have your palms face each other). Keeping your back neutral and core strong, put a slight bend in your knees and hinge forward at the hips until your torso is almost parallel to the ground and the weight is hanging down under your shoulders. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the weight to your chest. Hold for one to two counts, then slowly lower. Choose a weight that’s challenging but doable for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Lie on your stomach with arms extended up by your head. Keeping your chin slightly tucked to protect your neck, slowly lift your arms and legs about three to six inches off the floor. Make sure your palms face each other and initiate the movement by pulling your shoulder blades down and back, while also keeping your legs together and engaging all your leg muscles (especially your glutes). Hold for one to two counts, then slowly lower. Perform 3 sets of 20-30 repetitions.
4. Back Extension
Adjust the back extension machine so your hip bones are slightly off the upper pad. Cross your hands across your chest, then hinge forward at your hips as far as you can go while maintaining a neutral spine. Squeeze your glutes to lift yourself back up. Feel free to hold a weight or perform these in slow motion for added challenge. Aim for 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
5. Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift
Hold a pair of dumbbells and standing with a slight bend in the knees and feet about hip-width apart. Lower the dumbbells toward the floor by hinging forward at the hips (keep your back straight!). Once the dumbbells pass your knees and you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, return to the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Go ahead: get that sexy (and strong) back-back with these back-strengthening exercises, and let us know how they go by sharing your experience in the comments below!