The Three Best Back Exercises for a Bulletproof Back. Back pain! We will all experience it at some stage of our life, via poor posture, injury or overuse. Back Pain is the leading cause of disability globally preventing people from working, socializing, exercising, spending quality time with loved ones, and living life to its fullest.
Back complaints account for more than 264-million lost workdays in the United States annually. It is estimated that 80% of the population will experience debilitating back pain at some stage of life.
The biggest offender is lower back pain, which costs Americans an estimated $50-billion a year in health costs and treatments.
Even though we are making leaps and bounds in back treatments and procedures, traditional and modern medicine has a pretty poor track record of treating the back.
Suppose you have been lucky enough to avoid such dire injuries so far in life, and are concerned about these statistics. In that case, there are some basic back exercises you can regularly perform to minimise the chance of joining this not so exclusive club of back pain sufferers.
Below we have listed arguably the three best back exercises you can do to help build a strong back, and considerably reduce your chance of injury. Read on to learn more.
There is an endless sea of back exercises and workouts online, and even a basic search can be daunting. So, what if you had to pick three back exercises to help bulletproof your back?
This exercise is one of the best ways to build your back and core muscles. However, there is only one drawback; If you do it wrong, especially repeatedly, you could injure your back, severely!
This is an exercise best done with a mirror, or partner to help you keep perfect form. Better yet, get a personal trainer to drill you on your form until it becomes an unconscious muscle memory exercise-it is that important!
The basic process, however, is as follows:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your feet under the bar midfoot.
- Bend over and grab the bar with your grip also at shoulder width.
- Bend your knees until your lower shins touch the bar.
- Lift your chest, and straighten your lower back, while engaging your core muscles, including abs and glutes.
- Take a deep inhalation, hold your breath and stand up straight without compromising your back form.
Remember to put power into your whole body, including your legs, but don’t lock out your knees. Start on smaller weights until your form is perfect before increasing your weights incrementally. Reset your form after each rep.
This exercise engages muscles in your whole body, helping you build overall strength, as well as major muscle groups that support your back and spine. When done correctly, It can also be effective in aiding the treatment of lower back pain.
There are little exercises that rival the overall effectiveness of the simple but effective kettlebell swing. It may also be one of the best all-body and back exercises to tackle our most prominent global health problem, the sedentary western lifestyle.
Due to hours spent in cars, office cubicles, and on couches, we are overworking our bodies anterior, or front; this is known as anterior dominance. It wrecks our posture, shortens our muscles, compresses our lungs and can increase our blood pressure; this can lead to severe health issues and, you guessed it, back pain.
Kettlebell swings could be the best exercise of all to counteract this modern lifestyle health epidemic. Some fitness professionals have even implied that if there were only one exercise you could pick for your entire life, the kettlebell swings would reign supreme.
Kettlebell swings are another exercise where it is worth focusing on perfecting tour form before increasing your weight, or you could do yourself a mischief. Maintaining optimal form will also target more muscle groups, including in your back, providing more spinal support and overall strength.
This super back exercise is also great for smashing calories, and is well worth adding to your HIIT or interval regimes; just watch the fat melt away.
The basic steps for performing a kettlebell swing is as follows:
- Stand tall and grip the kettlebell with both hands.
- Keep your arms long and loose while squeezing your shoulder blades and core muscles throughout the repetitions.
- With soft knees, shift your weight onto your heels, and bend your knees slightly, lowering your posterior toward the space behind you.
- Thrust forward, driving through your heels and explode through your hips, propelling the kettlebell forward and swinging up with your arms like a pendulum.
- After a slight pause, allow the kettlebell to descend without resistance, swinging it back between your legs, ready for the next rep.
Again, it is essential to get the form just right to optimize your results; seek advice if you are unsure.
Kettlebell swings engage all core muscles essential for spine support, like your abs, glutes, hips, mid-back, calves, shoulders and neck, as well as a range of other critical back support and stability muscles.
This is also a great exercise to loosen stiff lower back muscles and tight joints, increasing flexibility while building muscle.
So far, we have tackled back exercises from the bottom up, now let’s try from the top down! The pull up is one of the best all over back and body strength activities you can do, and the best part is the only equipment you need is your body and an overhead bar.
The basic movement of pulling your body weight up by your arms is a primal movement utilised by our primate ancestors; you were designed for this upper back exercise!
There are many pull up variations, like wide grip and close grip; however, a standard pull up is as follows:
- Stand under the chin-up bar, and grab the bar overhand with hands shoulder-width apart.
- With arms fully extended, keep your shoulders back, and engage your core muscles.
- Pull your bodyweight up until your chin is level with, or above the bar.
- Lower yourself slowly, until you return to your original position.
A good goal is to aim for 10-pullups. Don’t get discouraged; there are many ultra-fit people out there who struggle with one. Take it slow, with proper form and consistency you will see significant progress in just a few weeks.
The humble but challenging pull up engages a wide variety of core, muscles, including the:
- External oblique and more
What a fantastic exercise! For more variations, simply look online or scour YouTube; the pull-up can be an art form all itself and is well worth mastering.
DISCLAIMER: Please ensure you consult your healthcare professional before undertaking any major alterations to your healthcare regime, especially if you suffer chronic pain, have sustained any significant injuries in the past, or have underlying health conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
All exercises mentioned in this content are for informational purposes only. If you have any doubts about how to perform these exercises correctly, seek the advice and services of a health professional.
My Free Yoga holds no responsibility for any injuries or health issues sustained by any individual who attempts these exercises.
How many pull-ups can you do? Have you ever tried kettlebell swings? What is the most weight you have ever deadlifted? We wish you and your back the best of health.
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