Pilates and Barrecore Instructor & Trainee Nutritionist
Our back muscles might just be the most neglected group of muscles that some people forget completely to train. Having a strong back can reduce a huge amount of injuries, so adding strengthening exercises into your routine is a must.
Here are some simple exercises you can do at home or the gym/studio that will help tone the back muscles and take very little time and no equipment!
Start with 5 reps of each exercise aiming to work up to 10 reps to sculpt a lovely, lean back!
Exercise #1: Opposite Arm & Leg Raises
a) Start lying on your front with arms and legs stretched out.
b) Engage your core muscles, lift right arm and left leg simultaneously away from the body a few inches off the floor.
c) Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
d) Always concentrate on engaging the abdominals and drawing the shoulder blades down the back as you lift the arms.
Exercise #2: Double Leg and Arm Raises.
a) Start in the same position as the previous exercise, lying on your front.
b) Engage through the abdominals pulling them off the floor. Draw the shoulder blades down the back and float both arms, head neck and shoulders a few inches off the floor, keeping eyeline towards the ground.
c) Activate through the glutes and lower back muscles to lift and lengthen the legs a few inches off the floor.
d) Hold this position for 3 breaths, then release down to the floor.
Exercise #3: Upper Back Strengthener A.
a) Start by lying down on your front, take the hands behind the head, forehead on the ground.
b) Activate the abdominals pulling them in and up from the floor.
c) Slowly pull the shoulder blades down the back and lift the head neck and shoulders of the floor, keeping your head in line with the neck.
d) Hold this position for 3 breaths then release down to the floor.
Exercise #4: Upper Back Strengthener B.
a) Start lying down on your front with your arms by the side of the body palms facing up.
b) Activate the abdominal muscles, pulling them in and up away towards the spine.
c) Imagine someone is pulling you up by your fingertips, lengthen your arms up behind you and lift the head neck and shoulders off the floor.
d) Once your upper body is lifted, activate through the lower body, squeeze your inner thighs together and lift the legs a few inches off the floor.
e) Hold this position for 3 breaths, then slowly release down.
Exercise #5: Swimming
a)Start in the same position as the Double Leg and Arm raises, lying down on your front with arms and legs stretched out.
b) Engage through the core and lift the head, neck, shoulders, arms and legs a few inches off the floor.
c) Once in this lifted position start to lift opposite arm and leg an inch higher
d) Focusing on the breath though the movement, alternate opposite arms and legs lifting and lowering as quick as you can for 10 counts.
Take Home Message
Anyone can try these exercises – make a bit of space in your room and start stretching your back; you’ll be surprised what you can do!