By Greg Marshall, The GYM at City Creek & Station Park, Salt Lake City
In today’s lifestyle with sitting at computers all day and the forward movements that we do, most of us are going to be naturally imbalanced, so it is a good idea to emphasize back exercises. As a personal trainer I’m concerned that most people neglect to train their back, which is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and a successful injury prevention program.
Below are some tips that you can use right away to start seeing the results you want while making sure you are staying healthy.
1. Form is everything when it comes to training your back, especially your lower back.
It is important to make sure that you are keeping your core engaged and you are not rounding your back and putting too much stress on the spine. One of the best techniques is to suck your belly button in towards your spine and push your chest out while keeping a straight line with your spine. This ensures it is supported.
2. Don’t choose weights that are too heavy.
Always choose weights that are lighter in the beginning so you can practice your movements, and then slowly increase the amount of weight you use. By choosing lighter weights, you will be able to get the muscle memory you need and it will also help warm up the back so you can have a more effective workout.
3. Don’t neglect warming up your back properly, and don’t train too intense too soon.
This significantly increases the risk of injury and is counterproductive. Make sure to warm your back up for 10-15 minutes before you go into an intense back training. A good way to warm up is to do some light cardio work and then some lighter versions of 15-20 reps of what you will be doing in your workout.
4. Training only your lower back or your upper back neglects total balance.
To solve this problem make sure you break down the areas of your back to train and to keep it simple by spending equal time on both areas.
Muscular imbalance is a very common thing that contributes to injuries and pains. Many place too much emphasis on the front part of the body (abs and chest muscles or what we like to call the “beach muscles”) and totally neglect the back. A good way to solve this problem is to follow this rule: for every set of chest or ab exercise you do, do two sets of back to make sure you are totally balanced.