I do not know many or any if that, who would say, “I don’t care how my abs look”. Most of us work diligently to sculpt our abdominal muscles, but what about the other side? A strong back not only helps prevent injury and promote better posture, but it helps to pull in the abs for a flatter tummy. While back work may not be as popular as abs and booty, it is equally important. The following exercises are nothing new to those who are familiar with exercise; basic isn’t always bad.
Parachuters: While on your stomach, position your arms like goal posts, toes pointed, and your gaze is at your mat. Simultaneously lift your chest and your legs off of the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together as well. The more you squeeze your butt and lower back, the higher your legs will come off the ground. With each repetition, hold for second to make sure you are activating all of the muscles in your back and butt. Start with three sets of 20 and adjust as needed.
Deadlifts: Form is critical when executing this exercise, so take your time with the set up and start with a comfortable weight to get a good feel of the movement before adding more. Deadlifts can be performed differently, depending on the weight and your flexibility. Regardless of the weight, a few things to keep in mind include foot positioning (typically hip width apart, toes forward), core tucked in, hips back, shoulder blades back, and squeeze the glute before you straighten your body. By squeezing the glutes before standing up, you will help protect the lower back from unnecessary strain. Deadlifts work the hamstrings, glutes, lower and middle back, so don’t overlook them.
Strengthening your back is beneficial to your everyday life. To the mom carrying kids all day, the office worker having better posture at the desk, or jobs which require lifting, having a strong back will help prevent injury and promotes better overall wellness. The next time you want to skip back work, keep in mind all the benefits you are throwing away. Stand tall, sit upright and walk confidently.
By Leslie Awdykowyz
Pop Pilates Instructor