Put Your Back In to It!: How to Strengthen Your Back Muscles
Your back is home to 140 muscles that connect to the rest of your body. That makes your back a central component to whole-body wellness and strength.
If you want to feel strong and have an effective workout, then you must start with a sturdy core and proper posture. This will also reduce stress on your body that causes chronic back, neck, shoulder, and even limb pain.
Use these exercise, stretches, and good habit tips to build your back muscles and start feeling and looking like a new healthy person.
Start With Your Posture
Most people work all day at a desk, commute while sitting in a car and continue to sit at home watching TV or socializing online. That’s a lot of sitting and more opportunities to slouch.
If the muscles of the back aren’t inline then they are putting pressure on your organs, joints, and connecting muscles.
Recognizing your bad posture habits is the first step to understanding the importance of your back. It can affect your whole body in the long-term as it can lead to arthritis and chronic back pain.
So, whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down remember to keep your back straight. This will help with the following exercises and stretches.
Finding the right physical therapist can also help improve your posture through an assessment of your back pain. But, not all therapy is equal. Discover more here to find the proper help you need.
You may think that stretching is only good for back pain, but it can also be a preventative measure. It keeps your back flexible, which helps in everyday activities like bending, lifting, and reaching while making your back stronger.
Try these stretches to keep your back limber.
Lying Lower Back Twist
Lie on your back using a mat. Use your right hand to grab your left knee and pull it across your lower torso toward the floor.
Keep your opposite arm elongated and stretched perpendicular to your back. Your shoulders should continue to touch the floor. Look toward your opposite arm by turning your head.
Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, focusing on lower right back pain. Then slowly come back to the center. Repeat using your left arm and right knee.
Knee to Chest
This stretch uses your legs to lengthen the lower back muscles. It also pulls the pelvis away from the muscles, giving them room to breathe.
Lie on your back with your knee bent and your feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull your one knee at a time toward your chest. You can keep your head flat on the floor or bring your forehead to your knee for a deeper stretch.
Hold for 20 seconds before switching knees. Repeat as needed.
You may have seen this stretch in your yoga class. This pose does wonders for middle back pain while strengthening your stomach, shoulders, neck, and of course your whole back.
Lie on your stomach with your palms down close to your ribs. Slowly use your arms to push your chest up while lifting your head toward the ceiling.
Arch your back slowly and to the point where it is comfortable. Your arms will extend as much as possible as you rise to your comfort zone. Hold for as long as you like without any pain.
Stretching prepares your back for more strenuous movements. While stretching gives you more flexibility, back exercises offer you increased strength through gaining mass.
Use these exercises to build back muscle.
Lifting Legs Laterally
Since your back is supported by your pelvis, strengthening your hips can offer grounding stability for back muscles.
Lie on your side with your bottom arm bent and your head rested in your palm. Keep your legs straight and your hips in line with your torso.
Slowly raise your leg about a foot from the ground. Be sure to keep your abdomen tight and your leg straight. Hold the leg in the air for a few seconds and then slowly lower it back to the ground.
Do as many repetitions as desired until your leg feels like it can lift no more. Switch to the other side and repeat.
Relieve upper back pain while strengthening muscles along the spine in this exercise. This will improve your posture and build a stronger core along your spine and pelvis.
Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you. Keep your legs together and straight.
Lift both arms while keeping your head facing the floor. Slowly raise your legs at the same time. Raise your limbs as high as is comfortable.
Try to bring your chest and eventually your stomach off the floor to slightly arch the back.
Hold this position for several seconds and release. Repeat the exercise as desired.
Plank Arm Raises
Shoulder pain is a direct cause of weak back muscles. By working out your shoulder blades and the muscles in between, the posture of your upper back will improve.
Get into a plank position by lying on your stomach and lifting your body by extending your arms. Your arms should be straight with your elbows locked. And your hands should be in line with your shoulders.
You should be on the tips of your toes with your legs hip-width apart.
Lift one arm at a time toward your chest with the elbow close to your ribs. Alternate moving each arm up and back down to the floor.
Do 8 to 10 reps at a time while taking deep breaths as you go up and down.
Strong Back Muscles Prevent Injury and Illness
Having strong back muscles can keep your whole body free from harm. Better posture will take pressure off of your organs and improve circulation while making you more flexibile.
For more tips on living a healthy lifestyle visit the health section of our blog.