4 Easy At-Home Workout Back Exercises
Thursday, November 14, 2013
(No Weights Needed)
When most people plan a workout, they think about all the ways they can exercise their arms, legs, and abs. What about your back?
Your back contains many of your core muscles such as your deltoids, lats, traps, and many more. These muscles help maintain stability. Workout back exercises will not only relieve pain and increase flexibility, but also prevent injury and possibly cure pain-related insomnia.
Relieve Neck and Back Pain
Chances are you are one of the many people who suffer from chronic pain in your lower back, shoulders or neck. This pain may affect your sleep habits, production at work or at home, and overall quality of life.
Instead of living with the pain, try focusing your next workout on your lower back and glute muscles. These muscles keep your spine aligned with the rest of your body. If your spine is out of alignment, it can cause problems in your upper back and neck.
Daily Exercise 1: The “V”
Needed: an even, flat surface.
Time: 10 minutes.
Start on your hands and knees, with your palms flat against the floor. Your arms should be centered underneath your shoulders. Bend your knees and lift yourself up so you form a “V” with your body. This should look like the “downward dog position” common in yoga. Take a deep breath and when you breathe out, lower yourself down so your elbows are bent, pointing outwards and your head almost touches the floor. Hold this for 30 seconds. Push yourself back up to the “V” position and repeat for 20 reps.
Stand Up Straight
Believe it or not, over-exercising your chest and abdomen muscles can harm your posture. Have you ever seen someone with muscular arms and a thick, toned chest, but they have a hunched look? They probably have been neglecting the very important muscles located in their back.
Exercising your rhomboid muscles will loosen your chest’s pectoral muscles that get tight when you hunch forward while working at a computer or driving and keep your back naturally straight.
Daily Exercise 2: Posture Perfect
Needed: a chair with a back.
Time: 3 minutes.
Sit on a chair with a back. Reach your arms around your ribs to the opposite sides of your body, as if you are giving yourself a hug. Try to touch your shoulder blades. Next, put your hands on the back of your head and point your elbows out. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and try to make them touch. Take deep breaths and repeat both steps for three minutes.
No More Sleepless Nights
Trying to save money for the latest specialized mattress that claims to give you the best sleep of your life? While a high-quality bed will more than likely improve your sleep, you can also try keeping your lower back muscles in top shape.
Another tip for improving back support in bed is to support your spinal alignment with extra pillows. If you’re a side-sleeper, prop a pillow in between your knees to keep your spine even. If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees to anchor your lower back to the bed. If you sleep on your stomach, prop a pillow under your hips to give extra support.
Daily Exercise 3: The Plank
Needed: an even, flat surface and supportive shoes.
Time: 5 minutes.
Lean forward on your elbows with your legs straight out behind you in a “plank” position. Keep your entire back and legs straight. Hold this position for up to a minute, while keeping your body steady. To challenge yourself, stretch one arm out in front of you for about 20 seconds, while holding your body in position. Then switch to the other arm. This tactic can also be used with your legs. This will exercise your entire back, but primarily your lower back, which is in charge of supporting your spine.
Stay Flexible and Prevent Injury
Back injuries can sometimes be severe enough to require surgery and unless you make a full recovery, your back might never be the same. The key to protecting yourself from injury is to stay flexible. A back injury can happen anytime, even if you don’t routinely do much physical activity. You could slip a disc climbing out of bed in the morning or picking up bags of groceries from your trunk.
Your back muscles connect all the muscle groups of your body. They stretch from your arms to your shoulders, around your ribs to your abs, and down your glutes to your legs. While flexibility should be your goal for all of your muscles, keep in mind how important the back muscles are in the fluid movements of your body.
If you increase your back flexibility, it will be easier for you to participate in cardio exercise and activities. Because of your enhanced agility, you will be better at sports as well.
Daily Exercise 4: The Bridge
Needed: an even, flat surface.
Time: 5 minutes.
Lay on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Arch your back until you form an upside down “U” or “bridge” with your body, supported by your feet and shoulders, and keep your arms lying flat on the floor. Hold this position for 60 seconds. Do multiple repetitions while clenching your glute muscles. To make it harder, stretch one leg straight out in front of you while holding position. Alternate legs.
Back Health for Life
Don’t forget to stretch before and after every workout. This will keep all of your muscle groups loose and healthy and prevent lingering muscle soreness. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids before and after you exercise.
Take 15-25 minutes each day and try these workout back exercises. They can keep you flexible and strong throughout your life. And to top it all off, you will have a defined back to look at in the mirror while you work towards your goal of health and fitness.