How to train your back, which muscles are included in the work and which exercises must be added to the complex – all the answers are in this material.
- Back muscles
- How to train your back
- Expert commentary
Olga Derendeeva, fitness trainer of the FitStars platform, expert in injury prevention, injury recovery, postural training, author of the video in this material;
Mikhail Ignatov, traumatologist-orthopedist of the first professional network of orthopedic salons “Orteka”.
What are back muscles
Back mobility, flexibility, strength and endurance are key to maintaining spinal health and preventing pain.
The back muscles are a group of muscles that include the latissimus, trapezius, rhomboids, and extensor muscles. The deep back muscles support the spine and are responsible for the formation of the muscle corset, while the superficial muscles create a beautiful relief. Both muscle groups are interconnected with each other, so it makes sense to pump both of them.
They are primarily worked on by men to get a wide back. These are superficial muscles that occupy the entire lower back; the upper bundles on the side of the shoulder blades are covered by the trapezius muscle.
A flat and broad superficial muscle in the back of the neck and upper back. It has the shape of a triangle, directed towards the spinal column, tapering towards the scapula. The trapezius muscle is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower. It provides the opportunity to bring the shoulder blades together and lift them up.
Below the trapezius are the rhomboid major and minor muscles, which connect the shoulder blades to the spine. These are one of the main muscles that ensure beautiful posture, so basic back exercises in the gym should include working them out.
Back extensor muscles
Deep muscles that are adjacent to the spine. They definitely need to be worked out before starting weight training exercises. Otherwise, injury is possible.
How to train your back correctly
It is worth conducting thorough preparation and consulting with an orthopedist so as not to aggravate the problem or create a new one.
It is better to create a set of back exercises with the help of a trainer. Consider individual contraindications; Be sure to warm up before starting classes and stretch after.
Who should not put stress on their back?
According to Mikhail Ignatov, there are no “harmful” exercises, but there are incorrect execution techniques and contraindications. “A coach will help you set up the technique; Always seek help from a professional at the gym if you feel you are experiencing discomfort while performing an exercise,” he advises.
Typically, physical activity is partially or completely limited due to:
- injuries (recent), bruises, fractures;
- exacerbation of chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
- hernias, protrusions in remission;
- scoliosis depending on the severity of the disease;
- deforming polyarthritis, spondyloarthritis.
“Most diagnoses do not imply a complete refusal to play sports, but impose certain restrictions,” says the doctor. “For example, with hernias and protrusions, you cannot lift heavy weights, as this creates excess stress on the intervertebral discs, which can only worsen the problem. But at the same time, more gentle exercises to strengthen the arms, shoulders and back muscles will only be beneficial.”
How to train if there are protrusions and hernias
According to Mikhail Ignatov, when there are pathological changes in the musculoskeletal system, it is important to pay special attention to exercises in the gym. An experienced trainer will be aware of the limitations associated with back problems and will be able to select safe and effective exercises. It is also worth agreeing on a training program with your doctor. An orthopedic traumatologist will help adapt it to the characteristics of the body so as not to aggravate the situation.
Strength exercises will help build up your back muscles and provide additional support to your spine. Stretching exercises will help you relax and recover faster after a workout, improve blood flow, and give you a feeling of lightness.
In case of hernias and protrusions, you will have to exclude:
- twisting – they can create additional stress on the cartilage and lead to an increase in the hernia;
- jumping rope and other jumping exercises – creates additional stress on the lower back, which can aggravate the disease;
- bodybuilding – involves sudden movements and lifting heavy weights, which is completely contraindicated for hernias and protrusions;
- skis, skates – not recommended due to twisting movements;
- tennis, golf – a sport of quick reaction and sudden movements, which can also provoke an exacerbation;
- hockey, football are prohibited due to the high risk of injury.
There are not many restrictions for training in the gym. With hernias and protrusions, you can do both cardio and strength exercises. A simulator with imitation of pull-ups, vertical and horizontal block rows, and lever rows are allowed. Here’s what else you can include in your training program:
- Pilates, yoga, oriental gymnastics – do not require the use of exercise equipment, but allow you to strengthen and stretch your back muscles. The only condition is to avoid twisting.
- Swimming and water aerobics are the best option for spinal problems. Water can reduce the load on bones and joints, relax muscles, thereby improving blood flow, while at the same time regular exercise helps strengthen the muscle corset.
- Jogging is allowed provided that you train on soft surfaces and wear special orthopedic shoes.
Top 8 back exercises in the gym
Fitness trainer Olga Derendeeva told and showed how to properly train your back muscles in the gym.
1. Upper block pull
Straight grip wider than shoulder width. As you inhale, stretch up as much as possible, bring your shoulders close to your ears, stretch your latissimus muscles. As you exhale, first lower your shoulder blades and shoulders, then bend your elbows and pull the handle toward your chest. Your elbows should be down and slightly back. Stabilize your lower back, do not arch. Stretch your chest up towards the handle.
2. One-arm lat pulldown
In this option, you can significantly increase the amplitude of movement, and therefore improve your results. As you inhale, pull the handle up as far as possible. As you exhale, lower your shoulder and shoulder blade, bend your elbow and pull the block down. The elbow should be pointed towards the floor. Don’t sway from side to side.
3. Horizontal pull
Sit with your back straight, legs straight, knees slightly bent. As you exhale, move your shoulders back, bring your shoulder blades toward the center and down, bend your elbows and pull the block to your lower abdomen. In this exercise, it is important not to raise your shoulders and eliminate movement in the lumbar spine. As you inhale, slowly straighten your arms, feel the stretch in your back muscles.
4. Bent-over one-arm row
Can be performed with your knee and hand resting on a bench or against a wall. In the starting position, the pelvis and shoulders are approximately on the same line, parallel to the floor. As you inhale, stretch the dumbbells down toward the floor and feel your shoulder blade move away from your spine. As you exhale, move your shoulder and shoulder blade down and back. The shoulder blade should move towards the center of the back. Bend your elbow and point the dumbbell towards your hip joint.
5. Standing crossover pullover
Starting position – standing in an inclined position, legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, handle slightly higher than head, straight grip shoulder-width apart or wider. As you exhale, lower your shoulders and shoulder blades down, bring them to…