Back Muscles the Forgotten Group.
What is one of the most important muscle area of your body to strengthen with exercise? Surprisingly it is the back muscles, they are probably the most neglected, disregarded muscles because they are out of sight. Your arms, legs and frontal core muscles make you look good while the large group of muscles in your back support your spine so what could be more important? Your back muscles are protecting the nerve centre of your body which convey impulses to your brain. They are also essential overall for good posture, balance and core function. You may think sitting at a desk for extended periods of time may seem relatively easy on your back, but if you have poor posture sitting in a hunched over position for long periods without a break or short walk etc., it puts a lot of pressure on your spine leading to back problems. One of the common types of chronic pain is back pain which like any constant nagging pain can effect everything you do in life including mental performance, your memory and mood increasing the risk of anxiety and depression. If you can build up your back muscles to support your spine you may prevent or lessen the effect of an injury and if an injury does occur it can aid in recovery. I do not have all the answers but I may have one. Good posture, including exercises targeting your shoulders, back and core into your regular program will go a long way in avoiding painful back problems in the future. This may even relieve or cure existing problems, removing a lot of distress and anxiety from your life. There are many great back exercises you can do, for me the best is the plank, I keep repeating myself because it is that good, no equipment necessary, it can be done almost anywhere, anytime, it is also harder than it looks and takes very little time. Being an isometric exercise, no movement involved it has a low injury risk, your muscles are working for and against each other to hold the position. Increase your endurance by slowly increasing the period before relaxing. Once you have mastered the standard plank position, try lifting one leg to greatly increase the degree of difficulty then move on to a side plank which will work your obliques, your side abdominal muscles, not always targeted but great to improve your flexibility and balance.
For a great overall muscle tone routine including your back muscles please refer to my chapter on kettle bells.
I said at the beginning of the chapter that your back muscles were disregarded and neglected, sometimes exercises targeting your back are omitted or given little importance in your session because they are out of sight, out of sight to you maybe to other people they are not. I had a woman come to training who was not overweight yet still concerned about developing a layer of fat across her upper back which could be seen wearing a summer dress and is usually highlighted and made to look worse by a bra strap. She was prepared to work hard to avoid that look, particularly for her when she was dining out in some of her best dresses with a low cut back. She was training with me three days a week for one hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday a perfect schedule with a rest day in between sessions. I suggested ten minutes of each session should be devoted to upper back exercise. We were already doing a lot of abdominal exercise which will build up her lower back around her love handle areas but do little for her upper back so we targeted her upper back with my full kettle bell routine, push ups, (most ladies perform push ups on their knees), planks etc. for about three months. One Monday morning she arrived at training all smiles, enquiring as to why she looked so happy she told me she was in a change cubical of a large department store on the weekend trying on a new bra the cubical had mirrors on three of the four walls and she was surprised to see how great her back looked, now there is no stopping her. To be motivated this way or drop a dress size, even having your current wardrobe of clothes feel loose on you beats a set of scales any day. Scales are only a number this is the real deal, something yourself and other people can see and admire. Prevention in this ladies case was made much easier because she approached the problem area before it existed. It still took a lot of discipline, will power, foresight and of course hard work to maintain and improve a body she was proud of. Some people maintain their motor vehicle to keep it running flawless and to a standard where it becomes their pride and joy, so why not maintain your body to a similar standard so it becomes your pride and joy. It is not that hard you can start with a walk.
A cure for a neglected body requires much more hard work and it is difficult to turn things around, so change old habits and begin living a more active life style, it all starts with your mindset, a mental framework of a positive attitude “I can do this”. To do nothing is to have complete disrespect for your body and how it functions and like a motor vehicle if it is not maintained correctly to a high standard, it will breakdown and the cure will take a lot longer and cost a lost more than the prevention would have.
If you are already overweight you cannot target a particular localised fatty area like your upper back, unsightly belly fat, love handles or anywhere else on your body, unfortunately it does not work that way. You have to reduce your overall body weight, just because you are doing sit ups to improve your abdominal muscles it does not mean that this is where you will reduce the fat, you may have great abdominal muscles hidden under a layer of fat, your body will be indistinguishable on where it reduces fat levels.
Any weight loss will be proportional.
Confused about what size weights to use to avoid injury, but still get a great result worry no more.
Filled with common-sense advice to help the mainstream, average person improve and enjoy all aspects of life, Lifestyle Fitness II, by author Robert Neeves explains how to achieve remarkable health benefits with little inconvenience or distress. It’s a simple matter of eating less and moving more.
The second in a series, Neeves demonstrates how regular, moderate, consistent exercise; common-sense eating habits; and a strong, positive, and motivated mind are the most beneficial to your well-being and a positive quality of life. Lifestyle Fitness II covers enjoyable exercises and offers food options to tone your body and have you looking and feeling great.
Based on his work as a personal trainer and his own life experiences, Neeves presents information, encouragement, and motivation as you take action to improve the quality of your life. He encourages you to not stay trapped in an overweight, uncomfortable, and unhealthy body. Free yourself with painless, sustainable lifestyle changes for a better and healthier you.
About the Author
Robert Neeves is a seventy-two-year-old registered personal trainer, who, despite having medical complication at a young age, is still extremely active. Three years ago, he climbed Mr. Kilimanjaro and reached the summit. Neeves has four children and ten grandchildren and lives in Australia. This is his second book.