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Monday, June 27, 2011

Fitness Tip: Back exercises

Easy Ways to Strengthen the Back

We all know that the best way to nurture the back is with a strong core. However, here are some old and new exercises strictly for the back that I incorporate into my exercise routine.

(All exercises taken from Fitness Magazine)

Lie facedown with arms extended in front of you. Lift upper and lower body off floor as you bend elbows and draw shoulder blades together (as shown). Hold; touch heels together 10 times. Return to start. Repeat four times.

  • Works lower back, shoulders, butt
Twist Away
Secure resistance band at chest level; grip a handle in each hand, arms extended in front of you, palms in. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Draw right hand toward waist. Keeping hands fixed, rotate torso to right (as shown). Rotate back to center and release right arm for one rep. Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Works upper back, obliques

Kneeling Row
Secure band at eye level or higher; grip a handle in each hand. Kneel and extend arms above shoulder level on a diagonal, palms in. Squeeze shoulder blades together as you draw hands toward chest (as shown). Hold for one count, then release arms for one rep. Do 15 reps.
  • Works upper back, middle back

Shrug it Off
Sit on edge of chair, hands at front of seat, fingers forward, knees bent 90 degrees, feet flat. Use arms to lift yourself off chair. Keeping arms straight, shrug shoulders toward ears, lowering butt below seat (as shown); release for one rep. Do 12 reps.
  • Works upper back, shoulders

Super V Lift
Lie facedown on bench with hip bones at end, legs together, toes on floor; hold bench for support. Lift lower body until parallel to floor, separate legs in a V (as shown), then bring legs together; lower to floor for one rep. Do 15 reps.
  • Works lower back, butt

Traffic Stopper
Secure band at chest level; grip a handle in each hand, arms extended in front of you, palms down. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Draw hands toward chest. Rotate left forearm up (as shown), then lower to parallel. Repeat on right for one rep. Do 10 reps.
  • Works upper back, shoulders

Here are some new ones that I plan to try.


Cat-Cow Variation

Get your doctor's okay before starting these strengthening and conditioning exercises. Reduces stiffness in back and hips; relieves tension in spine
  • a. Cow Pose: On hands and knees, inhale and lift head while making back concave.
  • b. Cat Pose: On exhale, tuck tailbone, contract abs, and round back, head down.
  • c. Child's Pose: Draw hips back to heels, drop chest, rounding spine, and rest forehead on floor, arms in front of you. Do 6 reps of whole cycle. Rest in Child's Pose for several breaths.
Bridge Pose

Stretches abs, hips, quads, lower back; strengthens abs
  • Lie faceup with feet on floor about 6 inches from butt, arms by sides, palms down.
  • Inhaling, press into feet and lift lower body until knees form a diagonal with head.
  • As you exhale, contract your abs and slowly lower spine.
  • Do 6 reps.


Extended Leg Pose

Stretches hamstrings; strengthens abs
  • Lie faceup with knees bent, feet on floor; take 3 deep breaths.
  • a. Exhale and hug left knee to chest.
  • b. Inhaling, extend left leg over hip. Exhaling, hug it in. Do 3 reps.
  • On fourth rep, keep leg up and circle ankle four times in each direction.
  • Hug knee in; lower foot. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Exhale and hug both knees to chest for 3 breaths.

Butterfly Pose

Tones abs, pelvic floor, inner thighs
  • a. Lie faceup with soles of feet together, knees open to sides. Inhale.
  • b. Exhale and slowly squeeze thighs together. Do 6 reps.
  • Do 6 more times, taking twice as long to bring thighs together.
Cobra Leg Lift
Strengthens back and pelvic muscles
  • Lie facedown with elbows by sides, hands by shoulders.
  • Rest forehead on floor, chin tucked slightly.
  • Inhale and lift chest using back muscles.
  • At the same time, lift right leg as high as you can while keeping pelvis level.
  • Hold, then exhale to lower.
  • Switch sides; repeat.
  • Do 6 reps, alternating sides, lifting leg a little higher each time.

If this helped you leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

I hope you enjoyed your Fitness Tip and will add it to your Recipe for Health

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