"Oh, my aching back!"
We use our back muscles to carry out daily chores all day long. Whether active or sedentary, these muscles are vital to a strong core. They support upper body movement and correct posture, all of which lend to a healthy body. While different exercises focus on different muscles, all the parts of the body are still required to work together, making upper body exercises essential for a healthy body. This article will focus on the upper back with a focus on beginning exercisers.
For the novice exerciser, begin with a light warm up and perform a few movement-based stretches such as the “snow angel” stretch. Stand against a wall and raise your arms up with elbows bent so they form a “W”. Your fingertips will be in contact with the wall. Gently raise and lower your arms, grazing your fingernails on the wall as you move. This can be performed while sitting as well.
Common upper back exercises used to strengthen muscles fall into the categories of rows, and rear lateral raises.(see image below). There are many variations and weights can be added or increased as strength develops.
The Y-T-L-W-I raise nicely targets the upper back, stabilizes the shoulder blades, strengthens shoulders in all directions, and emphasizes the rotator cuff. This series can be performed standing or sitting with or without weights. Later, add a balance cushion or stand on a folded towel for extra core challenge .