This exercise focuses on strengthening the muscles of your back (specifically your lats, rhomboids and delts). The Bent Over Row can be accomplished using many variations. Today we will focus on the chosen position that will ensure the best use of your back muscles and assist you in moving on to the other, more difficult forms of this exercise.
Place one hand and one knee on a flat bench. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand with your arm hanging straight down from your shoulder and your back flat. Keeping your shoulders square, pull the dumbbell up toward your rib cage, keeping your elbow close to your side. Pause for a moment at the top, then slowly lower to the start position. Repeat. 15 reps with 5-10lb weights.
Note: Remember to activate (or squeeze) your back muscles as you bring the weight close to your body. This will ensure that the proper muscle group is being worked. Also be sure not to arch your back; keep it as flat as possible. This is help you to practise proprer form and avoid injury and
The Low Back Extension exercise is an excellent way to strengthen your lower back muscles. There are many variations to this specific exercise (on the mat, on a machine, on a stability ball, with weights, without weights, etc), but for today we will focus on the basic back extension to ensure that you are progressing gradually and starting correctly.
Lie on your stomach, arms reached out past your head with palms and forehead on the floor. Tighten your abs. Lift one arm (as you raise your head and shoulders - being careful not to raise your head too high but keeping it in line with your spine) and the opposite leg at the same time, stretching them away from each other. Hold for 10 - 20 seconds. Switch sides and hold the opposite side for the same amount of time. Relax and repeat 5 - 10 times.
Lie on your stomach with arms reaching out past your head with palms and forehead on the floor. Tighten your abs. Lift both arms and legs off the mat. Hold for 20 seconds and slowly lower to the mat. Repeat 5-10 times.
Note: In the illustration below, the individual's hands are on his/her head, this position is also acceptable, but it is more effective to have your hands reached outward as described above.
Another exercise to help strengthen you back muscles, believe it or not, is the wall squat. The isometric contraction in your back used to keep your body against the wall aids in promoting back strength.
Stand with your back against a wall, heels about 18 inches from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Tighten your abs. Slide slowly down the wall into a crouch with knees bent to about 90 degrees. If this is too difficult, bend knees to 45 degrees and gradually build up from there. Count to ten slowly and slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 - 10 times. If counting proves to be unreliable (which it eventually will), use a stopwatch to time the length of your wall squats.
Not only does your back benefit from this exercise but you will start to feel it working in your quads and hips as well. You may feel it more so in your quads when you start holding the wall squat for longer periods but don't worry.. that's normal. Keep at it and challenge yourself gradually.
In this section, you will find a collection of various exercises as well as tips and information on proper form.