Weight training can be overwhelming. Are you intimidated to approach the free weights at the gym? Bodyweight Exercises can eliminate this undue stress.
The area is usually full of muscular people who actually look good in athletic wear. They look like they came out of a fitness commercial.
Even the machines, which have pictures explaining how to use them, can be scary to try for the first time. Especially in public, you’re worried about looking stupid and using the machine wrong.
Using muscle strengthening equipment will NOT cause you to bulk up. A big misconception especially among women. This is so wrong! WRONG!
You would need a super high-protein diet over the course of a few years. That is years of rigorous muscle building activities. But if you’re just getting started, you are a long ways off from bulking up.
Take a breath, weight training or using exercise machines is possible. If it weren’t, those muscular beautiful people could never have gotten that way and you can too. However, when you want to tone your back or work on your back muscles you are not limited to a gym and all their machines.
So what can bodyweight exercises for the back do for your back and other parts of your body? For starters, it can help you tone up and slim down. Did you hear that ladies? SLIM down, not bulk up!
As bikini season approaches, those back rolls might be embarrassing for some. Complete a few bodyweight exercises for the back that target those muscles. You’ll be on your way to tightening and firming that back.
I think it’s fair to assume that men are interested in adding mass to their backs. They want to get that deep back V. Ladies might be looking to drop a little stubborn pudge. Nonetheless, we all start in the same place so let’s examine a few bodyweight exercises for the back muscles.
If you remember middle school gym class you remember pull-ups. Pull-ups are a great way to target back muscle as well as arm muscle. All you need is a pull-up bar or equivalent. A lot of sports stores and tv commercials advertise an easy to install at home pull up bar. If you have a sturdy door frame you could even use that. If you don’t care about other people looking, use the monkey bars at a local playground. Get creative! As long as you’re pulling yourself up you can target those back muscles.
Rowing is another example of great bodyweight exercises for the back muscles. If you own a pair of weights at home, you can imitate the rowing machine in the comfort of your own living room. Grab your dumbbells and stand with your legs should-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and bow forward. You will pull the dumbbells from about knee height towards your shoulders, engaging the upper-back muscles as well as the biceps and triceps.
Push-ups are a classic example of bodyweight exercises for the back muscles. It will also engage your core muscles and your triceps. You can even do modified push-ups where you rest on your knees if you aren’t quite ready to perform the real deal.
Single-arm Dumbbell Row
There are two ways to explain this exercise.
At the gym:
If you are performing this exercise at the gym, grab a dumbbell and place one knee on the bench. Prop yourself up with the corresponding arm. If your right knee is on the bench, your right arm will be supporting you. You’re in a bowing position leaning almost parallel to the bench.
In your free arm hold the dumbbell and begin lifting the dumbbell up towards your shoulder. Then back down to be level with the bench. Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in to get the full effect of this workout.
If you can, try watching yourself in the mirror to keep an eye on your technique. You should be able to see your back muscles engaged in the activity.
It’s almost the same thing but most of us don’t have a workout bench at home. If this is the case, use your couch for this exercise. Place one knee on the coach and support yourself with the corresponding arm. Lift the dumbbell from coach-level up towards your solider.
If you have a full-length mirror watch yourself and keep your technique accurate. This way, you’re more aware of how you’re moving and you can make sure that elbow does not bow out. Wide elbows mean that you’re putting the stress of the exercise on the joint rather than the muscle.
This hurts! You can strain the elbow joint and experience what is typically referred to as golfer’s elbow. You’ll have a major case of T-Rex arm until the injury heals. It is not fun, so if you can prevent this by going down a weight size or watching your technique, you should do so.
Yoga Poses for the Back
Yoga poses are also great for engaging and tightening back muscles. Look into a few poses that are considered bodyweight exercises for the back muscles.
Lie on your stomach and slowly, lift both your arms and legs as much as possible at the same time. Hold this position for as long as you comfortably can and keep looking straight ahead.
2. Cobra Pose
Lying in the prone position, place your palms at shoulder level. Tighten your stomach and lift your upper body in a stretch with your eyes facing upwards. Make sure to keep your chest lifted and avoid arching your back.
3. Bridge Pose
Lying on the floor, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Suck in your stomach, lift your pelvis and buttocks as high as possible. Try and grab the back of your feet with your hands.
4. Cat Stretch
Come down on all fours and take a deep breath. As you exhale, push your belly towards your spine, curving your back to the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds and then, slowly bring your back down to normal.
5. Kneeling Extension / Bird Dog Pose
Get your body on all fours and lift your right leg and left arm to shoulder level. Hold this position for a few seconds while looking straight ahead. Then, bring the leg and arm down and lift the left leg and right arm next. You can add difficulty by pulling the lifted elbow and knee together.
Since it requires you to tighten your core, the plank is a great way to strengthen your back. Especially the lower part of it. Depending on your fitness level, either do the forearm version or the classic one. Make sure to look straight ahead for extra effect.
7. Downward Dog Pose
This is the best stretch for the lower back ever! Begin in a kneeling position. Put your hands directly under the shoulders and fingers spread wide. Tuck your toes and engage your abs as you push your body up so only your hands and feet are on the ground. Press through your hands. Move your chest gently towards your thighs and your heels towards the floor.
Lastly, be safe and stretch. Your back is a sensitive area that is prone to injury. Be careful and make sure that you are performing exercises correctly. This will prevent injury and maximize results.
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