Whether you are working towards muscle growth, muscle definition, or regular fitness, back exercises must be included in a proper training program. They are an essential part of any good fitness regime. The two thumb rules you need to keep in mind are, if you want muscle growth, consistently increase your weight load to build a higher resistance. However, if you want better, higher muscle definition, lower your weight load, but increase the number of repetitions.
Among the upper back exercises, the cable row helps add real muscle-mass. Here’s how you do it:
➺ Sit on the platform with a bend in your knees.
➺ Hold the cable attachment (triangle handle or bar) with a neutral grip, ensuring that your arms are outstretched, and back and shoulder blades are straight.
➺ There should be tension on the cable before you begin.
➺ Now brace your abdomen, and pull the handle into your sternum.
➺ Slowly return to your starting position. While doing this exercise, try to minimize upper body movement, this exercise is ideal for strengthening upper back muscles, as emphasis is given to the upper back muscles while rowing.
Pull-ups done correctly are among the best back exercises for men. This pull-up requires an overhand grip, which puts the pressure on the back instead of the arms.
➺ Begin by grasping the bar with an overhand grip, keeping a little more than shoulder-width distance between your hands, and extend your arms fully.
➺ Allow your body to hang straight down.
➺ Now slowly pull up, until your chin is over the bar, squeezing your lats as you do so. Ensure that you do not swing your body.
➺ Gradually lower slowly yourself to the starting position without swinging.
Single Arm Row
➺ Stand straight next to the bench, then place your right knee and right palm on the bench.
➺ Your back should be flat and parallel to the bench.
➺ Grab hold of a dumbbell with your left hand and then raise your arm up, so that the shoulder to elbow portion (upper arm) is parallel to the floor, and the elbow to wrist portion (lower arm) is hanging straight down towards the floor, with your palm facing in. ➺ Slowly bring the dumbbell back down.
➺ After you complete your left arm workout, repeat the exercise with your right arm.
Lying Bent Over Rows
➺ Lie face down on a flat or slightly inclined bench, such that your chest to groin region is resting on the bench.
➺ Hold a dumbbell in either palm, with your arms hanging down.
➺ Now simultaneously bring the dumbbells towards your chest.
➺ Maintain control while lowering the dumbbells back down, and don’t let them drop.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
There are a few exercises that are recommended to prevent lower back pain.
➺ Make a roll of a small towel, and place it under your lower back, as you lie flat on the floor.
➺ Keep your left leg straight while lifting your right leg, and pointing your knee toward the ceiling.
➺ Extend your arms and hold your right thigh, by interlocking your fingers.
➺ Gradually straighten your right leg, and point your toes toward the ceiling.
➺ You should feel a stretch on the lower side of your thigh.
➺ Now retain that position for 30 seconds.
➺ One set comprises about 3 repetitions. Perform the same exercise with your other leg.
Cat and Camel Stretch
➺ Assume a dog like position by getting down on your hands and knees. Your hands should be aligned with you shoulders, and your knees with your hips. ➺ For the cat stretch, drop your head down, while tucking your pelvis under, and lifting the middle of your back as high as you can. The abdominal muscles should be held firm.
➺ This feline stretch should have your back in a curve, raised towards the ceiling.
➺ Hold this position for 5 seconds.
➺ You should perform about 10 reps in a set.
➺ In the camel stretch, assume the same initial position, but this time raise your head, and hips up, while letting your stomach fall towards the floor.
➺ Hold this position for 5 seconds, and perform about 10 reps in a set.
These lower back exercises will help those men who suffer from low back pain. It is very important to never skip a warm-up routine before you begin to exercise or stretch. For regular back exercises to add muscle, one is advised to perform between 3 to 4 sets per exercise. Ideally, do about 2 exercises each for the lower, middle, and upper back.