By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2
Here are some different options for back exercises that will tone your back and force you to use all your core muscles while doing them. They may appear easy at first but just by incorporating a balance component you will be targeting muscles that are normally not involved in a typical back training. These are not the exercises to build huge back muscles, but rather to sculpt the back and get more definition. Remember that there are many different muscles in your back and in order to get some real definition you will have to work these muscles at many angles so that all the fibers are challenged. That’s why I am showing exercises that are performed, for example, as a low row, mid-row and high row as well as others, like overhead pullover on the ball, that will allow you to do just that.
Please, remember to do a 5-10 minute warm up before starting any exercise.
Start with 1 set of 12 repetitions and progress to 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. The weights will vary depending on your level of experience as well as the cable machine used. It’s always good to do a few very different back exercises to hit all those different muscle fibers.
Perform all exercises slowly and through the full range of motion if you can. If balancing on one leg makes it too hard for you, learn the same exercise in a stable position first, and then progress to the less stable one. You have to be able to stand on one leg for about 20-30 seconds before you can start doing one leg exercises. You can challenge your balance by starting on the floor and holding the position for 20-30 seconds. Then do the same on the half foam roll, then the Airex pad and eventually on the Dynadisc. Once you’ve mastered any of these levels you can also add standing upper body exercises for a more advanced challenge.
Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.