As we gear up to say goodbye to James (he will definitely be missed!) we couldn’t leave you without one more essential exercise to tone that back. While a good workout is great for preventive measures, a good stretch can help to soothe your muscles and ease your soreness. I have been known to dedicate an entire workout to just stretching because it really does transform your body. So, what does all of this have to do with your back. In case you haven’t noticed by now, your back is one big muscle with tons of tiny muscles surrounding it. Stretching your back is essential and reaping the rewards is glorious. If you don’t have a lot of experience with stretching the back, don’t worry - our friends (in our head) at the Mayo Clinic have a 15 minute back stretch routine that would be perfect for any fitness level.
Put Your Back Into It: Seated Cable Row
1. To get into the starting position, sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked.
2. Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles.
3. With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you. This is the starting position of the exercise.
4. Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement. At this point, you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in.
Note: A majority of back exercises fall into the category of pulling motions. In any pulling motion the biceps are involved. In order to keep your biceps from completely taking over the exercise and to ensure you are working your back, employ a thumbless grip on all back exercises. With a thumbless grip, you simply keep your thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers, as opposed to wrapping your thumb around the bar.
As with any exercise, it’s important to ensure your safety by perfecting the correct form. If you’re unsure about your workouts, I encourage you to contact James at Ready Heroes Fitness to supply some professional help as you tackle your personal fitness needs.
As always, eating right is an essential component in seeing the results you’re looking for. Don’t forget that FitXBrit has you covered with custom meal plans.
Be sure to check back next week when our next fit expert takes over our L.Y.F.E (Live Your Fit Everyday) Series!