The day being a Sunday, a lazy morning and a rest day from the gym. Life seems empty while you sip on a cup of coffee to kick start your metabolism for the day and lighten up the brain waves. You look back at the week that was and how you hit those weights hard and put in a lot of good workouts and maybe broke a few personal bests/ records or may be achieved that minor goal/target be it gains or fat loss. You are happy with yourself so is your trainer or maybe not. Looking back also takes you to looking forward to imagine or design the week to come, maybe make a few changes or maybe keep the routine same. A spiritual reflection into your gym life which not only sculpts your physique but moulds who you are…
It is all about the approach towards your dream physique to sculpt a better you day in and day out. You flex those muscles feeling every part of your body and moving your head you think about your workout. They say that Monday is international CHEST day. Let it be, maybe the gym gets over packed with those not serious gymmers who come in the start of the week and disappear after hitting chest and biceps. How about working on something really serious and moving some serious poundage and feel like superman? How about working out those LATS and pulling some serious weights and feel that powerful feeling of protruding lats and pumped up biceps? Make it a BACK day!!!
Back muscles cover the posterior region of the trunk protecting and supporting your spinal cord and helping you stand erect and walk on two legs, helping you to move your arms and legs and reach out to objects or pull things closer. You see someone walking with a hunched back or sitting with a hunched back- that is a sign of weak back muscles. This is also observed in girls whose shoulders tend to fall inside as the back muscle is not able to keep the body straight and erect. Look in the mirror observe yourself. Many a times I have had to yell across the gym to tell someone to sit straight when resting between sets. Fixing a hunched back is more difficult when training someone and for that have to advise clients to make a point to sit straight and keep the back consciously erect all time or else progress in the gym will be slow. A strong personality has a strong back.
ANATOMY OF THE BACK MUSCLES
The back consists of various muscles and covers a major portion of your body right from the base of your skull till the hips/glutes (posterior region) and all the movements are totally dependent upon the strength and agility of the back muscles. Aesthetic appeal of the back is very high be it for men or women. We all need to have a strong back because if it breaks or injured then you are flat out on the bed till recovery. I have read reports of how no resistance training has degraded the spinal cord of a lady and a slipped disc at one lumbar has spread weakness all over the spine making her fragile and a task only to be taken up by a physiotherapist. The only way to protect your own self is to make yourself stronger. The back muscles consists of the following muscles –
- Lattissimus Dorsi – the lats or wings as they are called in general gym terms.
- Trapezius – called as traps and mistaken as part of the shoulder muscle group. It is in the shape of a kite starting from the base of your skull till mid back. It looks as if the Lats/wings are attached to the traps.
- Teres Major and Minor are near with the Lats assisting its movements.
- Rhomboids major and minor – these are beneath the traps, assisting movements of the back.
- Levator Scapulae – located at the back and side of the neck, to lift the scapula(shoulder bone/shoulder blade)
- Erector Spinae Muscles – Keeps the natural curvature of the spinal cord, forward bending, sideways bending, rotation, all these movements are dependent upon the erector spinae. Deadlifts make erector spinae strong.
These are the basic muscles taken into consideration when talking about the back. These also have sub parts which all help us to function and move properly. Any weaknesses in any of these muscles are going to affect your way of life and any injury to the back has to be taken seriously in order to recover properly.
LIST OF EXERCISES FOR THE BACK –
- Pull – Ups.
- Lat Pull downs.
- Rowing – Dumbbell/Barbell/T-bar/Machine.
- Prone alternate hand leg raise/ superman.
- Reverse back extension.
- Good mornings.
- Cable pulls.
REASONS TO TRAIN THE BACK MUSCLES –
While all the above are reasons in itself to train your back, let us highlight them a little for a better understanding as to why back training is important-
- Protection to CNS – The Central Nervous System is all about the spinal cord and your brain and it has to be protected at all times and for that the back muscles have to be strong as they are the armour for your spinal cord.
- To maintain Neutral Spine – The Spine/Spinal Cord has a natural curvature because of which we are able to function and move and also to maintain balance. It is able to bear load/weight in its natural curvature and our locomotion and performance are completely dependent upon this natural curvature.
- To Prevent Degenerative Disorders like lumbar lordosis, kyphosis, slipped disc, postural problems, cervical spondylosis, etc.
- To improve performance inside and outside of the gym – all our movements be it pulling or lifting objects, pushing or reaching, grabbing objects, any movement that we do is dependent upon the well being and strength of the back muscles.
- Strong back muscles improve the bench press.
- For sportsmen a strong back and a strong posture is what helps them to excel at their game.
- A well developed back is a beautiful sight both for men and women, it is what makes you look confident and to have a positive body language.
The back is one of the neglected muscle groups in beginners or new comers at the gym which needs to change. Girls/women should look at strengthening their back and improving their poundage to get stronger and toned. Strong is the new sexy. Big Traps is a sign of strength in men and a wide lat spread is what makes that V-shaped physique (slim waist is important for a V-shape) and a strong confident personality.
If people are going to talk behind your back then give them a wide lat spread space to talk. Lift those weights, get strong and look and feel good. More power to you all.