Get Back! – Building the Back Half of the Body

It’s easy for all the muscles in your back and rear legs to be “out of sight, out of mind,” since these areas are not so easily visible in the mirror as we evaluate our training progress. However, our backs are most important to us, because virtually everything we do – sporting activity or otherwise – is anchored to the balance and alignment we create with this intricate network of muscles.  So quality back training will strengthen these muscles for better physical performance, and also provide superior conditioning as a preventative measure against injury or strain.

getbackmainAn original version of this excerpt, tweaked for Drum magazine

From traps, rear delts and lats, all the way down to lower back, glutes, hams and calves, serious back training is a complex endeavor.  But just to get things rolling, here are three simple, foundational movements you can do two to three times a week to condition your back, backside, and hamstrings (rear leg).

Lat Pulldowns: Great for total back development, with emphasis on the large outer muscles, or “lats.”

1pulldowns1. Grab the cable bar a little wider than shoulder-width as you’re sitting down, and secure your legs under the thigh pad.

2. With your back slightly arched and your head tilted back, pull the bar down toward the top of your chest to chin level. Focus on pulling with your back muscles, as opposed to your arms.

3. Slowly return the bar to starting position for one rep.

Work up to three sets of eight to fifteen reps.

______________

Machine Rows: Ideal for mid-back muscles and overall back strength and thickness.

2rows1. Take a seat with your torso against the chest pad, making sure that you can reach the handles.

2. While keeping your chest tight against the pad, pull the handles toward you as far as you comfortably can. Again, focus on pulling with your back muscles, as opposed to your arms.

3. Slowly return the bar to starting position for one rep.

Work up to three sets of eight to fifteen reps.

______________

Stiff-legged Dumbbell Deadlifts: Excellent for strengthening the lower back, backside and hamstrings. Go super light with these at first!

3dumbbelldeads1. Stand with a light dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the front of your thighs.

2. While keeping your back and legs straight throughout the movement, slowly bend down at the waist so that the dumbbells are heading toward your feet.

3. Once you reach the mid-shin area, slowly return to the starting position, focusing on pulling with your hamstrings and lower back.

Work up to three sets of eight to fifteen reps.

______________

Train hard,

BR

PS. This is blog #17 in my 20-blogs-in-30-days series for June 2014.  So close… but yet so far!

 

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About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of seven books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. (He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford.) Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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