Love Your Back FeaturedSince Valentine’s Day falls in February, why not choose this month to show some love…to your back. Guide clients to do the same and the results might just be something they will love!

It is easy to focus on muscles we can visibly see. Look in the mirror and you can see definition and toned muscles, results ofexercise and training. Sometimes the back gets overlooked because we do not see it in front of us.

Why the back?

Backaches, spasms, and tension are wake-up calls. Rather than wait for a back issue, being proactive can prevent problems. As part of the core, a strong back supports the abs and vice versa. On the contrary, a weak back impacts the abdominal area. Much like the childhood game Operation, everything is connected.

Using the analogy of a tree trunk, the back is the center support where limbs branch out. It is an integral part of our health and wellness.

The back is responsible for so many daily activities, like standing, sitting, bending, and walking. A strong back supports the body in movement, posture, and exercise, of course. Keeping it strong can prevent injury and improve performance at the gym. No one wants a backache. As long as there are no contraindications, why not keep it in the best shape like our abs, pecs, and quads?

Another reason to focus on the back is the new workout clothing trend where the back is exposed. Plus, when summer rolls around, it will be bathing suit season and alas, the back is out there.

There are three ways to show the love.


Exercise

There are many muscles in the back, but four major muscle groups include: trapezius, latissimus dorsi, the rhomboids, and the erector spinae. Ideas for working back muscles are:
• Banded pull-apart
• Pull-ups
• Kettlebell swings
• Lat pull-downs
Deadlifts
• Suspension cable rows
• Reverse fly
• Plank

Stretching Continuing Education


Stretching

Stretching keeps the back flexible and less prone to injury. Incorporate twists and back stretches in training sessions. A few to consider are:
• Legs up the wall
• Lying supine twist
• Hug knees to chest
• Piriformis stretch (standing or lying)
• Standing forward fold
• Windmill
• Kneeling twist


Massage and Acupressure

There is nothing quite like a massage. It gets circulation moving, provides relaxation and helps with muscle recovery. We cannot reach our backs, so this is done by someone else…obviously. That is part of the benefit, because it allows for total relaxation. A therapeutic massage targets pressure points and areas needing extra help.

With the pandemic, as well as budget constraints, a massage is not always an option. Consider the foam roller. Use a foam roller for self-massage targeting specific areas.

The acupressure mat is another do-it-yourself-er. Lying on the mat with plastic probes allows your body to naturally heat up like a built-in heating pad. Initially, it can take some getting used to. Those who use the mat tout its benefits to soothe sore back and shoulder muscles, relieve tension and help with insomnia (an added plus).

Basically, we need our backs to be strong our whole lives. So, we need to take care of them! Incorporating workouts to focus on the back will allow clients to see the difference in how they feel and how they look.


References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/back-strengthening-muscles-posture#The-moves
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/massage
https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a759269/10-best-back-exercises-for-building-muscle/
https://teachmeanatomy.info/back/muscles/superficial/
https://geekymedics.com/superficial-back-muscles/
https://www.verywellhealth.com/stretching-exercises-for-your-back-2696357
https://www.jerseystrong.com/blog/four-fundamental-exercises-to-target-your-back-muscles
https://www.kingofthegym.com/back-anatomy/
https://www.healthline.com/health/acupressure-mat#how-to-use