Strengthening your back muscles using bodyweight back exercises is a fantastic way to promote correct posture, prevent back pain, and build muscle definition.
Pain management and sports performance coaches Matt Lovett and Ross Gray from aps Fitness share their top bodyweight back exercises.
Bodyweight Back Exercises
There are many different functions of the muscles that make up our back, but three of the main ones are helping us maintain a good posture and helping us pull things, both vertically and horizontally.
This means that for a pain free body, capable of high levels of sporting performance, it’s super important to train all three of these.
There are loads of options for doing this and gyms have lots of fancy kit to help, but we all know that gyms can get incredibly busy and getting to that kit can be easier said than done.
Also not everyone has access to a gym or wants to go to a gym, so to help out, here are our top 3 bodyweight back exercises (ok so they do use a bit of kit, but you can easily get these for your home) covering vertical, horizontal and postural strength.
1) The Pull Up – Vertical Pulling
Eccentric Pull Ups
To start with, use eccentric pull ups, where you jump up and try to lower yourself for 1 or 2 seconds. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, resting 3 minutes between each set.
Once you can do that then make the lowering phase of each rep longer. 3 seconds, then 4 seconds etc. Working your way up to 10 seconds a rep.
Full Pull Ups
After mastering eccentrics the next step is a full pull up. You may have to reduce the range of movement a bit at first but soon you’ll be able to do the whole thing.
Aim for 3 sets of 2-3 reps resting 3 minutes between each set. Once you can do that comfortably, look to bring the number of reps up to 5. You can also play with different grips
You can change the rep range and rest periods to suit your goal. Think low reps, high rest for strength, and high reps with less rest for endurance.
2) The Inverted Row – Horizontal Pulling
Using a strap or a bar walk underneath so that you begin to hold your own weight. The further you walk under, the heavier you will be to row.
Once you’re ready, pull yourself to the handles/bar focusing on pulling your shoulders back. Then slowly return to the start position. Maintain a neutral body position throughout.
Play with the reps and rest ratios to best suit your goal. Again think low reps, high rest for strength and high reps with less rest for endurance.
3) Posture – The Cobra
Posture is often a very neglected aspect of people’s training but is a really important one. It helps us avoid aches and pains throughout the day and allows us to keep optimal positions during sport and training.
To perform the cobra lie on the floor, face down. Squeeze your glutes, but keep your legs on the ground. Then lift your chest and arms up off the floor. Keep your head in neutral alignment and rotate your hands back so that your shoulder blades move closer together.
Start by holding this for 30s, resting for 10s and repeating this 6 times. Once you can do that then move to a 50s hold, 10s rest, 4 times.
About Matt Lovett & Ross Gray
Matt has always had a keen interest in fitness. Since gaining a degree in Sports Management and becoming a Personal Trainer, Matt has built up a wealth of knowledge that he uses to help other people achieve their goals.
Ross enjoys a life dominated by sports. His passion lies in living a vibrant, healthy life through a holistic approach. He combines the knowledge gained from his degree in Sports Science with his personal and professional experience to help others discover their true potential.
Both Matt and Ross created aps Fitness in March 2011. Their mission is to help anyone who spires to change their lives through improving their health, body shape, athletic performance or all three.
To read more about more about Matt and Ross visit their website aps Fitness.
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