Another week brings another challenge and this time we're battling back fat. As discussed last week, it may not be possible to spot reduce but we can certainly do a lot to help in the battle by building a strong and lean back.
The back is one of those areas that we can easily neglect until we suddenly see the 'love handles' appearing. Interestingly, people tend to notice the body fat long before they notice the poor posture from the lack of muscle, something that doesn't suddenly creep up.
We have previously established that it's so important to strength train your full body without leaving any body parts out, as this will cause imbalances in the body. These imbalances can lead to poor posture and injuries, caused by stress being put on weaker muscle groups.
As you get older, the back can weaken significantly and cause back ache in the upper and lower back, making your posture appear slumped, and this in turn can make you look heavier and in poorer shape.
Our back goes through a lot on a daily basis and, unfortunately, it's the one area we don't think about until it's too late. Be aware of simple tricks to help prevent back strain, such as when picking up the kids or shopping, by keeping the back slightly bent and bending your knees in a squat.
Most back strains are caused by weak muscles being forced to take the weight combined with bad technique, by leaning over and putting too much pressure on the already weak muscles.
Here are four exercises for the back that you can do at home or at the gym to help strengthen the back and give it some definition.
As the saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen, and it's no different for any other part of the body. Watching your diet and ensuring that you have balanced, healthy meals will play a key role in not just helping to build muscle but also to reduce body fat and give you a lean, strong and healthy back.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week
1/ Lie face down with your abdomen on a BOSU ball, legs straight and arms outstretched overhead. Raise one arm and one leg straight up off the floor.
2/ Lower both the leg and arm and repeat on the other side, keeping your arms and legs straight throughout.
1/ Start by lying face down on the ball, while holding dumb-bells by your sides with your arms straight and your palms facing in.
2/ Lift the dumb-bells up to your chest, bending your elbows while keeping them close to your sides and at the same time squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to the start position and repeat.
Oblique back extension on BOSU
1/ Start by lying down with your abs over the BOSU, hands at the side of your head and legs straight out with toes touching the ground for balance.
2/ Lift your chest up and off the BOSU twisting the body to one side. Lower back down to the start position and then repeat on the other side.
Pullover with kettlebell
1/ Start by lying on the floor holding one kettlebell in both hands, with your arms extended up over your chest.
2/ Lower the kettlebell back behind your head while keeping your arms straight. Raise the kettlebell back up over your chest to the start position.
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