Image credit: Shutterstock.com
To most people, nothing looks better than rock-hard, clearly defined abs and biceps that bulge through fitting t-shirts. Indeed, a lot of focus has been placed on conditioning the more visible muscle areas, such as the arms and stomach. Yet, one should not underestimate the importance of a toned back, both in terms of aesthetics and fitness. Work your back muscles with these exercises, which you can attempt either at the gym or at home.
This simple stretch is adapted from a basic yoga position, and is designed both to stretch and strengthen your back muscles. Lie flat on your belly in a relaxed position, with your legs stretched out. Place both your hands flat on the floor near your hips, at around shoulder width, with your fingers pointing to your front. Push off the ground and arch your back till your arms are straightened and your upper body is upright.
Cobra stretch for upper back
This improvised version of the cobra stretch helps to train your upper back as well. While still in the original cobra position, position your hands further ahead from your hip area. Your upper body should now not be as elevated as it was earlier. Locate the upper one-third of your back and push your chest out using the muscles from that area as you pull your head and upper body up and backwards.
A thorough workout that strengthens your back while training your core muscles, Supermans are favoured by beginners and seasoned fitness enthusiasts alike. Lie flat on your belly in a relaxed position, with your legs stretched out. Extend your arms straight in front of you, then lift all four of your limbs upwards simultaneously, using your back muscles to hold them up, forming a ‘V’ shape. While doing this exercise, it is important to ensure that your neck is relaxed, and that your head is being held up by the back rather than the neck itself, so as to avoid straining it.
Renegade dumbbell rows
This exercise has the added advantage of training not just your back, but also your abs. Prepare two dumbbells of an appropriate weight based on your strength and ability. Assume a push-up position with your legs extended out and you hands holding on to the dumbbells on the ground. Your arms should be straight and positioned shoulder-width apart. Making sure to keep your plane in this position, hold on to the weight and bend one arm while pulling it upwards, above your body. Hold for two seconds before slowly resuming the preparatory position. Repeat and alternate between your left and right arms.
Supinated grip chin-ups
Target both your back and biceps with this chin-up exercise. Grip a chin-up bar with both your palms facing your body, and your arms spread shoulder-width apart. Make sure not to have too wide a distance between both arms, as this will place unnecessary strain on your shoulders. Pull your body up till your chin peeks over the bar.
To receive the latest updates on the happenings in the Singapore sports scene, or to find out more about some of the latest programmes on offer at ActiveSG, like our Facebook page here.