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Health and Fitness

Back Strengthening Exercises

Backs need careful looking after. The spine, susceptible to the strain of simply standing upright, is soon weakened by poor posture and a sedentary, inactive lifestyle.

Exercises can help to keep your back strong and healthy by working the intricate network of muscles that support the spine, but these must be bolstered by good posture all the time. ‘Corrective’ exercises for a bad or damaged back should only be attempted under the strict supervision of an orthopedic specialist and for this reason are not give here. You can even Find great orthopedic surgeons in Austin who can help you get some relief from existing back troubles.  

 

Of these exercises, those that involve lifting the head and shoulders will mainly work the muscles of the upper back while those that involve lifting the legs will mainly work the lower back muscles and the gluteus muscles of the buttocks and backs of the thighs. Always stretch out the muscles of the back after working them strongly, with the spine stretching exercise mentioned later.

Think of the buttocks as part of the back. Firm strong buttocks, integral to a healthy back and to good posture, are also extremely important in determining the general line of the body. Slack buttock muscles creeping round the side can add considerably to a bulge below the hips and at the sides of the thighs.

While any exercise routine will help to firm up the buttocks (they are worked simply by lifting the legs), a specific buttock strengthener is of especial benefit. If you buttocks are slack – and they certainly are if you cannot see a definite ‘dent’ at the side just beneath the hip – do this exercise several times a day. The results will be rewarding. The buttock muscles, being broad and relatively shallow, are particularly responsive to exercise. Differences can often be seen in weeks, rather than months.

The spine is composed of vertebrae placed like building bricks one on top of the other. Safeguard you spine by holding it so that each vertebra lengthens away from the next.

Work shoulders and upper back by lying face down on the floor on a mat with your hands interlocked behind you on your bottom.

Lift you head and shoulders off the mat as you pull your hands downwards. Look up and hold for a few seconds. Lower the head again and repeat several times. This is a marvelous corrective exercise for an over-rounded upper back and shoulders.

To strengthen the lower back and buttocks, work through each of these exercises, progressing to the next only once you have mastered the one before it. Still lying face down on your mat start by bending you elbow and place your forehead on your hands. Have your legs hip-width apart. Bend your legs and slowly lift them alternately, up to six times each if you can. Progress to straightening your legs and lifting them alternately.

Now place a cushion under your pelvis to take any strain off your lower back. Lift one leg, then the other, then lift both legs together and, finally, take legs apart and lift them up and down several times. Now move on to lifting your legs and drawing wide circles in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.

Discard the cushion, stretch arms out in front of your head and perform a ‘diagonal arabesque’, lifting alternate arms and legs off the floor, looking up as you do so. Try to get the upper are and thigh as far off the floor as possible.

Lying in starting position, tighten buttocks and lift arms and legs off the floor simultaneously. Look up, hold for a few moments and lower. Always finish back work by curling up into a ball with your head down and your arms loosely draped alongside your body.

Exercise buttocks by sitting on a chair or stool, rounding the back and pressing thighs downwards so buttocks pull firmly together. Release and contract server times, slowly and quickly.

Repeat these exercises six to seven times each and soon you will be enjoying the benefits of a good strong back.

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