Women's Training - 5 Exercises For A Strong, Lean Back

Modern living puts our backs under a lot of strain. We spend a lot of time hunched over our computers and smartphones. Then there’s driving, carrying children and groceries, and many other activities that place significant demands on our backs. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a strong, toned back.

About Your Back

There are a lot of large muscle groups in your back. The trapezius is located in the upper back, forming a diamond shape between your shoulders and mid spine. Your rhomboids are also positioned in the mid upper back, tying into the deltoids.

The largest back muscles are the latissimus dorsi, which cover the outer sides and contribute to the athletic ‘V’ taper. The muscles of your lower back are known as the erector spinae, which runs down either side of your spine. Maintaining strong and toned erector spinae will ward off the lower back problems that are common to many women. It will also help to improve your balance and coordination.

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Training upper body is just as important as training lower body for us ladies… It won’t make you bulky, having strong and lean working upper body muscles can benefit us greatly! We are wanting to train certain body parts to create the shape we want to. Lot’s of women who compete in Body Building, to create the perfect, curvy bikini body train and manipulate certain muscles to create what we call the X shape look. Wider shoulders/back and lower body to make the waist looks smaller. Thats why its just as important to train every muscle in the body to create the complete package!

Okay.. so lets break down each exercise, making sure we hit all areas of the back to create the full package we want! All exercises are performed between a 10-12 rep range for 3-4 sets at a medium level weight.

  1. Seated row

    This is a great exercise to perform and most gyms will have a row machine for you to perform this exercise. The image below highlights the key areas where the muscles are worked during the exercise

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So, how do you perform this exercise?

  1. Using the narrow grip handle, set your weight to your desired position.

  2. Taking a seat on the bench, place your feet flat onto the foot plates, take a tight grip onto the handles and slide back so that there is a slight bend in the knees.

  3. Keeping your spine long, slowly pull the handle in, keeping the elbows close, and squeeze the shoulders blades, down and back to engage the working muscles.

  4. Slowly release the handle to the starting position and repeat the exercise with desired repetitions.

Below is an example of how to set up and perform the exercise with the correct technique.

2. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

As mentioned before , training certain muscle groups in a particular way to get the look we want can be easily done, along as we remember to train other muscle groups as well. Below is an image showing the working muscles during a Lat pulldown.


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So, how do you perform this exercise?

  1. Start by adjusting the weight to your desired position.

  2. Before seating, make sure you grip the handles in a wide position, and then slowly lower yourself down into a seated position.

  3. Starting with the arms extended, slowly lower the bar down, just below the chin, hold for a few seconds and then slowly release back to the starting position.

  4. Repeat the exercise to the desired repetitions and then slowly stand up to release the handle.

Below is an example of how to set up and perform the exercise with the correct technique.

3. Face pull

The Face Pull is a great exercises to work those posterior deltoids to create a rounded shoulder. Not only this but working the muscles in the upper back ( deltoids and rhomboids ) can also help to strengthen the shoulders helping with mobility and movement with everyday activities.

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So, how do you perform this exercise?

  1. Adjust the cable pulley, so that it is inline with your face/shoulders.

  2. Adjust your weight to where you desire.

  3. Grab onto the rope with a reverse grip and take a few steps back with a staggered position to make sure that your lower body is stable.

  4. Starting with the arms extended, slowly pull the rope towards the face lifting the elbows nice and high.

  5. Slowly release back to the starting position and repeat to desired repetitions

Below is an example of how to set up and perform the exercise with the correct technique.

4. Single Arm Dumbbell Row

This is a great unilateral exercise—each side works independently—that allows you to move a lot of weight. You'll get greater range of motion when training unilaterally, and you won't be restrained if your weaker side fails first. You may also be better able to support your lower back.

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So, how do you perform this exercise?

  1. First of all, pick your desired weight and adjust a bench so that it is in a flat position.

  2. Placing the same knee and hand onto the bench , keeping the core engaged and the spine long, slowly reach down and bring the Dumbbell into the starting position.

  3. Retracting the shoulder back , pull the Dumbbell close into the body so that in comes close to the rib cage, and then slowly release back to the starting position, making sure you keep the spine long and the core engaged.

  4. Repeat to desired repetitions.

Below is an example of how to set up and perform the exercise with the correct technique.

5. Deadlift

Last but not least the Deadlift! When it's done right, the deadlift is an excellent back exercise. As you pick up and put down the weight, your upper-back muscles—including your rhomboids, traps, erector spinae, rear deltoids, and lats—must fire on all cylinders to keep your torso straight and your lower back from rounding. It's when you fail to engage these muscles that injuries can occur.

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So, how do you perform the exercise?

  1. Start by choosing a Barbell to your desired weight, here at the studio they vary from 5kg, 15kg and 20kg.

  2. Load the bar either side with weighted plates and make sure you use the clips to secure the plates.

  3. Walk over to the bar and bring your feet around hip width apart.

  4. Keeping the bar close, bend through the knees and place the hands either side of the knees, so that you can push against the arms with the legs.

  5. Keeping a tight grip on the bar, squeeze the shoulders down and back, keeping the chest nice and high.

  6. Brace the core, drive through the heels and pull the bar up into the hips and engage the glutes nice and tight.

  7. Keeping the core and spine long, slowly bring the bar back down to the floor.

  8. Repeat the exercise with desired repetitions, making sure you are continuously keeping the spine long, and core engaged.

Below is an example of how to set up and perform the exercise with the correct technique.


These are just 5 simple exercises to get your started. If you would like to extend your knowledge regarding weight training, or need any help with achieving your goals then please do not hesitate to contact me here are the studio!

Rachel x