It’s gym workouts day and while you may focus a lot on your upper and lower body, don’t ignore your back. As silly as it sounds, many of us don’t actually focus on strengthening the back, which leads to poor posture and can have a cascading negative effect on your lower body as well as shoulders and neck.

Just imagine a day of debilitating back discomfort and apply it for long periods of time. That’s how excruciating a long-term back injury can be. This also hampers everyday movements such as bending forward or lifting medium-heavy objects. Avoiding such a situation is all about focussing on gym workouts that strengthen lower and upper back.

The simplest of weight workouts, this requires you to stand with feet hip-width apart and bend your hips back. Grip the weights just outside of your knees. While keeping a flat black, extend your hips, stand up, and pull the bar up along your body until lock-out, i.e you cannot lift it any higher without a jerk. While pulling, keep your eyes pinned to the ground just ahead of you, and carefully lower the weights back down.

Snatch-Grip Rack Deadlift

Stronger bones and improved muscle power
Stronger muscles and improved back endurance

Set up as you would to deadlift, but this time in a power rack. Rest the bar on the safety rods at about two inches below your knees. Grasp the bar extra wide, hands much wider than your shoulders and now extend your hips while standing up & pulling the bar to in front of your thighs.

Sometimes known as a pull-up, for a chin-up you have to find a chin-up bar and grip it with your hands shoulder-width apart using a supinated grip (in which the palms face you). Slowly pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, or as much as possible. Repeat 5-6 times before resting and doing another set.

Weighted pull-up

Cable pull-down for back, shoulders and triceps
Cable pull-down for back, shoulders and triceps

The only difference here is the extra weighted belt, or weights tied to your waist. You could also use body weight alone if weights are too difficult. Hang from a pull-up bar with your hands just outside shoulder width. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. You may use either grip to complete this workout.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Another of those basic weights gym workouts, this one needs two dumbbells, which will be held by your sides, with feet set hip-width apart. Bend hips back, move your torso forward, and lower yourself till you feel your hamstrings stretched. Now bend at the knees, and squeeze your glutes after coming back up.

Alternating Dumbbell Row
Similar to the Romanian deadlift, the variation here is holding a row one dumbbell on your sides. Lower yourself like in a Romanian deadlift but only let one hand hang down at a time, keeping the other pinned up with your elbows bending behind you. Switch sides after each rep.

Swiss Ball Leg Curl
This one requires no weights so you could use it to recover. Lie on your back and rest your heels on a Swiss ball. Activate your abs by pulling your belly button in and while keeping your core in a plank position, drive your heels into the ball such that the action raises your hips off the floor. Bend your knees and pull or roll the ball toward you. Make sure your hips elevated during this action and for the full set.

While you may not find time to hit all these seven workouts on your gym-day, the good part is you can mix and match them up with other exercises such as weight squats or glute bridges to fortify your back more. They say don’t skip leg day, but for us the back-day is just as important. Take heed and you will see the dividends.

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