Prioritizing your back in the gym is a really good idea.
There are both longevity of health reasons, and superficial “looking good” reasons to do so.
Let’s start with the un-sexy, keep-you-healthy reasons.
As we age, certain muscles tend to tighten while others tend to loosen. In the upper body we see that the upper back muscles tend to loosen and the chest muscles tend to tighten. You know that painful looking posture that is so characteristic to senior citizens? The kind of posture that makes their torso look like a questions mark? Yeah, that’s what happens over time.
If that isn’t problematic enough, we spend a lot of time in this hunched over position. Driving, watching TV, talking on the phone, just having crappy posture in general…and these behaviors encourage that hunched over posture.
So, not only are we fighting time and physiology, but we’re actively encouraging that poor and problematic posture to settle in early.
Beyond that, a strong back, particularly upper back, keeps the shoulders healthy. Shoulders are one of the most commonly injured joints, and a large percentage of people deal with shoulder pain at some point in their lives. Making your upper back strong is a great way to help deal with those aches and pains, and even stave off injury.
Now let’s move on to the more sexy, fun reasons that you should prioritize training your back.
A strong upper back just looks good.
Dudes that fill out their t-shirts with a thick upper back and full traps, well they just look strong. And you know they aren’t afraid of hard work because a big and strong upper back isn’t something that comes easily.
And a strong back on a woman adds an extra element of “confident sexy” to tank tops, and swimsuits.
I’ve never had a client be unhappy with a stronger, more defined back.
Have I convinced you yet that you should prioritize training your back? Good.
Let’s get to the exercise shall we?
Low Cable Single Arm Bent Over Row
I’m a big fan of just about any version of single arm rowing, but I’ve really been digging these lately.
I like the unique tension that the cable provides, and I like that you have to brace the crap out of your body…(not literally, cuz ew).
- Keep your torso at about 45 degrees to the ground
- Brace your abs very tight, and place your non working hand on the forward knee.
- Pull your hand to the middle of your rib cage ans squeeze your shoulder blade tight at the end of the movement
- Avoid rotating your torso throughout the movement.
I typically like to program these for around 8-12 reps per side.
Give them a shot and let me know what you think!