For success in your training, you need to target the big muscles of the body. They are the foundation of a good body structure and extra muscles that will be added on later. You cannot be in great shape if you target just your abs and biceps. The big muscles of the body are the legs and the back which act as the main structure. This post focuses on developing the back muscles.
A good back workout will develop the lower back muscles, the latissimus dorsi and the lower and middle traps. There are other smaller muscles such as the teres major that will also get developed during back exercises as it is impossible to isolate one muscle completely from another. A highly developed lower back looks like a Christmas tree – a triangular shape at the base of the back with powerful thick lats hanging down on either side of it.
It is not possible to talk about strengthening the lower back without mentioning the deadlift. This is a fundamental exercise that allows you to lift heavy and pack on muscle. This mass-builder also recruits plenty of other secondary muscles but it does need a certain amount of technique and practice to get right and as a result, many people steer away from it.
So a simpler exercise that anyone can do is the hyperextension. it’s a very simple exercise to do where you keep your lower body fixed and bend at your hips to lower your torso, keeping your back straight and flat all the time. Then raise your torso again by using your lower back muscles to get back to the starting position. You can keep your arms to the side in the beginning to make it easy, then move them to your chest, behind your neck or even straight ahead to make the exercise increasingly difficult. You can also hold weight plates or dumbells.
In order to keep your lower body fixed, you will need to use a hyperextension bench to do the exercise. Alternatively, you can try to devise a set-up to block your feet, maybe with someone holding or sitting on them, and a bar or bench at the top of your legs to lean against. The specialised hyperextension bench is much easier and comfortable to use.
The straight-leg deadlift
Another good exercise is the straight-leg deadlift. This exercise is also used to develop the hamstring but to target the lower back, you will have to perform it slightly differently. Keep your legs straight and instead of pulling from your legs, pull with your lower back and bend from it as well.
Many people complain of lower back pain. In many cases this is due to weak muscles in this location, especially due to the sedentary lifestyle that they live. Many jobs today are office jobs which involves sitting all day in a chair staring at a computer. The lower back becomes lazy and the muscle atrophies. To stop this process, train your lower back in the gym.