All of my program designs for my clients are based around movement patterns. What does this mean?
Rather than developing a program like a body builder would (chest day, arm day, leg day etc), I program for my clients to spend part of one day a week doing each movement pattern (squatting and pressing, pulling and hinging, rotating and stabilizing).
More often than not I put 2 times the number of pulling and hinging exercises than I do squatting and pressing. That’s because 99% of my clients sit in a desk all day and have become very tight through the chest, biceps, quads and hip flexors. What they need more than anything is to stretch through those muscles of the front body, and strengthen through the back body (glutes, lats, back, hamstrings). When we focus more on chest exercises and continuously do chest press, push ups etc. then it’s almost as if we are strengthening our body to be in a tight rounded position. When we strengthen our upper back, we instead begin to pull ourselves open into a taller, broader chest position.
Many injuries, accidents, and aches and pains occur from this muscle imbalance. Often when I am meeting with Active Rehab or ICBC referred clients, these issues have become aggravated from a car accident.
I suggest to you, that if you are more interested in building a strong, functional, balanced body that you should take a look at your average week, and ensure your program incorporates more back exercises than front.
Some of my favourite back exercises (which EVERYBODY should be doing on a weekly basis) include:
– After pulling your cable from the machine/your resistance band, sit tall with a slight bend in the knees. Your shoulders should be over your hips.
– Hold your shoulders back in good posture (with straight arms).
– Using your LATS and rhomboids row the cable closer to you. Keep your elbows tight to your side, and stop the motion once the elbows peak behind your back.
– Muscles working: Lats primarily, also rhomboids. Don’t let your traps engage!
– 3 sets of 12
– Stand with back, butt, shoulders, elbows and wrists against the wall at a 90 degree angle (or less than 90 degrees if you can’t maintain contact with the wall.
– Exhale, and maintain all points of contact on the wall, raise the arms up over the head.
– Rhomboids and lower traps on the way down, abdominals.
2 sets of 15
|Shoulder Blade Retractions (Type 1)
– Either standing or laying own, grab a resistance band shoulder width apart. Keep your elbows straight and pull the band down to your chest by engaging the muscles through the back and shoulder blades.
– This exercise only works if you are aware that your upper traps aren’t firing.
– Use a very light resistance for this one.
– Rhomboids and Traps
2 sets of 15, holding for 3-10 seconds at the mid point of the exercise
Shoulder Blade Retractions (Type 2)
– In a staggered leg position, grab on to the band handles, with straight arms (but shoulds in a good posture). Pull your shoulder blades together, keeping your elbows up at shoulder height.
Muscles working: primarily rhomboids
2 sets of 15, holding for 3-10 seconds at the mid point of the exercise.
Great video resource: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZkGazuoVGM
Things to look out for:
I hope that this blog briefly shed some light on some exercises you can do for the back side of your body to improve your posture, decrease muscles imbalances, and prevent injury.