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07-19-2009, 10:41 AM
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to strengthen your back there are lots of exercises to do. not sure if you're only interested in lower back but:

upper back:

pullups cannot be beaten. dumbell rows, seated rows (without changing the angle of your back during a rep) if you want to go to a gym.

lower back:

deadlifts and more deadlifts, and reverse crunches (gyms have the frames for this where your legs are held in place and you bring your whole upper body up and down). i cant stress enough how important it is to use proper form and never do more weight than you can safely handle with back workouts.

stretch lots. there is no such thing as too much stretching. do a wamrup set for any muscle group before you start your regular sets, ~50% of your regular weight is good enough, you just want to get lots of blood flowing to the right place.

also remember that the lower back muscles are just part of the girdle of muscle around your midsection. strengthening abdominals and obliques is very important and not just to avoid injuring your back. ideal range for # of reps per set for the back is higher than for smaller muscle groups like bi/triceps, pecs, shoulders, etc. generally if you can do 10-12 reps to muscle failure on back exercises you are using the ideal amount of weight for safe strength building. the higher the # of reps to muscle failure, the more slow twitch muscle fiber you'll build instead of fast twitch. that means strength endurance over raw strength. IMO the best way to train yourself up from a low level of fitness is to build raw strength until you are as strong as you want to be, and then continue raising the # of reps (as you are able) at the same weight. muscle endurance is great and of course very important for sports but a weak muscle that can work for a long time is still a weak muscle.

playing around with medecine balls is also great for functional strength as there's such a wide range of motions you can do.

bunjay is offline   Reply With Quote