Building a back that can block out the sun is complicated. I wish it was as easy to do some lat pulldowns and everything will be great. It is so much more than that because the back is so much more! A strong and balanced back helps maintain posture and workout form, helps with everyday movement throughout the body, lifts heavy objects, and can help with lower back pain. Before we build the back, we must understand the back.
Latissimus Dorsi: Are known as “lats” or the “wings” of the back. They raise your body up, like in a pullup, and helps extend, adduct, and medially rotate the humerus (long bone in the upper arm that inserts into the shoulder).
Trapezius: The trap are the most superior (upper most) muscle of the back. It runs from the base of the skull, over the scapula and down the cervical spine. It elevates, retract, and rotate the scapula. Think of a shrug.
Rhomboids (major and minor): These muscles are located in between the shoulder blades. These are some of the major muscles that are responsible for posture and should stability. They also hold the scapula against the thorasic wall and rib cage. Major shoulder and posture issues can occur because these muscles are frequently overlooked and undertrained.
Erector Spinae: These muscles essentially run down the entire spinal column. The erectors allows the spine to flex and extend.
Teres major, teres minor, and infraspinatus: These muscles play a major role with the shoulder because they are part of the rotator cuff. These muscle help pull the arm downward and rotate the arm.
Shoulders down and back! Remember this phrase. It is key when working out the back on almost every exercise. By doing this (down and back), it prevents the traps taking over on any lift that involves the back. Not to worry, EVERYBODY does it. The shoulders raise and the traps take over as a guarding technique to protect the shoulder. It is really apparent in people with a shoulder injury. By remembering to keep the shoulders down and back (think of crushing a coke can with your shoulder blades), the proper muscle and movement can be maximized ensuring a great workout!
Now that we have a better understanding of the back, check out the video below for a great back workout!