Updated: Aug 11, 2018
Having a strong body, in general, has numerous benefits. A stronger person is more resistant to injury, typically moves and feels better, can do more physical activity, and they have a greater chance of not developing some chronic diseases (like osteoporosis). There is one specific muscle group though, that is perhaps the most beneficial to strengthen. That muscle group is the Back.
In another article we discussed the growing issue of back pain, and how it's prevalence can be reduced with regular general exercise. Specific back exercises may also make great strides in reducing back pain.
As with all resistance training, it is important to work in all three planes of movement; sagittal, frontal and transverse. This is because the body moves in many directions, and our back does a lot of flexing, bending, twisting and turning throughout the day.
Benefits of a Strong Back:
Having a strong back is beneficial in many ways. Aesthetically, a lean, toned back is more visually appealing than a soft or flabby one, but the rewards are not just superficial. As mentioned above, stronger muscles are more resistant to injury and therefore a stronger back will be less likely to experience damage or pain during activity. Strong back muscles will even protect the underlying structures, like the vertebrae and ribs, from degeneration. Better posture is also a result from having a strong back. Our back is always working against gravity, and a weak back will fatigue to this resistance quicker. This is why later in the day one may have a harder time sitting or standing up erect, and one of the reasons a hunched posture can develop in old age. Again, a stronger back will maintain good posture for much longer than a weaker back.
Other benefits to a stronger back may even include:
-Greater range of motion in the chest and shoulder
-Easier, deep breathing patterns
-Reduction to currently existing chronic back pain
-Improved overall ease of movement
-Increased height (due to improved posture)
-Tank tops fitting better... :)
All of these reasons are why we at La Misión Fitness & Yoga include back strengthening exercises in almost every group and personal training session. Of course we want our members to look and stand taller, but we also want our members to age gracefully, feel and move better in everyday life, and spend less time hurting! We as a staff would all agree that a stronger back is key.
-Corey Evans, CSCS, CISSN