This Move Helps Men Over 40 Improve Their Back Strength
From men's health
Writer, fitness model and trainer Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that life can get more complicated as you age. That shouldn't stop you from being at the top of your game, however. He will help you answer the tough training questions that come with age so that you too can live to be over 40.
You can never make enough lines. Back chain work is a must for all of my clients, especially my senior clients, as back strength is vital to your long-term health. Strengthening your lats, rhomboids, and mid-back muscles has endless benefits in improving your posture, maintaining your shoulders, and giving your body the muscles it needs.
The classic row of dumbbells is a staple for building this ever-important back strength. However, as you get older, you may need other options. Step into the incline row and get ready to get the back gains you need while eliminating a huge risk to your lower back.
Photo credit: Men's Health
During standard rows of dumbbells, your entire core must remain engaged to protect your spine. You need to think carefully about your lower back position: don't let your back be rounded or arched, as this can be a compromising position.
The incline series removes much of the fear of movement for older people with back problems. When you lie on the bench, your back is perfectly aligned so that there is no excessive strain on your lumbar spine. You don't have to worry about your back curve during your repetitions either. Plus, you get the benefit of being able to edit your lower lats a little more because of the angle of the bench.
To set up, adjust your exercise bench to an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Grab a dumbbell that you enjoy rowing (try a light 20 pound weight first if you don't normally row). Sit with your stomach on the bench and your head over the end of the bench. Hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Before you start rowing, hold yourself in place by squeezing your glutes and lifting your shoulders to compress your shoulder blades. When squeezing your shoulder blades together, it is important that your chest is glued to the bench. Your goal is not to lie on the bench. Form a straight shape from shoulders to feet while maintaining full body tension. This is your starting position.
Row up, pulling the weights up towards your chest on each rep, and work to keep your shoulders from shrugging. Pull as high as it feels natural to align your upper arms with your torso. When you've pulled as high as you can, squeeze your shoulder blades, then lower them in a controlled manner. I recommend working to a point where you pull up, hold up and press for about 2 seconds, then release to the starting position.
The incline row is one of those exercises that is hard to overdo because back work is so necessary because of the positions we put ourselves in based on our lifestyle. Much of the sitting that we do while zooming, driving, or lounging on the couch, as well as standing or working in awkward positions like a dentist or surgeon, puts our body in a compromising posture that weakens our muscles. Horizontal pulling exercises are critical to counteracting this.
Try the incline bench row once or twice a week on upper body training days. Try 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions each time.
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