Friday, January 13, 2012

Upper & Lower Back Workouts to Lose 5 Pounds

According to data from the American Academy of Family Physicians, approximately three-quarters of the U.S. population will suffer from back pain. Daily, about 5 percent of us have pain. Exercises that help strengthen the core and improve posture are recommended to prevent recurrences of back pain. Using a 5 lb. weighted ball as a resistance training tool is a fun and simple method to help build back strength.
Upper Back: Row
Using a bench, keep one leg on the ground, and the other with your knee resting on the bench. Bend forward from the waist, use the hand on the opposite side of your knee to brace your upper body parallel to the bench. Grasp a soft weighted ball in your other hand. Pull your arm and hand holding the ball back and upward, elevating your shoulder blade and bending your elbow . Perform this eight to 10 times, then repeat with the other side of your body.
Upper Back and Core: Unstable Pushup
Use the soft ball to work the stabilizing muscles in the back, core and shoulders by placing one hand on the ball, with the other hand placed on the ground. Perform a pushup, then roll the ball toward the other hand. Place the opposite hand on the ball and repeat for a second pushup. Continue for eight to 10 pushups. Make it easier by keeping your knees on the ground until the muscles become strong enough to perform a full pushup.
Lower Back: Hyperextension
Using a Roman chair apparatus, brace your legs against the supports and lean forward. Hold a 5 lb. ball with both hands. Lift up, keeping the ball close to your chest, and stop when your spine is straight and back level; do not bend your back more to avoid stressing the lumbar vertebrae. Repeat eight to 10 times. Make it harder by extending your arms out away from the chest while holding the ball.
Lower Back: Bridge
Lying face up on a mat or the ground, bend your legs and place the soft weighted ball between your knees. Keeping both feet flat on the ground, raise your hips and keep your back in a straight line. Hold for a count of 10 to 20, then slowly lower your hips without rocking back and forth. Keep your head resting on the ground. Repeat eight to 10 times. Repeat all exercises three or four days per week.

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