There are two primary reasons for getting into a bodybuilding program, trying to increase muscle mass and trying to increase functional strength. The key to both of these is building core strength, which lies in the abdominal muscles, and, just as importantly the muscles of the upper, middle and lower back.
The primary stabilizing muscles of your body are in your back, these are the easiest muscles to injure while lifting weights. Your back consists of the spine, the ribs, the scapula and the ligaments that string them all together, like parts of a mobile or kinetic motion structure.
Back injuries are almost always compression or rotation injuries, this is damage to the soft tissue, due to an over-extending movement of the back muscles involved. You can prevent back injuries by utilizing correct weight lifting techniques and muscle group isolation and you can also prevent physical problems from developing years later.
Traps, Lats, and Deltoids are some back muscle groups to work on, but take your time. Doing it slowly will prevent injuries. Sure, you are going to get a ripped back by overworking, but you should concentrate more on everyday strength over getting to big when working your back.
The trapezius muscles (traps) are the ones that form the bulk of your back. The basic exercise for Traps is a shrug motion, where you take a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand, and shrug your shoulders as high as they will go and hold them for a breath, then let them down slowly.
Another workout that mostly works on your deltoids, but helps the traps a bit, is a straight-arm lift. Hold a dumbbell in your hand with your elbow at your side, and your forearm out level with the map. Extend your arm until it’s at shoulder height, in one fluid motion, and look down your arm at the dumbbell, like you’re sitting on a pistol range. Then bring it down slowly. This is a common exercise in martial arts groups that emphasize punching.
To build up the lower trapezius muscle, you’re going to want a sitting down ‘V-bar pull down’, where you’re pulling down against resistance. This is better than a straight pull up because it isolates the muscle thoroughly.
Building definition, and most importantly, strength, in the lower back requires shoulder arches. Hold a light dumb-bell over the back of your neck and lay down on your front. With your hands clasped, arch your back, lift, and hold for a count of three, then lower slowly. Do these sparingly; it’s very easy to overdo them.
It is very important to remember to stretch before exercising. By stretching you will help your body and your muscles maintain flexibility, along with stretching it is very beneficial to also do some cardio exercises as well.
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