Check out any gym timetable these days and the majority of the classes focus on ‘the bits we can see in the mirror.’ Abs, pecs, biceps, quads – it could be said our training has got a bit vain. Add to this that the first sign of back pain leaves us fearful of training our backs, when this is probably what we needed to do in the first place. Desk jobs, technological and entertainment devices, pushing buggies, sitting on sofas, even running and walking tend to leave us drooping forwards and neglecting our rear, or as I like to call it, ‘everything behind the ears.’
Your body needs balance. If a tree were to grow all it’s leaves, branches and fruit on one side it would soon start to list. If it got old, dry and weathered and a storm came along, there’s a good chance it would topple over. The same is true for your back and your body. Your spine is a highly sophisticated suspension system that deserves respect and careful maintenance. So, for example, if you run or spin a lot, you are going to gain very little from an abs class.
So how do you go about getting the fruit on the other side? I’m talking mainly about glutes (your butt), shoulder blades all those amazing muscles that support your spine. If you’re not into gyms, then activities like swimming, especially front crawl, or rock climbing are a great, balancing, type of exercise. In the gym and in a class environment, Pilates, Yoga and Body Balance will offer back work options.
If the weights room is your thing (and if it isn’t – it’s time to make it your thing) incorporating deadlifts, pull ups (and pull downs), rows and glute kick backs into your routine will help bolster your booty efforts. For a fantastic and challenging compound muscle groups workout try alternating squats with deadlifts.
Within your PIlates workouts there are some great exercises specifically designed to target your back, or ‘posterior chain’ including shoulder bridge, leg pull supine, side kick kneeling and of course all of those fantastic exercises performed lying face down from one leg kick to swan dive.
Whatever it is you choose to do, just don’t shy away from the stuff you can’t see. A strong, efficient butt is key to a great core and a healthy back. Strong, toned triceps and shoulders look great in a dress. And a pert booty is a beautiful booty.