One thing that I hear fitness experts often talk about is the importance of having a specific goal in mind. This isn’t something as cosmetic as wanting six-pack abs, but something more useful, like strengthening the weaker muscles of your body, or the ability to run longer. Your goals should be functional, related to your everyday life. And they should prioritise feeling good over looking good. The latter is just the cherry on top.
This is why it is often a good idea to pick a sport and fashion your fitness routine around it. Sometimes, picking a sport you love to play forces you to address specific aspects of your overall fitness. For example, if you like to bowl, well, you need to master explosive power. I realised that I was doing this, but without actually thinking about it. I like to trek, and apart from the joy I get from being in the mountains, I derive a lot of pleasure from the physical effort of negotiating difficult terrain as well. Well, that’s my sport, and I realised that most of my fitness regimen was geared around maximising my performance in a mountainous terrain.
Now, I’ve written before on how important it is to have a strong core and strong legs if you like to trek. To that, I will add another important area of your body that you need to strengthen: your back. Without going into the specifics of muscle groups and the mechanics of the body, I will say this. If you’re trekking for up to 6-7 hours every day for a week or more over difficult terrain, while carrying a hefty backpack, your back better be made of steel! Not only does this ensure that your torso is strong all over without any weak spot, it also does wonders for your mobility. And remember this, your back, core and glutes work in tandem, no matter what task you're performing. You can't afford to have a weak spot!
With that in mind, here are a couple of workouts that you should check out, and include in your weekly routine. One of them is a bodyweight/calisthenics workout, and for the other one all you need is a pair of dumbbells.
This workout goes through five excellent low-impact exercises for your lower back. These cover a wide range of movements that work on your spinal flexion and extension, strengthen your abs, activate your back and glutes and much more.
This dumbbell workout is a 10-minute follow-along set which uses the resistance provided by the free weights to hit your core, back and glutes. Not only do these moves ensure that you’re building strength, they also help you gain better mobility. So there you have it, two excellent workouts for a stronger back. Have fun!