By Lindsey Potter, CPT
If you spend long hours in front of a computer, a television or behind the wheel of an auto you are well acquainted with the rounded-shoulder posture typical of these activities. Pulling exercises can help strengthen the upper back, and when combined with gentle stretches of the pec (chest) muscles, can go a long way toward improving posture.
Horizontal* pulling exercises such as the TRX row - incorporated frequently in ARX workouts - strengthen the upper back musculature, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius. These muscles help your body maintain proper posture and alignment so it can function optimally. If you are hunched with rounded shoulders while exercising, your body is actually compensating for the poor posture and other muscles - ones that should not necessarily be involved - are recruited to compensate.
The TRX row is a simple exercise that targets upper back muscles while also strengthening your biceps and core. That's a lot of bang for your workout buck. Here's how to do the movement correctly:
Start by holding the TRX handles, arms and legs fully extended and walk your feet forward. Pull your body up so your chest meets your hands. Remember to keep your core tight and pinch your shoulder blades together at the top of the exercise. Do not sag at your hips or pelvis. You can increase the difficulty of this basic exercise by moving your feet forward, lowering your body toward horizontal. Still too easy? Elevate your feet on a bench or unstable surface, such as a BOSU or stability ball.
Summer is the perfect time to show off those beautiful back muscles and perfect posture. If you want more information on working this muscle group speak to an ARX trainer.
*Note: we covered vertical pulling exercises - specifically pull-ups and chin-ups-in a previous issue of the ARX newsletter. It is still available in the archives on our website www.arxtraining.com.