Back pain is the most common issue that leads to many other health problems. So taking apt care of the back and strengthening it is important. Here are some effective strengthening exercise for upper back.
As with many of the back strengthening exercises described in this article, the use of free weights, both dumbells and barbells, will bring into play many other muscle groups and stabilizer muscles. This is why using free weights can be much more effective than machines in doing your workouts. With the possible exception of the Bow flex most machines provide one-direction forces or resistance that limits the need for stabilizer muscles and thus limits the benefit of some exercises for overall strengthening.
The following upper back strengthening exercises are designed to improve the strength of the muscles of the mid and upper back. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them.
Upper Back Strengthening – Basic Exercises
To begin with, the following basic upper back strengthening exercises should be performed approximately 3 times daily. As your upper back strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, frequency or duration of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.]
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Begin this exercise standing or sitting with your back straight. Your chin should be tucked in slightly and your shoulders should be back slightly. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard and far as possible provided it is pain free (figure 1). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
You can be seated or standing for this stretch, now raise your arms vertically over your head. Do so inter locking your fingers, with your palms facing the ceiling. Now try to pull the hands away, feel the tension in the upper back and slowly release after a few seconds. Get back to position and repeat 10 times.
Opposite Arm & Leg Raises
Begin this exercise lying on your stomach with your arms above your head as demonstrated. Keeping your knee and elbow straight, slowly lift your opposite arm and leg tightening your back and bottom muscles (figure 2). Hold for 2 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat this process with the other arm and leg. Perform 10 times on each side provided the exercise is pain free.
Keep both hands on the shoulder, like you would hold the sleeve, with palms facing down. Now move the elbows towards each other, try to get them as close, while still keeping your shoulders in same position. Once you feel the stretch in the back, release slowly. Repeat 2 sets of 12-15 reps.
Stand or sight straight, tuck the chin inside slightly, position the shoulders a little on the back side. Now stretch in the backward direction, so as to squeeze the shoulder blades to touch each other. Try to squeeze them to the maximum. Hold for a few seconds and then release slowly. 10-12 reps are advised.
Lie back down on the work bench, supporting the back and neck. The head should lean over from one end. Stretch your arms vertically and lift the dumbbells over your face. Now lower them till, above your head and hold for a moment. Then get back to position.
Reverse Fly Dumbbell
Lie chest down on the inclined bench, hold the dumbbells away from the chest, slightly bent in the elbows. Pull the arms backwards, while trying to squeeze the shoulder blades in wards, towards the spine. The dumbbells should be stretched out, in line with the shoulder. Hold for a moment and slowly release, back to position.