We live in a “look down” society. We look down at our smart phones, tablets and computers. We also sit too much and move too little, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to our upper back strength and posture.
For every inch our ears are forward from our shoulders (forward head posture) you increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. (Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3) Upper back strength plays a huge role in the weight room and also maintaining good posture plus keeping your shoulders healthy. So which exercise are best in building upper back strength?
Exercises like bent over rows, Lat pulldowns and pull ups all work great because the work on the important muscles between your shoulder blades and also the big muscles of your back. They are a must in all resistance training programs. In addition to these, consider the following two exercises. Not only do they build upper back strength but the KB rack walk will challenge your core and lungs.
1. KETTLEBELL RACK WALK
Kettlebells are not just for swinging. Holding the bells in the rack position correctly takes a fair amount of upper back and core strength. Walking with the kettlebells racked only adds to the excitement.
Watch this exercise performed here.
Pair this with any movement where the upper back takes a prominent role.
1a. Bench press or back squat
1b. Kettlebell rack walk 40 yards.
Or try this little finisher
1. Kettlebell rack walk 40 yards.
Do one walk every minute on the minute. If one walk takes you 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds before you start your next walk. You can unrack the kettlebells between sets or keep them racked for an extra challenge. Do five-ten walks or until your back is screaming at you.
2. High rep band pull-aparts
Be warned, these don’t tickle, but pull-aparts directly work the muscles in your upper back as well as your rotator cuff and posterior deltoid. When done for high reps, this helps improve your muscular endurance (important for your posture) and provides nice little muscle pump for your shoulders.
Watch proper band pull-apart technique here.
On your off days, try to get in 100 reps in a day, doing at least 20 reps at the one time. As you get more proficient, do less sets and more reps. On your training days, this makes for a nice filler exercise while resting between sets on your big strength movement for the day.
1a. Bench press, squat, deadlift or pull up
1b. Band pull a parts 20- 30 reps.
Now a sexy back is within your reach.