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5 Best Home Exercises For Back Definition

5 Best Home Exercises For Back Definition

The back is one of the biggest and most important core muscle groups in our bodies, therefore it is crucial that we always maintain a healthy posture to avoid injury and loss of function. Back related workplace injuries are becoming more and more common among businesses, and although sitting at a desk all day may seem relatively easy on the body, maintaining a hunched-over sitting position for extended periods of time will lead to back injuries and unwanted pressure on your spine.

We all live busy lives, but whether you’re a regular traveller, can’t find the time to make it to the gym, or simply prefer working out from the comfort of your home, the following exercises will both strengthen and tone the back, with no equipment required and won’t take any longer than 10 minutes to complete.

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Hip Bridges

Hip Bridges
    Credit: ytimg.com

    Hip Bridges are an extremely simple, yet effective way of stretching out your hip flexors after a long day of sitting at your desk. It also strengthens and tones the muscles that stabilize the spine such as; the glutes, hamstrings and the erector spinae.

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    Single Leg Deadlift

    Single Leg Deadlift
      Credit: yimg.com

      The single leg deadlift is apart of any good back training program as it works the entire posterior chain in the process. By balancing on one leg, it requires both sides of your body to work equally as hard without over-compensating. This leads to good synergy between the muscles of the back and also improves the posture of the spine.

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      Planks

      Planks
        Credit: phillymag.com

        While a plank may look too easy for some to actually be beneficial to back strength, don’t let the simplicity of the exercise fool you. Holding the plank position actually takes a lot of strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core which will reduce long term back pain and improve function.

        Donkey Kicks

        Donkey Kicks
          Credit: fitocracy.com

          While this exercise is known by many different names, the overall benefit of the exercise remains the same. Regardless of what you call this exercise it works to tone, tighten and strengthen your glutes and stabilize the lower back.

          Superman

          Supermans
            Credit: workouttrends.com

            As the name suggests this exercise requires you to replicate a flying superman pose, sounds fun right? More importantly though it is a great back exercise to keep your back strong and release any muscle tension.

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            Glenn Francis

            Exercise Scientist

            Back Exercises Home 5 Best Home Exercises For Back Definition

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            Last Updated on November 27, 2020

            12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

            12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

            When thinking about stretching and learning how to become flexible, consider you are doing more than just elongating and strengthening your muscles. You are, in fact, improving circulation of the blood (lymphatic system), and optimizing the depth of your breath, which further enhances circulation[1].

            Stretching and yoga aren’t just trends; they are practices that have been utilized by humans arguably for hundreds of thousands of years or more. In many cases, modern humans have simply forgotten much of their ancestry, and stretching/yoga is certainly an integral part.

            The following stretching routines, if practiced consistently (every day, or a few times a week), will improve your physical and mental well-being, so let’s get into them!

            Here’s a breakdown of all the exercises I’ve covered in the video:

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            1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

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              • Stand straight and tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees just slightly bent, and arms by your sides.
              • Exhale as you bend forward (think of a door hinge movement at the hips), lowering your head toward the floor (imagine the top of your head being parallel with the floor), while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed (do not tense up).
              • Wrap your arms around the backs of your legs, or simply grab and hold the back of your legs; holding anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.
              • Bend your knees and slowly “roll up” back to the standing position when you’re done.

              2. Downward Dog

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                • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
                • While exhaling, hinge at the hips and lower your head toward the floor.
                • Place your hands/palms on the ground.
                • Step back with your feet while keeping a neutral back/spine and with your head/neck in-line with your shoulders and arms.

                3. Deep Lunge and Twist

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                  • Start standing with your feet together hip width apart.
                  • Take a large step forward with your right foot.
                  • Bend your right knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your left leg as straight as you can behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your left thigh.
                  • Place your right hand on the floor or in a pray position, and twist your upper body to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling (for a deeper stretch).
                  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes while taking slow and steady breaths.
                  • Repeat on the other side.

                  4. Piriformis Stretch

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                  See the source image

                     

                    • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you to start.
                    • Cross your left leg over your right, and place your left foot flat on the floor.
                    • Place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
                    • Place your right hand on your left quad or your right elbow on your left knee (as shown), and press your left leg to the right as you twist your torso to the left.
                    • If the spinal rotation causes back discomfort, remove the twist and simply use your right hand to pull your left quad in and to the right.

                    5. Figure Four Stretch

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                      • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
                      • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
                      • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
                      • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
                      • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                      • Switch sides and repeat.

                      6. 90/90 Stretch

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                        • Sit with your right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, calf perpendicular to your body and the sole of your foot facing to the left. Keep your left foot flexed.
                        • Let your leg rest flat on the floor.
                        • Place your left knee to the left of your body, and bend the knee so that your foot faces behind you. Keep your left foot flexed.
                        • Keep your right butt cheek on the floor. Try to move the left cheek as close to the floor as possible. It may not be possible if your hips are tight.
                        • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                        • Repeat on the other side.

                        7. Frog Stretch

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                          • Start on all fours.
                          • Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart.
                          • Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor.
                          • Ensure your legs are maintaining approximately a 90-degree angle (squared off).
                          • Shift your hips back toward your heels.
                          • Move from your hands down to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.
                          • Hold for for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                          8. Butterfly Stretch

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                            • Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to the sides.
                            • Hold onto your feet (or ankles), engage your abs slightly to keep an upright posture with steady breathing, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor. Keep a neutral spine during this stretch.
                            • If you cannot lower your torso, then simply hold the stretch and aim to lower your knees closer to the ground gradually.
                            • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                            9. Tricep Stretch

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                              • Kneel, sit, or stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead.
                              • Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back.
                              • Reach your left hand overhead and grasp just below your right elbow.
                              • Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
                              • Switch arms and repeat.

                              10. Extended Puppy Pose

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                                • Start on all fours.
                                • Move your arms forward a few inches.
                                • Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels, or until you feel a deep stretch.
                                • Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
                                • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                                11. Neck Stretch and Release

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                                  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
                                  • Drop your right ear to your right shoulder.
                                  • To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your right hand.
                                  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                                  12. Standing Quad Stretch

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                                    • Stand with your feet together.
                                    • Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt. Keep your knees together.
                                    • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
                                    • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
                                    • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                                    • Repeat on the other leg.

                                    Conclusion

                                    The key take away here is that consistency with your stretching routine, followed by good quality sleep and lots of hydration, will instantly begin to improve your quality of life. Find which stretches feel the best in your body and add them to a daily routine you can enjoy.

                                    More on How to Become Flexible

                                    Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

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