Stand Up Straight!

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These days a lot of jobs require us to sit at a desk all day, and sitting can lead to extremely poor posture. You might think this only causes back pain, but if your posture is bad it effects your ENTIRE body as it tries to make up for the weakened muscles supporting your spine.

Your back is a huge muscle group, and you use it every time you push or pull anything—that includes something as simple as lifting things up and taking things down from a high shelf. Or pushing a revolving door. Everyday activities like these are easier when your back is strong.

The moves in this workout routine are meant to hit the muscles from different angles so that you can get the most from this workout. By taking an all-around approach, you benefit by not just working your back but all the muscles around it. This helps maintain balance in muscles that work together so that you can avoid overcompensating with one or another. Some of the moves are also good for shoulder stability—the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and keeping it stable is essential for avoiding injury.

Ready to start training? Great! Let’s go!

Halo — 5 reps each side

Halos are great for improving shoulder mobility and core stability. Keep your ribs down and glutes tight to avoid arching your lower back.

  1. Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell at your chest with both hands, gripping it on each end.
  3. Lift the weight to eye level and slowly circle it around your head clockwise for 1 rep.
  4. Repeat in opposite direction.
  5. Do 5 reps in each direction (10 total).

Overhead Press — 8 to 12 reps

This is my favorite way to make shoulders strong! Keep your butt and core tight to stabilize your torso and avoid arching your back.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing. (To make move more challenging and increase core stability, we suggest doing it while kneeling.)
  2. Press the weights overhead and together, rotating your hands so that your palms face forward.
  3. Lower to start for 1 rep.
  4. Do 8 to 12 reps.

Renegade Row — 8 to 12 reps each side

Three things are happening here. You’re working on shoulder stability as you hold one hand in plank position; you’re working the back muscles as you are pulling the weight; and you’re working on core stability as you’re trying to keep your body from shifting.

  1. Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Move your feet out a few inches, so that they’re wider than hip-width, to help stabilize your body.
  3. Row your right arm up, keeping it close to your body. Your elbow should go past your back as you bring the weight toward your chest.
  4. Lower for 1 rep.
  5. Do 8 to 12 reps, switch sides, and repeat.

Bent-Over Row — 8 to 12 reps each side

  1. Start in a high lunge, left leg forward and bent, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Rest your left arm on your knee.
  3. Hinge forward at your hips, keeping your back flat. Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your front foot to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
  4. Row your right arm up, keeping it close to your body. Your elbow should go past your back as you bring the weight toward your chest. Lower for 1 rep.
  5. Do 8 to 12 reps, switch sides, and repeat.

Note: Make sure your shoulder is relaxed and away from your ear—avoid shrugging.

Crawl — 20 steps

This move is deceivingly hard. If it’s too difficult at first, bring your knees to the floor. The most important things are to move with the opposite hand and foot, lift the hand and foot at the same time, and land softly.

  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Keeping your back flat and your butt down (like you’re in a plank), lift your knees off the floor a few inches.
  3. Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
  4. Initiate the crawling movement by stepping your opposite hand and foot forward.
  5. Make sure to keep your back flat and your knees just a few inches off the floor.
  6. Continue alternating sides as you “step.” Take 10 steps forward, and then 10 backward.

 

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