Weight Loss

The Best Functional Fitness Exercises for Back Strength

functional fitness exercises

Did you know that over 65 million Americans experience back pain?

Weak back muscles are not only painful. They stop you from living your best life and increase the risk of injury and more back problems. If you’re reaching the senior years of your life, the fear of back injuries can feel more real.

The good news is that strengthening your back with functional fitness exercises is simple. There are plenty of straightforward exercises that can make your back stronger. You only have to make sure to start with a solid core and to work on your lower and upper back together.

Read on for a guide on the best functional fitness exercises for back strength.

Everything Starts from the Core

Having good stability will help avoid lower back pain and injuries while exercising. When doing back strengthening exercises at home, start with ones that target your core.

Your core is a group of muscles that surround your abdomen. They go from your abs to your hips and are the bedrock behind any serious workout routine. Research suggests that weak core muscles increase the likelihood of back problems.

Supermans

The superman helps target muscles from your butt to your shoulders. Start by lying down flat on your stomach. Slowly extend your arms and legs out, and get ready to squeeze your core muscles.

This is a crucial step to provide you with stability and avoid potential injury. You can visualize squeezing your belly button inward if that makes it easier. While keeping your core tight, lift your arms and legs out and up.

Make sure to keep your head down to avoid neck sprains. If you’ve done it right, your core and hips will be the only thing flat on the ground. The rest of you should be up off the floor.

Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds. Make sure to repeat this at least ten times, taking short breaks as needed. Holding your core muscles tight will strengthen your lower back.

On top of your core, the rest of your back muscles will stretch and engage. Don’t worry if you can’t hold your core or position for very long. It takes some practice, and you’ll get better as your core and back muscles strengthen.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges do something similar to supermans. They help stabilize you by strengthening a key muscle necessary to avoid pain and injury. This muscle is called the gluteus maximus.

Your butt is full of muscles, with the gluteus maximus being the largest one. This is the one that does the most to help keep your hips stable. Something few people realize is that a lot of your back flexibility comes from your glutes.

If you don’t strengthen your glutes, not only will you have stability issues, but you’ll also experience back pain. When it comes to doing your lower back exercises at the gym, don’t forget this simple one.

Start on your back with the soles of your feet flat on the ground, making sure to keep them apart. The distance will vary, but a proper rule of thumb is about hip-width. Keep your hands flat by your sides the whole time.

With your shoulders also nailed to the floor, slowly raise your butt. You want your body to make as straight a line as possible from your collar to your knee. Hold that position for a moment and lower your butt slowly.

Take a quick breather and repeat that whole process. Three sets of 10-15 reps are what you should aim for.

Your Upper Back

While having a solid core and strong lower back muscles is key, the next thing is strengthening your upper back. You have to target all the muscles in your upper back, including the four primary ones.

Your erector goes along your spine while your rhomboids are in your mid-upper back. Your traps and lats go from your neck to the mid-back and from your armpits down your sides, respectively.

There are several functional fitness exercises that can help you target these groups.

Resistance Band

Doing a simple pull apart with a resistance band is a great way to work your traps and rhomboids. They also help with your rear delts. Doing this exercise is as simple as standing up straight and pulling the band apart with your hands.

You want to hold the band at around upper-chest height and stretch as far as you can without injury. If you can get your arms to make a flat 180-degree line, that’s great, but don’t push too hard.

Try to keep a solid posture without moving anything other than your arms. Everything should focus on your mid-back and how your shoulder blades squeeze together on each rep. Be slow in letting the band go, as you want the burn, while controlling the release.

The goal is to find a band that lets you do 15 reps with proper form without pulling any muscles. Start with one set of 15 and work your way up to 2 sets of 20. When that gets too easy, upgrade to higher resistance and start again.

Forearm Planks

Forearm planks might be some of the most functional fitness exercises ever. This simple exercise works out your entire body, from your upper back to your core and lower back. Everything from your abs to your erector spinae, traps, lats, chest, rhomboids, shoulders, arms, and legs will feel the burn.

To do forearm planks, get on the ground, resting yourself on your forearms and toes. Make sure to extend your body and support yourself in as straight a line as possible. Your core muscles will be key in holding that position without your hips dropping.

Start by holding out for at least 30 seconds. It will be challenging at first, but keep aiming to beat a full minute. The results will speak for themselves, as even a small improvement will build up over time.

The Best Functional Fitness Exercises for a Healthier Back

When it comes to functional fitness exercises, there are plenty that anyone can do. Everything starts with the core. Without good core muscles, you run the risk of injury and poor form.

Most of the most functional exercises for strengthening your back can get done at home. The gym can be a great place to take things to the next level once you’ve mastered the basics. At B’licious Fitness, we’ve got you covered with top-notch equipment and expertise, so contact us today.