Exercise: Let's get back to basics

24 April 2017

When hitting the gym or working out in front of the TV there are areas we always target; arms, tummy and bum. But what about our backs?

There are lots of ways to make our backs look their best, and the exercises are easy to slip into your daily routine. So grab some dumbbells and get those back muscles flexing.

These three exercises focus on the trapezius muscles - the two large superficial muscles that stretch from the base of your neck, across your shoulders until the middle of your back. The function of this major muscle is to move the shoulder blades, twist the head and neck, stabilise the shoulders and shrug and support the arms. It also helps us breathe.

Read more: Here’s how much exercise you need to burn off your favourite foods

Dumbbell shrug

Holding a pair of dumbbells at your side in the weight you’re most comfortable with, making sure palms are facing each other, shrug your shoulders as high as you can and then release down again. With the shoulder, shrug aims for your shoulders to touch your ears but don’t move any other part of your body.

If you’re at the gym switch it up by using a barbell instead of dumbbells.

Dumbbell overhead carry

This one seems easy, but you can really feel it working your back muscles.

Holding your dumbbells over your head, so the palms are facing each other and arms are next to your ears, start to walk around. While the bottom is moving, your arms are in an isometric position and are not moving. Keeping your arms in place will give your trapezius a real workout.

Read more: If you have an office job, you really, really need to exercise. Here’s why

Dumbbell lateral raise

Lateral raises also work your deltoids and core too.

Standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding your arms to the side of your body, raise your arms straight out to the side until they reach shoulder level, with palms facing down. You should be standing in a T shape. Hold for a second and then slowly lower the weights.

Or change the move slightly by facing palms together and bringing arms up in front of you, so you make a Y shape.

For both moves shoulders should be slightly bent.

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