4 Essential Moves to Strengthen Your Back and Core

Boost the strength in your back and core and build your best body!
The core and back are two parts of the body that are difficult to train. It’s not uncommon for back and core exercises to create pain and injury.

The core or trunk of your body consists of four abdominal muscles, the chest muscles, back, traps and the lower back muscles. Together, these muscles are responsible for keeping your body upright all day long and in a good posture. While this may not sound like a lot of work, these muscles need to stay in tip-top shape in order to maintain an upright posture. Let’s take a further look at the back and core in more detail.

When you think of the core muscles, you probably immediately think of the abs, and who can blame you? The abdominal muscles are the primary reason why many people flock to weight loss gimmicks and popular pieces of equipment that are intended to help you lose size around the waist.

While the gimmicks may work for a little time, there is no substitute for working the core in the correct way to strengthen and tone the core area. Here are four of the best exercises that you should be doing to strengthen and tone your core and back muscles.

The Top 4 Exercises for the Core and Back

1. Bridges. They are difficult, yet highly effective. Bridges are one of the best moves to work the abs, lower back, upper glutes and the upper back area. Holding bridges for about 30 seconds over two or three sets can be a great way to strengthen the core and back areas. To really kick it up a notch, you can even hold out a straightened leg to gain more benefit in the thighs and lower abs area. If you really want to push your limits, hold a 45-pound weight plate on your lap as your thrusting upwards.

2. Cat Curls. These are great for working the back and core. Cat curls (also known as cat and cow) help to mobilize the spine in ways that it does not normally receive stimulation during the course of an average day. Start off with about five each of the cat curls and hold each for about 5-10 seconds.

3. Push-Ups. This exercise is one of the best of all-time. If you grew up on this planet, you already have a baseline of knowledge on how to do one. Push-ups work your arms and shoulders, but are also ideal for working the back and core. When you lower into a push-up, your trapezius muscles need to work hard to stabilize the body. In addition, throughout the exercise, your body is tight and parallel to the floor. This will work your lower back, abs and chest. Before everyone discovered that planking was great for the core, smart trainers were telling people to keep their middles tight through their push-ups. Start out by doing sets of as many push-ups as you can. The average person should do two sets. If you are more experienced, you will want to do three sets.

4. Holding A Plank. The plank is one of the most used core exercises among personal trainers. The key to this exercise is not finding a “comfortable” spot and seeing how long you can hold it for. Instead, challenge yourself. Tighten up your abs, keep a straight and lengthened spine and really do your best to work while your in that position. You goal is to see how much fatigue you can create on your midsection.

Working your core and back muscles are important for your look, health and for preventing future injury. Focusing on this sort of muscle development at least two times per week is a great start for anyone who is brand new to working these areas. Take your time when you progress your core and back exercises and if you are looking for more of a challenge with these, do it slow and add in more reps, sets or time. However, be mindful that adding heavy weight will increase your risk of injury.