Total Gym Back Exercises to Avoid a Chiropractor
I love my holistic chiropractor! He has put me back together many of times. Holistic to me means he gets to the cause of the problem and helps me make the proper corrections. He would be the first to agree that the following exercises will help you avoid the need for his services. Good chiropractors are wonderful when we need them, but let’s try and avoid them if we can. That is the goal of this blog post.
A sure-fire way to accomplish our goal is to strengthen and stretch all the muscles that support the spine. This is Joseph Pilates’s entire principle: If you keep the spine supple and mobile and strengthen and stretch all the muscles that support it, everything else will fall into place.
I’ve compiled three compound, multitasking back workouts to strengthen your back, prevent chronic back pain and avoid your chiropractor (except to take him or her out to coffee and tell them how healthy you are!).
- Pull-Up with Upper Back Extension – Use a slightly lower level than you would for the traditional pull-up exercise so you can focus on strengthening the mid and lower back muscles in addition to your lats (the main mover in a traditional pull-up). Keep your eyes down and think ‘extension from the crown of your head to the top of the tower.’ We want to strengthen the back to avoid the chiropractor, so be mindful not to do the movement with your neck. One wonderful philosophy I have learned from all my Pilates training is to always focus on the muscle, not the movement. It’s worth repeating: always focus on the muscle you are working, not the movement from A to B. This little tip will help you get so much more out of every exercise you do.
- Low Row with Back Stretch – These are big muscles team, so try a level range in the upper third. My favorite rule for getting the most benefit from your resistance-training program is to choose a level that makes you fatigue right around 12 repetitions. Keep your knees bent as you go into the stretch phase of the exercise and enjoy the yummy back stretch on each repetition. Keep your elbows low, low, low so your shoulders stay low as well.
- Upper Back Row with Hamstring Stretch – I love to pick on strengthening the upper back muscles, as they are so important for a healthy posture. Your elbows should come back high but keep the shoulders low. Yes, it is possible. In the stretch phase of this exercise I want you to keep your legs flexed firm and straight so you can enjoy a great hamstring stretch with each repetition. Stretch forward with your head up, back flat and feet flexed. Tight hamstrings can be a huge cause of lower back pain.
For years I avoided Pilates because I loved more hard-core resistance training and crazy cardio classes. Older and wiser, I still love the hard-core, crazy stuff but I realize keeping the spine healthy with Pilates-type exercises allows you to do everything in life more efficiently and with less injury. So remember, in addition to the exercises you’ll experience in this video, your Total Gym is the perfect apparatus to do the Pilates repertoire. I absolutely love the versatility of my Total Gym.