5+ Tips to Having a Healthier, More Muscular Back

When it comes to building strong and defined muscles, the view from behind is not all about the glutes. Having a strong back and shoulders is not only attractive it is an essential part of feeling and performing at your best.

Brock Armstrong
Episode #401
Photo of a woman with a muscular back

Twist and Rotate

Unless you are into yoga or pilates, you probably don’t do a lot of twisting and rotating of the spine. If you could watch a skeleton move you would see that each vertebra not only bends forward and backward and side-to-side, but it also can rotate and twist. Bending, rotating, and twisting are all natural motions, so don’t simply limit yourself to one or two of them!

According to my friend @yoga15abi, the benefits of twisting your spine include:

  • Bringing blood flow to the spine, hips, and shoulders.
  • Stretching the hips, glutes, abs, obliques, back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
  • Increasing range of motion in the upper body.
  • Alleviating lower back and shoulder pain.
  • Helping to correct poor posture.
  • Improving breathing.

Stop Wearing Shoes with Heels

This may come as a shock to a few of you out there but shoes with heels throw your body’s natural mechanics into a true state of dysfunction. In fact, British researchers found that wearing heels regularly over the course of a lifetime can actually shorten calf muscles by 13 percent. Also wearing heels has been shown to thicken your Achilles tendon. And if that wasn’t enough, high heels have been proven to compress and damage the lumbar spine which can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease in the low back.

How our shoes support our feet can have a large impact on all parts of our body. When we take a step, the way our foot moves instructs and directs how the rest of our body will follow. Sure, your foot seems far away from the back but the movement of one joint does indeed affect other joints through what is called the kinetic chain. And because of this, paying attention to your footwear can help to prevent back pain.

How our shoes support our feet can have a large impact on all parts of our body.

Don’t Walk Like a Duck

You can think of it like the wheels on your bike, your feet should point in the direction that you are heading. When your feet rotate outward, beyond the 12-to-15 degree range, you start to lose hip function. Biomechanically speaking, you are putting your back and lower joints at risk of injury.

If you do walk like this (like I do) a good way to practice getting your feet more parallel is to line up the outsides of your feet along a straight edge on a tile floor and walk along it. You can also check in on your position occasionally by looking down, but not by straining your neck by continually looking down.

A Back Building (Not Breaking) Workout

Now that your feet are ready, your hips are loose, your back is supple and ready to rock, you'll have to wait for Part Two where we'll talk about how you can make your back jacked, toned, ripped, swole, and all those other awesome muscular words that you hear at the gym!

For more back carving info, rippling muscle tips, and to join the strong conversation, head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy or twitter.com/getfitguy. Also don't forget to subscribe to the Get-Fit Guy podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play or via RSS.


About the Author

Brock Armstrong

Brock Armstrong is a certified AFLCA Group Fitness Leader with a designation in Portable Equipment, NCCP and CAC Triathlon Coach, and a TnT certified run coach. He is also on the board of advisors for the Primal Health Coach Institute and a guest faculty member of the Human Potential Institute. Do you have a fitness question? Leave a message on the Get-Fit Guy listener line. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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