There are two primary reasons for getting into a bodybuilding program, trying to increase muscle mass and trying to increase functional strength. The key to both of these is building core strength, which lies in the abdominal muscles, and, just as importantly the muscles of the upper, middle and lower back.
The primary stabilizing muscles of your body are in your back, these are the easiest muscles to injure while lifting weights. Your back consists of the spine, the ribs, the scapula and the ligaments that string them all together, like parts of a mobile or kinetic motion structure.
Back injuries are almost always compression or rotation injuries, this is damage to the soft tissue, due to an over-extending movement of the back muscles involved. You can prevent back injuries by utilizing correct weight lifting techniques and muscle group isolation and you can also prevent physical problems from developing years later.
Muscle groups that you need to work on in the back are your traps, lats and deltoids, and you need to take them slowly. Yes, you can get a ripped looking back by overdoing it, but it's better to focus on practical strength increases over physical appearance and muscle building when dealing with your back.
The trapezius muscles are the ones that form the bulk of your back. In Traps, the fundemental exercise is the shrug where you lift the dumbbells in both hands, shrug and hold then release.
Another workout that mostly works on your deltoids, but helps the traps a bit, is a straight-arm lift. Hold a dumbbell in your hand with your elbow at your side, and your forearm out level with the map. Extend your arm until it's at shoulder height, in one fluid motion, and look down your arm at the dumbbell, like you're sitting on a pistol range. Then bring it down slowly. This is a common exercise in martial arts groups that emphasize punching.
To build up the lower trapezius muscle, you're going to want a sitting down 'V-bar pull down', where you're pulling down against resistance. This is better than a straight pull up because it isolates the muscle thoroughly.
If you are targeting your back, specifically your lower back, one exercise that is important in helping you gain strength in your back is shoulder arches. By doing shoulder arches you will not only gain strength (this is the most important thing), but you will also work on definition of your back as well. Hold a light dumb-bell over the back of your neck and lay down on your front. Clasp your hands, then arch your back, lift, count to three, then lower slowly. It's very easy to overdo them, so, do these sparingly.
Like all the exercises which help with muscle building, stretching and cardio exercise before and after are a must for maintaining flexibility.
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