Monday, May 28, 2007

Build a Better Back

Ask Glen!

Q. How do I build a stronger back?

A. By getting bigger gains by learning about the muscles, joints and ligaments behind an exercise ( back )

Trying a new workout can yield solid short-term improvements in strength and size. But learning about the muscles, joints, and ligaments behind an exercise can give you greater gains for life. In this new feature, we'll be your trainer, professor, and physical therapist, providing the inside info you need about strengthening a power point -- the latissimus dorsi -- as well as the surrounding muscles and joints that can either help you out or hold you back.


Teres major
These thick, flat muscles run from the outer edges of the scapulae, or shoulder blades, to the humeri, or upper-arm bones. They help the rotator cuffs stabilize the shoulder joints.

The long, triangular trapezius muscles have several jobs, including scapular elevation (shrugging your arms up), scapular depression (pulling the shoulder blades down), and scapular adduction (drawing the shoulder blades together).

The major and minor rhomboids lie beneath the traps, helping stabilize and rotate the shoulder blades.

Lower back
The latissimus dorsi, or lats, work with the opposing gluteus muscles to stabilize the spine and help coordinate the two halves of the body during walking, running, and throwing.


Straight-arm Pulldown

This iron-cross–like exercise brings your arms through 180 degrees of motion against resistance.

1. Kneel or sit at a high-pulley cable-crossover station, arms to the sides, thumbs up, one handle in each hand.

2. Pull the handles down and behind your hips so they almost touch your butt. Return slowly to starting position.

Single-leg Single-arm Pulldown

This exercise builds your lats while stabilizing your abs, hips, and lower back.

1. Grab the pulley handle in your right hand. Raise your right leg.

2. Pull your elbow to your side, then allow the arm to straighten to the starting position. Do 12 reps, then turn and repeat with your left arm, with your left leg raised.

The Weak Point: Humerus/Scapula

Bring your shoulder blades down and together before you initiate any pulldown movement and you'll automatically engage more muscle fibers.


These quick moves can improve your form and protect you from nasty injuries such as impingement syndrome and rotator-cuff strains and tears. Do them both to prepare for your back routine.


This dynamic stretch increases flexibility in your lats, teres major, and scapular muscles.

1. Stand with your arms at your sides. Keep your arms straight and your abs and glutes tight.

2. Raise your arms in front of you in an arc until they're behind your head and slightly out to the sides. Perform 15 to 20 reps as part of your dynamic warmup.

Scapular Pushup

This strengthens your scapular muscles, rhomboids, and middle trapezius.

1. Put your hands directly under your shoulders on a Swiss ball.

2. With arms slightly bent, pinch your shoulder blades together for 2 seconds, then push them apart and pause. Do 12 to 15 reps.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program.Please consult your physician !

Wishing You Great Health!

Glen Edward Mitchell

Any questions? Ask Glen

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About Me

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Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
Is the Founder of Fitness Builders 4 Life,the WorkOut GEM,G350,G180, G90, Eat 4 Life, Clean, Lean & Mean & Ask Glen. The mission of the Fitness Builders is to provide the community with health education and to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. By educating the community on healthier lifestyle practices it is the intent of Fitness Builders to reduce the ravages of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle or self inflicted diseases. Glen is also a AMA Certified Nutrition Specialist and a ACE, ACSM, NASM Certified Personal Trainer has 30+ years in Sports, Exercise Science and Nutritional Food Management, Learning and Mentoring Men and Women on a more Mental & Physical Healthy Life Style consisting of a low fat, low salt, Low carbohydrate, high protein, organic nutrition which also includes moderate exercise and mental awareness. Stay Informed, Live long and be Mentally and Physically Healthy! Any questions? Ask Glen!

Any Questions? Ask Glen!