Most office jobs involve long periods of sitting and back-bending. With time, this habitual posture interferes with your back alignment and may eventually result in long-term problems.
According to fitness coach Byron Majumbe of Tim's Health and Fitness Centre in Nairobi, most people give little attention to their back fitness compared to their enthusiasm when exercising other body parts.
“A majority of the people will start on back fitness after prescription by a doctor. The danger of reaching the stage where a doctor prescribes fitness exercises is that some damages may be irreversible,” explains Majumbe.
He notes that the back is first shaped by an individual’s walking and sitting posture even before fitness exercises kick in.
“A fit and strong back show when one is walking, scaling a staircase, and when seated. You can easily tell when someone is headed for trouble by observing the posture that he assumes,” he says.
To maintain a fit back, perform an array of exercises including the barbell row, dumbbell row, reverse dumbbell fly exercise, swim back posture, one arm dumbbell row, and stretching yoga.
“These workouts should last at least one hour a day and should be done twice a week for maximum effectiveness,” stresses Majumbe.
Lift the barbell in a squat position, legs straight and firmly on the ground, with the arms and the back straightened. With the weight on the hands and palms facing forward, bring the barbell up to the hip as you rise and repeat the process five to 10 times.
“Make sure you don’t bend backward once the weight is at the hip.”
For beginners, Majumbe advises that you start with light-weight dumbbells, of say, five kilogrammes. Grab two dumbbells of equal weight on each hand and assume a straight bending posture. Lift the double weights until above your head and repeat this about 10 times. “This workout helps to straighten the lateral muscles.”
Reverse dumbbell fly exercise
In a hip-bent position, lift the dumbbell as you would in the dumbbell row exercise. In this exercise, however, push the weights to your back just above the waist. Remember to keep the back straight. “This exercise can make you strain fast so it is advisable that you do it exclusive of others.”
Swim back posture
Lie on a flat surface with the shoulders and the feet lifted such that it is only the stomach and the groin area that is in contact with the surface.
Keeping your back and head straight, use your hands as you would when swimming. This exercise helps he back to get a firm grit.
One arm dumbbell row
This one is pretty much like the dumbbell row only that this time you’re using one arm.
Bend one knee on a slightly raised surface while the other foot rests on the floor. Lift the dumbbell on one hand and raise the weight slightly up the shoulder while maintaining the back in a straight posture. “Always focus on the posture rather than the weight,” he advises.
Majumbe clarifies that all these exercises go together or can be used as alternatives.