How often do you train your back? Honestly? Even for the people who don't only train their mirror muscles, back training is often neglected or poorly done. This is especially true for people who suffer from back pain. Let me make building a powerful back, rippling with muscle and bursting with strength, as simple as possible.
Your spine can be seen as two entities: your thoracic spine as your lumbar spine. Your lumbar spine means your lower back, which is a suffering area of pain for so many people. When you spend years at an office job sitting down, your lower back only gets weaker and weaker. Then, people will try to do a physical task that puts this muscle into play, and end up tearing or pulling the muscle, or slipping a disc, which could be much worse. The back pain only grows from there. The lumbar spine is the foundation of support for your lower and upper body, so training it should be a requirement for any strength athlete.
What are good exercises for the lower back? When it comes to bodyweight exercises, the wrestler's bridge is kingly for training the lower back. You actually train your full back doing the exercise, so it's great for thoracic spine training too, but we'll get there.
Another exercise that really gets that lower back activated is the deadlift. Deadlifts are powerful in terms of reducing back pain by strengthening the lower back, and the muscles that support it. When it comes to deadlifts, I would personally recommend doing a heavy partial range rep rather than a full range rep because of how easy it is to unknowingly injure the spine. Also, training partials will strengthen your spine very quickly, allowing you to transition to much more advanced back exercises when only a few months before, you could barely move for the back pain you had.
Then there's the thoracic spine. This part of your spine runs up your upper back to the base of your neck, and is responsible for much of your physical mobility. If you exercise the upper spinal area, you eliminate so many issues as far as flexibility, speed, strength, and dexterity. Often I've seen people with chronic kyphosis of their thorachic spine, meaning they have an arch in their upper back like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
This shouldn't be you, and if it IS you, you shouldn't wait any longer to correct your spine and strengthen yourself. As I said earlier, the wrestler's bridge is fantastic as far as training all of your back, but it's a bit of an advanced exercise, so there are a few others that you can try instead.
One exercise you can try is the Superman. You lay on the ground flat on your stomach. Now, keeping your stomach on the ground, stretch your hands in front of your as far as they will go, and try to arch your back so that your arms and legs aren't touching the floor. It gets it's name because you'll look a bit like Superman trying to fly through the air. Hardy har har. Tip: Try to look upward or at least forward when you do this exercise, which will strengthen back more.
Looking up or forward is important because there is a long muscle that travels from the back of your neck down your spine that supports your spinal cord. Training this improves natural posture, and can help to reduce back pain.
Another great exercise is the back bridge. Lie flat on your back. Now put your weight on your elbows, and straighten your body out as much as you can. Only your elbows and the back of your feet should touch the floor. You could also do this without the elbows, supporting yourself on the back of your neck and your feet.
This back training is great for true strength, pain management, and functional strength. You'll feel healthier and way more vibrant, even though you're not training muscles that you'll likely ever look for in the mirror. I might fall over in shock the day I hear a girl on the beach say “Wow, he's got such a STRONG thoracic spine!”. Nevertheless, training it will build your overall strength, which makes training those beautiful mirror muscles easier :)