Just like all muscle groups, it’s important not to forget these muscle groups when you hit the gym! The back and shoulders can be a lot more complex as it consists of many more muscles than other areas of the body. For instance, you have the trapezius muscles which are your shoulders, and numerous back muscles such as the rear, exterior, and posterior deltoids, as well as Latissimus dorsi, much better known as the lats. Other than your legs your back is the most important muscle group located on the body, how else do you stand up straight?
With your shoulders there are numerous exercises you can do. I recommend starting off with some mobilisation warm ups, to do this simply rotate your arms in circular motions, holding with arms just past shoulder length if you have one at hand, this will warm up the lats and traps allowing more mobilisation and less chances of injury. The first shoulder exercise to do would be the shoulder press, you can do this in three ways, either with a cable machine, free weights or a bar. Simply sit or stand and push up with the weights level with your shoulders and push upwards so that your arms are just below fully extended. It is important not to fully extend your arms as serious damage can be inflicted if your elbows give under the stress and flex the wrong way, lets just say you wont be lifting again for a very long time if that happens! After this move onto shoulder raises, these are arguably the easiest exercise for the shoulders. It’s in the name, you hold two weights that are suited to your strength, hold them by your side keeping your arms straight, and then raise your shoulder. Once raised hold the position for a few seconds, then lower back down to the starting position, do this until you fail and are unable to push out another rep. Try to get at least 5 sets of 7 reps before you fail, if not, consider lowering weight. After this you can do arm raises. These will use the same and surrounding muscles as the shoulder raise, buy due to the different nature of the movement you will need a substantially lower weight. Start by holding the weights by your side or at your front, followed by raising your arms so that they’re at 90 degrees to your standing up body. Once again try to do 4 or 5 sets of 7 but carry on repeating the sets until you fail to obtain the best results, remember, no pain no gain!
Once you’ve done this you could move onto the back, the best part to start off with is the lats as it covers the biggest part of the back and contributes most to your back looking like a shield! To get gains in this region start with a t-bar row. To do this simply grab a bar and load it with weight to suit your level of strength. Crouch down in a half-squatting position with the bar in front of you, arms shoulder length apart, and pull the bar up towards your chest, squeezing the lateral muscles when you’ve raised the bar. Try to aim for 4 sets of 8 minimum, raising the weight if you feel you can do more. If you start lifting heavier weight all personal trainers would recommend you use a weight lifting belt to take some stress off of the spine, after all you don’t want time out with a slipped disk now! As well as this you can also go for back push ups as discussed in the previous blog, these work wonders for the lats and should be part of anyone’s gym schedule who’s taking it seriously! As well as these exercises I would recommend most cable machines that work the back, this is because most cable machines can carry out numerous exercises and are excellent for building muscle, although in many cases the free weight version of the exercise is better as it takes out the balance and support provided by the weights being attached to cables, if you’re having to support the balance of the weight yourself than you’re obviously putting in more work which in many cases is more beneficial. In addition to this dead-lifts are also an excellent exercise for the lower back and legs. Simply start in squat position with a weighted bar suited to your capabilities in front of you. Hold the bar at shoulders apart length, and go from squatting position to standing up straight with full extension of the back, it is important that you keep your knees behind your feet to maintain a good posture and avoid injury.
Your back and shoulders are vital for boxing because with a stronger back and shoulders you can pop your punches and bring your arms back faster. With faster. stronger punches comes a better fighter, given the right methods of boxing are used and you don’t just throw your arms around and hope for the best!