Stretching exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness routine, and they can loosen up sore back muscles after you pump iron at the gym. Doing stretching exercises for your back at the gym will also help you walk taller as you strut your stuff on the beach or in a body-clinging dress. Once you finish your back-toning exercises, transition into your gym-based back stretches.
Pushing yourself a bit at the gym can help you reach your weight-loss and muscle-toning goals, but you can also end up with sore muscles. Likewise, hunching over the computer or carrying the kids around can affect your posture and cause back aches. Stretching your back muscles regularly will relieve muscle soreness from exercise or everyday activities while also improving your posture.
Before You Stretch
Even though stretching is a gentle form of exercise, you still need to prepare your body before you start doing back-stretching exercises at the gym. If you're not planning to perform cardio or weight training beforehand, warm up with a five- to 10-minute walk before you begin your stretching routine or class. If you've already done your cardio or weight routine, your body is warmed up and ready to move directly into your back stretches.
Back-Stretching Exercises at the Gym
The variety of gym equipment and classes offered at the gym help you avoid exercise boredom, while giving you the opportunity to try different exercises you might not be able to do at home. Yoga and tai chi classes are effective health club classes to take that are devoted to stretching. Additionally, gyms often have equipment available that's specifically for stretching, such as the seated lever back stretch and the fixed bar back stretch, which can be done with a heavy weight machine or total-body stretching apparatus. You can also use a stability ball at the gym to do walkouts and reverse extensions.
Keep in Mind
Do stretching exercises two to three times weekly to reap the benefits. Even 15 to 20 minutes each session will help relieve back soreness, improve flexibility and posture and help you maintain a full range of motion. You should plan to see your doctor first before you start any new stretching exercises. Once you get started, always ease into a stretch, holding the position without bouncing. While it's beneficial to use gentle stretches to relieve sore back muscles from exercise or everyday activities, do not try to stretch when you suffer from severe or acute back pain. Instead, stop exercising and see your doctor.
- MayoClinic.com: Fitness Training -- Elements of a Well-Rounded Routine
- MayoClinic.com: Stretching -- Focus on Flexibility
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible
- American Council on Exercise: Back Exercises
- ExRx.net: Back Exercises -- Stretch
- Shape: Are Sore Muscles a Sign of a Good Workout?
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images