Jacked Upper Back

Try Out This Simple Exercise For Great Posture And Healthy Shoulders

October 10, 2017

What’s up Rockaholics! I’m stoked to be using this platform to spread the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years as a certified personal trainer, so that you can have an easy-to-understand guide on simple bodyweight exercises to practice from the comfort of your own home.

If this is your first time reading, go here to get caught up to speed.

I’ve been noticing parallels between my pursuit of helping you get fit through this blog, and your pursuit of getting fit:

  • I had no idea how to actually start this blog. I thought about it for over a year before I actually posted the first one.
  • I still have no idea what the f*** I’m doing or where exactly it’s going. (Like I said, fine-tuning along the way.)
  • I’ve taken HUGE steps backwards (Thousands of words have been deleted when self-doubt washes over me and I start the entire thing over).
  • It gives me anxiety. (Luckily I know the best cure for anxiety is to F***ING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, so I just keep pushing forward.)
  • I’m also learning a lot, enjoying the challenges of developing a new skill, and overall feel better knowing I’m doing my best, even if it’s not perfect.

Does any of that sound like your fitness adventure?

Thought so. That’s the point!

The key in any fitness adventure is consistency. Notice how I call it an adventure? Many people (including myself in the past, on this very blog) refer to it as a fitness “journey” but I just thought about changing up the verbiage because an adventure sounds more fun and intense.

I want this to be fun because if you don’t enjoy it, you probably won’t stay consistent.

I need you to keep things intense because I’m only asking for 15 minutes a day, so reps are limited and you need to make each one count. Pay attention to your body and move slow and smooth. You should feel muscles work, not just let momentum carry your torso and/or limbs through space. Don’t forget to breathe.

If you have crappy, unfocused form you won’t see results in 15 minutes a day and if you don’t see results, you won’t stay consistent.

As I mentioned earlier, the key to any fitness adventure is consistency.

So the premise here is simple: take the exercises I’ve been presenting and develop a 15 minute routine that YOU enjoy doing! Keep the intensity challenging, and have fun with it! Maybe develop a few routines and go back and forth. Toy around with new exercises when a blog comes out.

You’ll remember the first 3 posts were the squat, plank, and push up. 3 easily recognizable “sexy” exercises, if you will. I led off with these because I figured they would get people more stoked about exercise than the next 2…

Then we went over the glute bridge and the dead bug, which aren’t as well-known and appear simple, but can get you a SERIOUS burn in some “sexy” areas like the ass and abs, IF you focus and do them with intent. I would argue for most of the population these are more important exercises to master and do regularly.

Today’s exercise falls in that second, less well-known category as well. It may seem simple and unsexy, but strengthening your upper back is (actually highly underrated in the sex appeal department, aaaand) very important to balance out the push-ups we’ve already gone over. DOUBLE SCORE! 

You see, a lot of people have a slouchy, forward-rounded posture these days thanks to the ungodly amount of time we spend in front of computers and phones (and driving). Seriously, there’s a good chance you’re in that posture right now!

Push-ups strengthen the chest muscles which will actually pull you further into that posture as they get stronger, so you’ve gotta work your back too, to balance things out. This will keep your shoulders happy and healthy in the long run. ITYWs are a great exercise to accomplish this.

3 Focus points:

  • Keep your neck neutral (in line with your spine) and relaxed. Basically looking straight at the ground.
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together towards your spine.
  • Pause at the top of each rep

Pace: Hold it for a good One Mississippi at the top position; maintain control throughout.

Programming Suggestions: Work your way up to 3 Sets of 10 for each letter. Do ‘em  every damn day if you sit at a desk for a living. Otherwise try to do them at least as frequently as you do push-ups.

To Make Them Easier: Just focus on one letter at a time, and/or do less reps to make sure you don’t sacrifice quality!

To Make Them Harder. Hold the top position for longer.

Recommended Listening:

Devils Hunt Me Down: A Caveman in a Computer Room.

Cavemen had sh***y posture, computers give us sh***y posture. A caveman in a computer room would REALLY need some ITYWs!

Next Up: Lunges

If you've got any questions/comments/success stories/struggles, feel free to come join the private Down With The Fitness Facebook Group

Take Great Care!

-Matt Koch