EXERCISE BREAKDOWN: BACK-SUPPORT
HOW TO DO IT
HAVE A NICE SIT DOWN – you know you want to. Sit, but brig your feet in close to your bum. Don’t just lounge around (sorry).
PLACE YOUR HANDS ABOUT AN INCH BEHIND YOUR BUMBUM – with your fingers pointing straight out to the sides.
START IN SHOCKING POSTURE – with your spine flexed, your shoulders forward so you’re all hunched up. Why? Because when we start each rep, we want to be in excellent posture. If we start in this sloppy position, it makes us consciously fix it every rep, without that we tend to get a bit sloppy as soon as the concentration goes.
GET TALL – start to extend your upper back.
ROLL YOUR SHOULDERS BACK – and start to exagerate good posture. Tall as you can, shoulders back, shoulder blades drawn back down and together.
STRAIGHTEN YOUR ARMS – lock them out and rotate your biceps forward.
TURN ON THE POWER BY SQUEEZING YOUR SHOULDERS BACK AND DOWN – don’t even think about lifting your bum up until your rear delts and upper back are working.
LIFT THROUGH YOUR CHEST – lead the move by pushing your chest into the air, then focus on feeling a chest stretch and your upper back pulling your shoulders back. Lift your bum only a few centimetres off the floor.
SQUEEZE FOR 10 SECONDS AND HAVE A GOOD TIME – despite the numerous points above about how to get into this position, it’s all just a prelude to this magical (or torturous) moment. Now, once we are (finally) here, you must focus on voluntarily contracting your rear shoulders and upper back as hard as you can and strive to keep exaggerating for a solid 10-seconds.
RELAX AND REPEAT – once you’ve done your time, gently come back down to earth, roll your shoulders forwards and then repeat it all.
HOW YOU PEOPLE MESS IT UP
YOU GET STUCK IN THE HALF-WAY HOUSE — and no one wants to spend their time here. Normally this is an error of understanding. If you don’t do these perfectly, you will be wasting your time. So don’t get stuck with your shoulders half-way back or slightly shrugged, and because you want to lift your hips all the way up like the table in Yoga or the full back support in gymnastics you end up lifting your hips half-way up. Naughty. The fix: don’t leave the floor until you are in perfect position, and only come an inch off the floor, even if you think you’re strong enough for more. Make sure you feel the right stuff all the time. Otherwise don’t bother with these.
YOU THINK IT’S TOO EASY — which it isn’t. By definition. By asking you to squeeze your shoulders back and down as hard as you can, I mean–squeeze your shoulders back and down as hard as you can. If you “can’t feel anything”, then that’s fine, but you got work to do! This is about the skill of voluntarily contracting selected muscles as hard as you can–it will make you stronger, and it will help with your mind-muscle connection. So if you can’t feel anything, it means you need to practice harder until you can (or it means I’m a terrible coach who can’t explain things clearly–as I’m often told).
YOU RUSH IT — because you don’t understand it or want to be doing it. Naughty. First understand. Then practice. With much gusto.
YOU JUST CHILL — naughty. Work harder.
YOU CANT LOCK THE ARMS — which will likely be due to extreme weakness (you probably know if that’s you), or more likely lack of awareness or tightness through the chest and biceps. The fix: get stronger. Practice feeling a good position and work on your range of motion through your chest and biceps! The exercise itself serves as a nice stretch–add a couple more and you’re sure to improve hastily.
YOU JUST CAN’T GET IN A GOOD POSITION — life is all about getting into good positions and then getting all sweaty, so let’s endeavour to get you there. This entire ‘modified back support’ exercise is presented to you with the grand idea that it’s easy to get into a good position. If you went straight for the real thing, there’s a higher chance of wasting time and not doing so good. So unless you are absolutely cronically tight, the only reason you can’t get into a good position is a lack of awareness and conscientious practice. The fix: practice, practice, practice until you can feel and understand it. Only then come off the floor and apply the strength element. Perhaps find a trusty friend who knows how to prod you in all the right places it helps.
BOOK SPINE SPINE — imagine your actual spine is like a books spine, and that as you squeeeeze your shoulders back, it’s like closing a book behind you. Does that make sense whatsoever? I think that maybe it does but I could have worded her better. Anyways…
ROLL THE SHOULDERS–FEEL THE ROUNDED REAR DELTS — is that too long to be a good coaching cue? I don’t know but I’m keeping it. You can abbreviate it yourself if you like. The more rounded your rear shoulders, the more likely you’ve got your rear delts involved, and we want that very much. Focus on having rock hard, rounded, impressive ball like back of shoulder things.
PUSH THE FLOOR AWAY — that will help you stay tall, keep a long neck like a giraffe (or a Pilates instructor), keep your shoulders down away from your ears and activate your triceps.
UPPER BACK ON FIRE! — if you git it right, you’ll feel it all come alive.
PULSE — get bored? Lose focus? Not sure if you’re squeezing hard enough? No problem. Try pulsing extra bursts of power during the 10 seconds.
PICTURE THE SCAP — picture your shoulder blades (le scapula) moving back, down and towards each other. If your anything like me (someone must be!) it will help!
PROGRESSIONS / REGRESSIONS
FULL BACK SUPPORT
IMPRESSIVE GYMNASTIC ENDEVOURS
OTHER UPPER BACJ STRENGTH
WHY DO IT?
IT’S A MORE RELIABLE STEPPING STONE TO THE FULL BACK SUPPORT — which needs splendid shoulder extension and is hard to do with good form. Start here, then move on.
TRAIN TO HOLD YOUR SHOULDER IN A GOOD POSITION – which is important on this drill, plus other strength moves, plus it’s going to encourage better posture.
STRENGTHEN YOUR TRICEPS – which will make you stronger and significantly more attractive to members of the opposite sex (in theory).
STRENGTHEN SCAPULAR DEPRESSION AND RETRACTION – and therefore your scapular depressors and retractors. You’ll find them around your upper back.
DE-DESK YOURSELF — the more you do to take yourself away from desk posture, the more you’re training will make you healthier and look better. What’s the point in training if you don’t use it to make your body last better?