Bringing Strong Back

6 exercises for a strong back

Your mother was right (as usual) when she would tell you to stand up tall and don’t slouch. A woman with her shoulders down and her back straight shows confidence, strength and beauty. Strong back muscles are essential for good posture. The upper back muscles are used in pulling your shoulders down and back and helping you stand tall instead of hunched over. Good posture is also the easiest and fastest way to lose 10 pounds! Then there’s the added benefit of looking great while wearing halter tops and backless dresses. A strong back can be very sexy!

Not only is a strong back eye appealing, it is also an injury preventer. Low back pain is the number one diagnosis that physical therapists see every day. Sitting too much during the day combined with poor posture is an injury waiting to happen. Having a strong back will also make your day to day life easier and less strenuous. Carrying groceries, gardening and lifting your children will seem easier.

It’s time we are bringing strong BACK!

Last fall when, I injured my L5 and SI Joint, it was a wake up call about just how important a strong back is.

Incorporate these five back exercises into two to three days of your week. Along with additional exercises that target the rest of your body plus cardio and a healthy diet and you will have a strong, beautiful back in no time at all.

For this workout you will need:

  • A resistance band
  • A yoga mat or towel
  • Stability ball

Bringing Strong Back Workout  happyfitmama.com

Bent Over Row

  1. Hold onto either end of a resistance band, and step onto the middle of it with both feet, so your ankles are directly underneath your hips. Lean forward, bending at the hips with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Keep your back parallel to the floor, and let your arms hang down. From here, pull both elbows up so they’re in line with your torso. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upwards. Then slowly lower your hands back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  3. Complete three sets of 12 reps.

*For an added challenge, add a dumbbell in each hand.

Standing Reverse Fly

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees. With straight arms, hold the resistance band in front of you with your hands slightly lower than your shoulders.
  2. Pull your abs in tight as you open your arms out to the sides, focusing on the shoulder blades squeezing together. Slowly return your arms back to starting position.
  3. Do three sets of 12 to 15 rep

Back Extension on Stability Ball

  1. Place your torso on the ball and roll forward until you have both hands on the floor. Your legs should be straight behind you, toes on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your torso down with your hands behind your head — basically you are wrapping your upper body around the ball.
  3. Lift your torso up until you form a straight line with your hips and legs.
    Lower back down to complete one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 12 reps.

Shrug

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides, stand on the resistance band and hold an end in each hand.
  2. Start with your shoulders relaxed, and as you exhale, shrug them up toward your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds before relaxing your shoulders as you inhale.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.

Superman

  1. Lay belly down on the mat. Extend your arms above your head. Legs are straight.
  2. Lift your upper back and legs and hold for five seconds, squeezing your glutes. Lower back down.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.

This workout can easily be done at home or a gym.

You Know You’re in Marathon Training When…

You Know You're in Marathon Training When...  happyfitmama.com

Over the weekend, it occurred to me that I have developed marathon training brain. It’s all about running. All the time. Every day. Every minute. I know even when I’m not training for anything, I talk a lot about running. Running pops into my thoughts often. But on Saturday, it got a little out of hand. I was obsessed with the hour by hour forecast for my planned 20 miler. It’s a long story but the 20 miles didn’t happen because I got too wrapped up in the forecast. Gah! Anyway…I know I’m not alone. There are plenty of us who are “suffering” from this marvelous condition.

You know you’re in marathon training when…

You obsess over the weather forecast. Particularly your long run days. At any given time, you know the projected forecast for the next 5 days, including sunrise and sunset, chance of precipitation, windchill factor, and whether there’s even a remote possibility that a winter storm can blow through, dumping extra snow before your run.

You are really, really upset when the weather is going to be better the day AFTER your long run and you can’t rearrange your schedule.

You arrange your long run around the warmest part of the day in the winter/coolest in the summer. You delay getting started because even a slight degree in temperature change really does make a difference.

Sleeping in on the weekend is still 5 a.m.

All you can think about besides running is eating and sleeping.

You want to eat all the food.

Your skinny jeans are just a little bit skinnier around the quads and calves.

Marathon Training Run | happyfitmama.com

You arrange your schedule based on how many miles you have to run that day.

You wonder a lot…will this make me too sore for my run tomorrow?

You think 9 p.m. is staying up late.

You ponder your long run outfit more than your daily “real clothes.”

You want to know the details of the race course from every person who has run the race before.

You spend lots of quality time with a foam roller, The Stick, Lacrosse balls and other sports equipment for relief even though it hurts like hell.

You wear compression socks for recovery no matter if it’s 90 degrees and clashes with your cute skirt.

You wear compression socks under your “real” clothes.

You talk about your training in any and all conversations without even trying. People talking about the weather? You comment on how awful/wonderful it is to run in this. Plans for the weekend? Running, of course.

You have a training journal that you write in everyday. It’s like your diary from middle school years, full of all your hopes and dreams.

Believe I Am Journal | happyfitmama.com

You have a whole stash of GU, Honey Stingers, Huma Gel or whatever mid fuel run you love.

Your laundry basket is always full of sweaty workout gear.

You second guess yourself often - Why am I doing this?

You have a countdown calendar app to race day.

You want to talk about training plans and running with everyone. Oh wait, that happens even when you aren’t training for anything.

Your feet have more callouses than you can count but there’s no way you are getting a pedicure till after race day.

Your turn! You know you are in training for ______ when…

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls + Meal Planning

Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Pearls  happyfitmama.com

I seriously can not remember what it’s like to be warm. Everyday I’m freezing. I’m surrounding by feet upon feet of snow and temperatures that barely get out of the single digits.

But you know what I was craving yesterday for my whole entire long run (while I was freezing)?

Frozen yogurt.

Weird, huh? You’d think I’d be craving belly warming soup or comfort food like a fresh out of the oven bread.

Nope. Frozen yogurt.

Maybe it was because I had just received a delivery of Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls? You guys, these things are good. Like hide in the back of the freezer so no one else finds them good.

STonyfield Yogurt Pearls  happyfitmama.com

So what is a Frozen Yogurt Pearl? It’s scoops of frozen yogurt enveloped in edible skins using the innovative WikiPearl™ technology. The “pearl” is like the skin of a grape, that holds the delicious nonfat frozen yogurt. They don’t melt and don’t require a bowl or a spoon. Easy to share and are perfectly popable. Is that a word? If not, it should be.

There are four flavors (skin flavor is listed first) – Coconut Chocolate, Peach Vanilla, Strawberry Chocolate and Strawberry Vanilla. All are absolutely delicious. I loved the Peach Vanilla the best which surprised me since I’m all about the chocolate. Miss A loved the Coconut Chocolate. Mr. L loved Strawberry Vanilla. And Ron liked the Strawberry Chocolate best. There’s a flavor for everyone!

You can find Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls at Whole Foods across New England. You can find the nearest one to you HERE. Before you head to the store, print out a coupon – 2 for $6! Hopefully they will be expanding to other grocery stores in the future because this stuff is good. Really good.

It’s Sunday, so it’s meal planning day. What’s for dinner this week?

Sunday: Make your own pizza bar

Monday: Abundance Bowls w/ Almond Butter-Lemon Dressing

Tuesday: Salmon w/ roasted butternut squash and massaged kale

Wednesday: Make your own taco bar

Thursday: Sweet Scallops + “Fried” Veggie Quinoa

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: out

Favorite flavor of frozen yogurt?

What’s for dinner this week?

As a Stonyfield Yo-Getter, I was sent this product to review and share on my blog. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions, as always, are my own.