When he isn’t on the court or posting his new car purchases to Instagram, Australian NBA star Ben Simmons can be found in the gym improving his strength and agility.
The Philadelphia 76ers point guard recently posted some images of himself in the gym performing a shoulder exercise that could have benefits for the back, too. With his right hand gripping a handle and right leg slightly bent, Ben pulls up and across his body while simultaneously bringing his right leg slightly forward. It’s an incredibly simple move that you can easily mirror in the gym.
While this exercise primarily works the shoulder, it is also a great move to help one practice maintaining core stability – something essential for a healthy lumbar. Simmons also has a trainer on hand, holding his lower back, ensuring he’s carrying out the move effectively to work the muscular region.
The back is one of the most important areas of the body, but also one of the most common areas to be susceptible to pain. Regularly working the area (and those around it), under the guidance of a trainer, is important to prevent pain, with both weight training and stretches important parts of any gym routine.
For those that want to go beyond just stabilising their core, personal trainer Peter O’Reilly gives a marrow-biting back workout on his Instagram page, outlining the various muscle groups that can all be targeted with specific exercises. He says the deadlift is the king of all exercises as it works virtually the entire body. Just make sure you enlist the help of a trainer to get the technique right before attempting.
Lat pulldowns are another effective back exercise and a favourite of many gym-goers. The lats are the muscle at the back of your ribs, just under the armpit. Big lats can give the impression of a smaller waist. Pull-ups and barbell rows are other exercises you can do to strengthen this area.
The traps are the biggest muscle group of the back, extending from the top to the bottom. Deadlifts and barbell rows are once again key moves here, but you can add in dumbbell shrugs and farmers walks to ensure you have a strong spinal region. If you want to specifically target the lower back, PT Pete suggests performing back extensions, whereby you use a Roman chair to keep your feet locked in one place while you lift your torso up and down.
You can continue to minimise back pain out of the gym too, by placing a pillow underneath your hips if you sleep on your side, or placing a rolled-up towel behind your back when you’re sitting down to ensure you preserve the natural curvature of the spine.