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Aside from looking good, strong back muscles are important for maintaining good posture and vice versa. Meaning: Good posture equals a strong healthy back, and a strong back contributes to good posture. Slouching over stretches the muscles, making them work harder during the day. Since overworked muscles fatigue and often spasm, keeping your muscles at their proper working length and strength will prevent this. (Again, assuming you pay attention to your posture.)

Here are three other reasons to train your back:

> Strong upper back muscles allow you to maintain an erect sitting posture without fatigue. Slouching, a bad habit that accounts for untold amounts of chronic back pain, puts these muscles in an overstretched position. This weakens them and leads to muscle spasms, headaches, and backaches.

> Strong lats can help you scale that rock wall or give you more power while on the rowing machine, in a swimming pool, or while you paddle a canoe or kayak.

> Strong upper back muscles prevent muscle strength imbalances and protect the shoulder, especially in sports where emphasis is placed on the anterior shoulders and pectoralis muscles like swimming, tennis, and pitching.

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How To Win Your War Against Back Pain

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