Before jumping into a back workout, prepare by doing a proper warmup. The first priority in your warmup should be to raise your body temperature and get a sweat going if you can. The second priority is to stretch your muscles and bring your joints through a large range of motion. Dynamic stretching is the best form of warmup because it accomplishes both things.
Dynamic stretching is a type of warm-up where you stretch while moving. It's a middle ground between static stretching, where you hold a stretch, and ballistic stretching, where you move aggressively. Use dynamic stretching before any workout or sport; it even helps improve your performance more than static stretching, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Read More: Dynamic Shoulder Stretches
Warming up your back requires you to warm up the muscles as well as the joints, particularly your spine. It's important to use different movements to warm up your spine, such as forward and backward bending and rotation. The spine is made to move in different ways, which is why you need different movements to warm it up.
The back muscles that run parallel along your spine, like the multifidus and erector spinae, can be stretched out by doing a forwards and backwards bending motion like the toe touch. The latissimus dorsi, or the lats, are the big muscle that runs along the side of your back, and can be stretched by using a few different shoulder movements.
Read More: Stretches for the Latissimus Dorsi
Toe Touch Overhead Reach
Take your spine through a full range of motion with this fast-paced version of the toe touch.
How To: Stand tall with your arms by your waist. Bend down to touch your toes and stick your butt back. Go as far down as possible with your knees straight, then stand up tall and reach your arms up overhead and bend back slightly.
This exercise combines rotation of your spine with a slight forward bend.
How To: Stand tall with your hands behind your head. Raise your right knee and twist your upper body to touch your left elbow to the right knee, then stand up tall and switch sides.
World's Greatest Stretch
Use this stretch to not only loosen up your back, but to open up your hips and shoulders as well.
How To: From a standing position, lunge forward with your right foot. Drop your left knee down and plant your left hand next to your right foot. Raise your right arm towards the ceiling and turn to the right. Stand back up and switch sides.
Dynamic Lat Stretch
This exercise stretches out your latissimus dorsi, one of the largest muscles in your upper body.
How To: Attach a resistance band slightly higher than shoulder height to a fixed object. Grab the band with one hand and step back so that your arm is straight. Stick your butt back and lean over, maintaining a flat spine and straight arm. Turn your upper body towards the arm holding the band and look under it.
Gravity helps you stretch your back out in this exercise.
How To: Hold onto a pull-up bar and hang with your feet off of the ground and your arms straight. Relax and let your shoulders rise up. Then, pull yourself up slightly while keeping your arms straight by pulling your shoulder blades down into your back. Then, relax and let your shoulders stretch.