Insert stereotypical lawyer joke here... if you dare...
The "back" storyWhere I work, there's a break room with a filtered water dispenser. They call it a "water cooler," though the water's not all that cool. Still, the guy comes and delivers huge clear plastic jugs that weigh ... well, a lot. People wander in to the break room and fill up their tea cups or water bottles and wander off to pretend to work. As the day progresses, the amount of water available gets lower and lower until it's gone. It's like some kind of lottery, to see who's going to be the one faced with the empty water bottle.
If you lose the water cooler lottery, you have to replace the jug of water with a full one. Full ones are heavy. They are also on the floor.
To replace the empty water jug, you have to pick up a full one and then, while holding it at waist level, rotate the heavy jug 180 degrees and place it on a pedestal. I tried doing this once, long ago. The lifting-the-heavy-jug-from-the-floor part went fine. When I tried to rotate the jug, which involves the use of my arms, my back convinced me it was a very bad idea. I figured it was because I was a wimp. So, I played the feminine card, waiting until someone of the male persuasion walked by and batting my eyelashes plaintively until he replaced the water jug for me.
The moment of truth
That worked fine until one day when I was waiting for a handy man to walk past, and this tiny female co-worker walked into the break room. "Oh, is the water out?" she asked, and quickly upended a full jug and put it in place.
Now, not only is this woman several inches shorter than my 5'3, she compounds this offense by being very nice, very thin, very fine-boned and several months pregnant. I was put in my place, but good. (Not by the very nice co-worker, by my conscience.) It was time to find some exercise that would strengthen my back.
Push ups don't strengthen the back
Fast forward a few months. I've completed the 100 push up challenge, albeit in the modified 'girly' form. (Hey, I do what I can do.) And lo, there came a day when the water jug was completely empty, as was the break room. "Hell," I told myself. "I can lift this body 100 times with my arms; I can raise this water jug. So I did. And my back complained for several days afterward.
So what can I do to strengthen my back?
The 200 sit up challenge would strength the muscles around the waist/abdomen area, but what hurts is higher up, above the waist where the ribs start. What challenge would help with that?
The back says "Ow!" right where the polka dots meet the skin :(
I've looked at weight lifting sites. I even looked at the Body for Life book. Got kinda scared. I mean, all the people who take the Body for Life 12 Week challenge do end up fitter by the end, but they also seem inexplicably to become very blond and tan -- to the point of being orange. That scares me. People may laugh, but Tanorexia is becoming prevalent among the celebrity set these days. And where the celebs lead, people follow. I'm expecting next to open a magazine and read that the new trend is... orange babies...
Are there any exercises out there that are specifically designed to strengthen the part of the back that's just above the waist?
If so, could someone share them with me? Without charging $24.99 a month in three easy installments?