4 Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

3 09 2011

By Jen Ator
Women’s Health

These moves will turn your flip side into the sexy center of attention, plus they’ll banish pain and improve your posture.

A toned back isn’t just a must-have accessory when you’re rocking a backless dress—it can be one of your body’s most valuable assets. “Your back is involved in everything you do, from running to lugging groceries, so strengthening it is crucial to improving fitness and preventing injury,” says Lacey Stone, owner of Lacey Stone Fitness in New York City. “It’s also the key to better posture, which gives you a confident look no matter what you’re wearing.” What’s more, working the muscles from your shoulders to hips can help ease (or stave off) back pain: A study found that adults with chronic backaches felt significantly less pain after a 16-week strength-training program.

Get in top shape with this fat-blasting workout from Biggest Loser personal trainer Bob Harper.

Stone’s workout targets your entire upper and lower back, core, hips, and glutes. Do it two or three times a week (three sets of each exercise, working up to 12 reps per set) to improve your posture, prevent aches and pains, and achieve a strong, defined rear view.

Four Rear-View Moves

1. Pullup

Grab the pullup bar of an assisted pullup machine, palms facing forward, and hang at arm’s length, knees bent and feet crossed behind you (a). Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your chest to the bar (b), then slowly lower back to start. That’s one rep.

2. Pushup-Position Row

Get into a pushup position with your hands resting on dumbbells and your feet slightly more than hip-width apart (a). Brace your abs as you pull one dumbbell toward the side of your rib cage (b). Pause, lower the weight, then repeat with the other arm. That’s one rep.

The perfect pushup: Few exercises are more effective than this old-school exercise.

3. Superwoman

Lie facedown with your legs straight and arms overhead; draw your belly button toward your spine to tighten your abs (a). Contract your glutes, then slowly raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor (b). Hold this pose for five seconds, then lower to start. That’s one rep.

4. Lat Pulldown

Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grab the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip, arms straight and torso upright (a). Without moving your torso, pull the bar down to your chest as you squeeze your shoulder blades together (b). Pause, then slowly return to start. That’s one rep.

Lose your fear of lifting and build the perfect summer body.




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