The four best exercises to tone and strengthen your back

10-minute workout: Eliminate everyday stiffness, perfect your posture and look slimmer instantly with these targeted moves

Text by Alanna Glassman; Consulting trainer Kathleen Trotter; Exercise photos by Roberto Caruso 2
Strong back muscles

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The plan: Do these four moves three times a week, and you’ll see more definition in a month or less. For faster results, add 20 minutes of cardio.

You need: Hand weights

  • 1. Superwoman
    Lie down on stomach with arms and legs extended. Contract upper and lower back muscles as you lift arms and legs off ground. Hold for 3 counts, then return to start, making sure to engage abs. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

    Perfect your form: Keep your head in line with your spine.
    Dial it down: Lift one arm and opposite leg into a half superwoman. Alternate sides.
    Amp it up: Hold each rep for 5 counts.

    Superwoman back workout

    1. Superwoman

  • 2. Side plank
    Start in tabletop, holding weights, with shoulders stacked above wrists. Place right hand on floor and rise up onto toes. Raise left arm to the side. Hold for 3 counts. Alternate sides. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

    Perfect your form: Keep hip in line with the shoulder of your raised arm.
    Dial it down: Ditch the weights.
    Amp it up: Do a push-up before lifting weight.

    Side plank exercise

    2. Side plank

  • 3. Airplane lunge
    Lower into a deep runner’s lunge, keeping front knee in line with ankle. Hold for 2 counts. With torso glued to thigh, raise hands to sides. Hold for 3 counts. Alternate sides. Do 10 reps.

    Perfect your form: Keep back flat as you bring your upper body forward.
    Dial it down: Perform the move from a modified lunge, with back knee on ground.
    Amp it up: Do 10 mini pulses with arms between reps.

    Airplane lunge exercise

    3. Airplane lunge

  • 4. Lawn mower
    Begin in a squat, holding one weight at hip and the other by your opposite foot. Pull bottom weight up (as if starting a mower) as you stand up. Repeat on opposite side. Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

    Perfect your form: Move slowly with control to tone hard-to-reach muscles.
    Dial it down: Do fewer reps.
    Amp it up: Lower butt toward ground or widen stance into sumo squat. Hold for 2 counts before standing.

    Lawn mower exercise

    4. Lawn mower

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2 comments on “The four best exercises to tone and strengthen your back

  1. Pingback: How to plan for extra exercise - Chatelaine.com

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