If you’re looking for a show-off-worthy back, don’t make the common mistake of exercising just your “mirror” muscles – the biceps, chest and abs. To create a shapely rear view and a sexy profile, you need to include exercises that target the rear shoulder and back. (They’re also great for combating slouchy posture.)
Add these three back-sculpting exercises to your workout, and watch heads turn when you leave a room.
1. Stability ball breast-stroke
Lie face down on a stability ball with your navel on the top of the ball and your feet anchored to the base of a wall. Place your torso parallel to the floor, with your neck in a neutral position, and reach your arms overhead. On an inhale, pull your elbows out and back and lift your chest to a vertical position mimicking a breast-stroke action. Exhale as you return to the start position. Keep your legs and head still throughout the exercise. Try two sets of 10 repetitions.
2. Standing row
Attach an exercise band securely to a doorknob, or wrap it around a pillar. With one hand on either end, extend your arms in front of you, keeping the band taut. Drive your elbows back and pull your hands to your hips squeezing your shoulder blades together, then return to the start position. Keep your legs and torso still. For extra challenge, squat your hips down and back as your elbows pull back, and stand up as the arms return to the start position. For even more challenge, as you stand up from the squat lift one leg to the side, a few inches off the ground with the knee pointing forward. Try two sets of 10 repetitions.
3. Ball rollouts
Kneel with your bum on your heels in front of a stability ball, and place your forearms on the ball surface closest to you. Keeping your arms in place, roll the ball forward until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Contract your abs and pull your elbows back to return to the start position. Try two sets of 10 repetitions.
Barb Gormley is a certified personal trainer and a freelance health and fitness writer. You can contact her at www.barbgormley.com.