5 Exercises for a Sexy Back
You asked for it, so we’re bringin’ it! Sexy backs are, well, SEXY. Not only do they look good, they are FUNCTIONAL. Your back muscles are some of the biggest in your body, and they are responsible for so much of your movement - from your neck, right down to your hips and legs. A strong back will improve your posture and, in turn, you’ll be able to breath better. SERIOUSLY. When your back is strong and you can naturally stand up straight, more oxygen can flow through your body when you’re upright. The more oxygen you can circulate, the less tired you’ll feel throughout the day. A strong back will also aid in preventing back pain (especially for those who sit for extended periods of time), and it will improve your performance. Flexible, athletic back muscles help your body to twist, turn, lift, and move through complex movements more efficiently. While most people focus on arm, leg, and core muscles, we think that your back is one of the most important areas to work out. Hitting up a REBEL class will help you work those back muscles, and so will these 5 exercises that you can do at home*! BRIDGE This one is super simple, which makes it a good one to start with. The bridge is fantastic for strengthening your lower back, and you really don’t need anything at all - though a yoga mat helps for comfort. Here’s how you do it: Lay on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze the muscles in your butt and lower back and lift your pelvis up towards the ceiling. Hold 3–5 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 20 reps A tip: Want to make this one a bit harder? DO IT ON ONE LEG. The single leg bridge is essentially the same movement, except that you’re only using one leg to lift towards the ceiling. Make sure your hips stay level as you lift! LAT PULLOVER This is a full upper-body movement that works your lats - which are often neglected by women! Your lats are responsible for arm and shoulder flexibility, so keeping them toned will improve functionality in your upper body. Grab some weights (start light and work up), and do this: Lie on your back on the floor, feet flat, knees bent. Hold a weight in both hands or a weight in each hand over your chest, arms straight up (you want the weights to be inline with your nipples). Lower the weights straight back behind your head until your arms are in line with your torso and parallel to the floor. The weights should never touch the ground! Hover just above, while keeping your muscles engaged. Keeping your arms straight - but not locked - pull your arms to the starting position over your chest. As you’re pulling up to starting position, think about engaging your lat muscles. Do 1 - 2 sets of 15 repetitions each. A tip: Keep your lower back pressed into the ground while performing this exercise - it will help to engage your core and help to protect your lower back. BACK EXTENSIONS You do yoga? This exercise will sounds familiar - it’s also called prone cobra! This movement helps to strengthen your lower back and engages your core. All you need is your yoga mat. Lie face-down on your mat, arms straight by your sides, palms up, forehead facing the floor. The tops of your feet should be flat against the floor Slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor, lifting your arms, squeezing your shoulder blades together and hold for five seconds. Lower to start position and do 1 - 2 sets of 15 repetitions each. SUPERMAN You wanna look like Superman?! Well this exercise won’t do that for you, but it will make you look like you’re flying :). And, it will engage all of those back muscles + shoulders + glutes, to help tighten, tone, and strengthen. Lie facedown with your chin on the ground Your ankles should be touching each other, with your toes pointed under you. Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground. Your arms and legs should remain fully engaged so that your hands and feet are elevated at all times Hold this position while fully engaging your body to “fly” like the man of steel. Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets. DOLPHIN KICK We saved the hardest one for last! Yes, it’s tough. Yes, it’s going to hurt. And yes, it will kick your ass. The payoff will be worth it though! You will, quite literally, engage every muscle in your body to help with the coordination. Your core - including your lower back - is where you’ll see results. Read through the instructions thoroughly before attempting! Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench. Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support. Straighten out your legs while raising them up while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your lower back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement. Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging nearly every muscle in your body, before dropping the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps. DON’T LET THOSE TOES TOUCH THE GROUND! Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. * It should be noted that the language used implies that you have a basic understanding of these exercise terms and what they refer to. Please don’t try these at home if you aren’t sure about correct form!