Ladies, bring sexy back and banish annoying bra bulge and back fat for good with these key moves.
The area between the armpits and chest tends to get neglected, resulting in the pesky bulge that appears around a bra, bathing suit, or tank top. The following exercises will not only help tone your back muscles, but prevent injuries and pain as well.
The main muscles worked in this routine are:
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- Teres major: Helps to rotate the humerus (or the upper arm) in towards the body, and adduct, or bring the arm in, towards the body when they’re out in a “T” shape
- Teres minor: It opposes the Teres major by laterally rotating the humerus away from the body, and also helps to assist the Teres major in adducting the arm in towards the body.
- Latissimus dorsi: The largest of the three muscles, and the most well-known, the lats are responsible for extending, adducting, and rotating the arms along with the Teres minor and major.
These muscles are also so important for improving your posture. Strengthening these muscles will help to keep you from slouching your shoulders forward and will allow you stand tall and confident—an added bonus in that dress!
Workout to Blast Back Fat
Add these exercises to your workout routine 2-3 times per week and you will feel stronger in no time! Perform each exercise for 15 repetitions, and complete 3-4 sets per workout.
Hold a heavier dumbbell (15-20 pounds is a great starting point) and lie over a stability ball or on a bench. Make sure your head and shoulders are on the ball (or bench), as shown above. Lift the dumbbell straight up to the ceiling, holding it by each end. Engage the abdominals as you extend the arms overhead and back behind you, as if you were hinging from your shoulders. Make sure you don’t arch the back and keep the abs tight. Use the back of the shoulders, right where your bra line is, to pull the weight back up, directly over your chest.
Resistance Band Pulls
Choke up onto the tubing of a resistance band so that there is resistance when your arms are shoulder width apart. Bring your arms to shoulder height and relax the shoulders down your back. Begin by squeezing the shoulder blades together as you pull the arms out to the side in a “T” position. With control, bring the arms back to shoulder width.
Using a mat, start in a plank position on your elbows, with your palms flat on the floor and your forearms parallel to each other. Your shoulders should be directly over your elbows and your abs should be tight. Engage the abs even more to lift the hips up and shift the shoulders back, and lower the heels towards the floor. It should almost be as if you were in downward facing dog, as in yoga, only on your elbows. Use the shoulders and abs to shift the weight forward into your plank position, making sure you don’t lower the hips too much.
Rear Delt Flys
Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart and holding dumbbells with your palms facing in towards each other. Keep your back straight as you hinge from your hips and lower your torso so that it is parallel to the floor. Rotate your arms so that your palms are facing in, and slightly bend your elbows, as if you were hugging a giant stability ball. Keep the arms rounded as you squeeze your shoulder blades together to raise the arms out to the sides, and control to lower the arms back down. Make sure to keep the neck and shoulders relaxed as you raise the arms.
Starting from your bend-over position, and keeping your back straight, bring your arms down straight, shoulder-width apart, this time with your palms facing towards you. Engage your upper back muscles and lead with your elbows as you pull the weights up into a wide row, with a 90-degree bend in the elbows. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades at the top and use control as you lower the weights back down.
Similar to the wide rows shown above, start in that bend-over position with the back straight. Turn your palms in this time and complete another row, only this time keep the arms close in by your sides, bringing the weights up by your shoulders. Make sure you squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top and keep your neck relaxed. Lower back down and relax, always making sure to keep the back straight and abs engaged.
It’s also important to remember that while you can spot strengthen, you can’t “spot reduce” areas on your body. This makes adding cardiovascular exercise into your weekly routine equally important. Luckily there are some really great cardiovascular exercises that specifically target your back muscles.
Some of the best exercises that strengthen and tone your back and also get your heart pumping are boxing and rowing, both of which burn tons of calories to burn fat and sculpt those upper back muscles at the same time.
Two other great cardio equipment options are called the ergometer and rope pulling machines. You may have seen both in your gym. The ergometer sort of looks like bike pedals for your hands, and the best way to use them are standing up for more of a challenge. And the rope pulling machine has tons of different exercises you can do on just one machine. We suggest asking a trainer at your gym how to use both and try something new after your strengthening routine above!
(Your Next Workout: 5 Dumbbell Exercises that Burn Fat)