Love (And Sculpt!) Your Back
There’s nothing that says strong and sexy like a toned back. Those gorgeous lines that shape and define your upper body make you look amazing and FEEL confident. Your strong back supports all of your movements, keeps you standing tall, protects your spine, and allows you to stretch your limbs in every direction. Plus, that sexy sculpted back will drop jaws when you slip on a backless dress! 😉
This Series is all about the tools to help you feel your absolute best. You deserve to be happy and proud of yourself every single day ~ and as you understand the beautiful complexities of your body, you’ll love it even more!
Understand Your Back
Your back is powerful and strong! Most of us spend the day sitting at a desk (we do it too!), so it’s extra important to understand how our back muscles work and how we can show them love through stretching and conditioning. Your upper back has MANY muscles, each one providing a different movement for your body. The main ones that we’re going to focus on today are your trapezius (traps), rhomboids, and your latissimus dorsi (lats). Your deltoids are sometimes considered part of the back. You can check out more information on them HERE.
Your traps are complex muscles that consist of three different muscle fibers: the lower, middle, and upper trapezius fibers. They extend all the way from your neck to your low ribs, allowing you to move your neck, shrug your shoulders, and do any movement involving your scapulae (aka shoulder blades).
You rhomboids are two muscles that connect your spine to your shoulder blades ~ they are the rhomboideus major and rhomboideus minor. These muscles are responsible for actions that pull your shoulder blades together and they’re incredibly useful postural muscles…so strengthening them is SO important.
Your lats are one of the widest muscles in your body. They’re important players in movements like pull-ups, swimming, and motions that involve pulling your arms into your body (aka adduction). Toning and caring for your lats is crucial, because injury to them can aggravate the entire anatomy of your back.
Tone Your Back
Strengthening your back gives you incredible posture and soothes any aches or discomfort. We’re sharing a few of our favorite back muscle isolating moves that will give you major toning results! When sculpting your back, maintain a slight bend in your elbows ~ this way you’ll avoid injury to your shoulders and neck.
You can add these moves to your upper body workout routine 2-3 times a week! 3 rounds, 15 reps per move.
For this trap-toning move, use a set of light weights to protect your shoulder joint. Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, holding the dumbbells in front of your hips and maintaining a slight bend in your knees. With your core engaged, pull your hands to your chest while keeping your elbows bent and straight out to your sides. With control, lower your dumbbells back down in front of your hips.
Pro Tip: As you perform your upright row, make sure to keep your shoulders down!
Single Arm Row
This move sculpts your rhomboids! Start in a lunge, resting your elbow on the knee that’s bent and holding a dumbbell in the other hand. With your core engaged and chest lifted, pull your dumbbell by your side to your waistline, bending at your elbow. With control, slowly lower your dumbbell to starting position.
Pro Tip: As you perform the row, keep your shoulders square so you isolate the toning to your back muscles!
This move can be done laying on a ball with a dumbbell or using a cable at the gym. If you’re using a dumbbell and a ball, start by laying with your back on the ball and your feet in front of you, creating a 90-degree bend in your knees. With your dumbbell in both hands, begin with your arms above your head, maintaining a slight bend at the elbow. Pull the weight and lift it directly in front of your chest. Slowly lower back to starting position.
Pro Tip: For this move, make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and your core engaged to stabilize yourself on the ball.
LOVE Your Back
Loving your back means strengthening and stretching to promote longevity and flexibility. Throughout the day, take time to notice your posture. This will strengthen the muscles in your back and prevent you from injuring your neck and spine. Plus, over time muscle memory will train your body to naturally assume a tall, lifted position. After lots of toning, your back will feel the work! Give your body some love with a foam rolling routine. It’s like a mini-massage! 💆🏼