Okay… you could totally take this title and the image the wrong way, and I’m not even a JT fan – but trust me ladies this one is for you! Grafting for a toned and strong back is empowering and will give you a brand new sense of confidence that will quite literally bring sexy back – in more ways than one.
But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just about looking sexy, it’s not just about getting ‘ripped’, or even just about gaining confidence in your body – it’s about learning how to use your body to the best of its capabilities, how to utilise its strength for functional purposes, and how to keep your beautiful body on this earth for as long as you possibly can.
Before I tell you my 3 favourite exercises to sculpt, strengthen, and tone your back I’d like to tell you a little about the muscles that inhabit it. Your back contains over a whopping 56 muscles, in fact I kinda lost count, which fall into three different layers – a sort of immediate layer, a secondary layer, and then a very deep layer underneath all of that. All of these muscles work together to keep you stood upright and to help you to perform any pushing, pulling, and lifting movements. Think of some every day actions that you do and guaranteed a stronger back will make them a million times easier; picking the baby up, carrying your shopping to the car, running, opening the door – pretty much everything you do.
Now imagine getting older and losing those basic functions that give you your independence – exercise should always first and foremost be utilised to keep that same independence alive – getting all ripped and sexy is just a bonus. It’s all about the functional fitness baby (not the Benjamin’s)!
Lash Those Lats and Train Those Trapz…
1. Pull-up/Chin-up Negatives
Okay if you watch my Instagram feed you’ll know that I am a huge advocate of doing pull-ups, I do know however that not all women are quite there with me yet so I wanted to start you off on a little pull-up journey of your own. Pull-up negatives use your lats, better known as your latissimus dorsi, which are the muscles at the sides of your backs that look a little like wings, pull-up negatives also use your upper back muscles known as your trapezius. Working your lats will help to get rid of that annoying bra bulge that you can get at the sides when you have a little back fat so just think of that when you’re shaking like a B****.
To execute simply:
- Jump to a flexed arm hang position (the top of a pull-up) on a pull-up bar, keep your elbows in tight by your side, your chin over the bar. If jumping is a little too hard for you then simply use a stool to get you into position.
- Slowly lower yourself down as controlled and as slowly as you possibly can go until your arms are fully extended in what we call the ‘dead hang’ position.
- Repeat 3-5 reps for 3 sets.
To make the exercise harder move your grip further apart – the wider your grip the more it will work your lats.
Yup I wrote a whole post on how to get your first push-up so I expect that by now you are all fully fledged push-up experts that can show me a thing or two. Push-ups use your pectoral muscles mainly which will work better than any push up bra but they also work your deltoids (shoulder muscles), rhomboids (upper back muscles below your trapz), trapezius, and triceps (back of your upper arms) so you’ll get a super awesome all round workout.
- Start by placing your hands a little more than shoulder width apart and take a straight armed plank stance. Be sure to keep your back in line and parallel to the floor and not arched. You can do this by drawing your belly button into your spine engaging your abdominal muslces and tightening your buttocks and thighs. If you can’t do a full push-up then do a modified on version on your knees or by placing your hands at a suitable height on the wall.
- Slowly lower your chest to the floor remaining in that tight position the whole time.
- Push yourself back up to your starting position and repeat for 10 reps of 3 sets
Upgrade: Find this too easy? Elevate your feet, swap around your hand position, slowly perform the negative (lowering to the floor), or even try adding a weight plate on your back.
3. Dorsal Raises
Dorsal raises use the muscles in your lower back – they give you that sexy shadow along your spine that you can see in the photograph on the model above. These are super easy to do at home and you don’t really need any equipment – you can use a mat or just wear some trainers so that you don’t slide around on the floor.
- Lie on your stomach and place your hands on your temples. Anchor your feet tightly into the floor.
- Using only the muscles in your lower back slowly raise your chest and stomach from off the floor, hold for a couple of seconds, and slowly lower yourself back down.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.
Upgrade: Perform Superman dorsal raises by placing your arms in front of you and lifting them at the same time as your legs.
So there you have it – 3 Ways to Bring That Sexy Back! Why not try these 3 simples exercises a few times a week and share your experience using the comments box below!