Ways to Tone Your Back

Bench Presses. Pushups. Crunches galore. You do plenty to tone the front side of your torso. You may even spend hours trying to flatten your stomach and sculpt your ab and chest muscles.

 

But there are two sides to your torso! And you definitely don’t want to forget about your back. In addition to helping you look good from every angle, a strong and toned back leads to better posture, injury prevention, improved mobility, and increased respiratory function.

 

Ready to redefine your other side? Check out these tried and true ways of toning your back:

 

• The Bridge. Perfect for relieving mid-day “I’ve been sitting in my office chair too long” back pain, The Bridge is one exercise that you can do pretty much anywhere. Just lay on your back with your arms at your sides, your knees bent, and your feet planted on the floor at about hip-distance apart. Squeeze your buttocks muscles and raise your hips off the floor until your torso and thighs form a straight diagonal line. Hold for two seconds and then slowly lower. Go for 10-12 reps at a time.

 

• Chin-ups. Target your lats and teres muscles by doing chin-up reps to tone your upper back. Try using a regular chin-up bar if you’re able to lift your own body weight. If not, then opt for an assisted chin-up machine. You can hold the bar with your palms facing towards your body or away – either way, your back will get a good workout!

 

• Shrugs. Hold a dumbbell weight in each hand and slowly shrug your shoulders as high as they can go. This exercise works the trapezius muscle and can be adapted depending on your ability level – just change the dumbbell weight according to your strength.

 

• Rows. You can do rows with a cable row machine or with dumbbells. There are a variety of cable row machines that work different back muscle groups. When using the machine, be sure to keep your torso still and avoid swaying. If you’re using dumbbells then stand on the right side of a workout bench and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Bend forward from your waist and rest your left hand on the bench. Slowly lift your right arm until the weight is level with your waist. Hold for two seconds and then slowly lower. Repeat as necessary and focus on lifting with your back muscles rather than just your arm muscles.

 

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