Trainer and Nutrition Coach to the stars Kendra Coppey of Barefoot Tiger gives us tips on how to make sure our back looks strong and sexy. Get on this program now and you’ll be giving good ass-ets come Summer!
The vision of a strong and beautifully sculpted back makes us purr like kittens, and when it’s on our own body, it’s even sexier! Here are some great tips for making your back strong and sexy, and for keeping it healthy too. Oh, and Ladies, did we mention that a strong back makes your boobs look bigger? Sayonara A-Cups!
Our back muscles get shafted every day and lose our attention to our overused chest muscles that we flex so often. It doesn’t help that we can’t see them when we look in the mirror either, and that we use our chest muscles all day long. Driving to work or holding on to a subway pole, sitting at a computer, eating lunch, watching a movie – all chest all the time (as much as we love them, we gotta love our backsides too).
What to do?? Fret not lovely dove, here are some really simple exercises you can do just about anywhere to strengthen your back, and a few to do in the gym with equipment.
Rotator cuff pulls – hold a light resistance band or thera-band in your hands (palms up), with your elbows pinned to your waist, wrists shoulder distance apart. Pull your shoulder blades together on your back as you pull your hands away from each other, keeping your forearms at a 90 degree angle with your upper arm. Complete 3 sets of 15 each, holding the last rep for 5 breaths. And don’t cheat by lifting your shoulders! After a few reps you should start to feel a burn in the back of your upper arms (infraspinatus for all you anatomy geeks out there).
Pull backs – with a medium to heavy weight resistance band or thera-band wrapped around something sturdy, hold one end of the band in each hand with your arms extended in front of you. Bending at your elbows, pull your arms back so your wrists reach your waist, squeezing the shoulder blades together and elbows in. Imagine squeezing a sponge between your shoulder blades each time you pull back. Complete 3 sets of 20 reps.
Shoulder blade push-ups – come into a plank position on your forearms, legs either off the floor or knees for a slightly modified version. Dip your chest toward the floor to create a little valley between your shoulder blades, then press up to fill up the space between the shoulder blades. It’s a small motion but you’ll definitely feel it after a few reps! Start with sets of 10 and work up to 3 sets of 15.
Lat pulls – at the lat pull machine, grab the bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Keeping the shoulders down (make sure they’re really down!!), pull the bar toward your chest, pulling your chest toward the bar at the same time. Tip: Keep your elbows in line with your body to make sure your shoulders don’t roll forward. You want to focus on ‘pasting’ the shoulder blades to the rib cage as you pull.
Lat pulls version 2! – at the lat pull machine, grab the bar with an underhand grip this time, shoulder distance apart. Again keeping the shoulders down, pull the elbows by the waist, pulling the bar to meet the chest and chest to the bar. For this exercise and the one above, go for 2 sets of 8-12 reps, at a weight that lets you pull through the entire range of motion but brings you to fatigue at rep 12. If you feel it too much in the forearms, lighten the weight – no need for massive popeye arms in your hot cocktail dress, but a hot back will turn some heads!
Seated rows – at the cables or on a row machine, grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull the bar back toward your stomach. Keep your elbows pinned by your waist and shoulder blades down as you pull back. Complete 2 sets of 8-12, again pulling with a weight that lets you pull through the entire range of motion.
Kendra Coppey is the Founder of Barefoot Tiger (www.barefoottiger.com), an in-home personal training, yoga, nutrition and massage therapy company in New York, New Jersey and coming soon to Philadelphia. She is a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and nutrition coach, and is infatuated with all things sweet…including her two rescued kitties Emma and Sabrina!