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With so much focus on toning our butts and abs, one of the largest and most important muscles in your body can get neglected — your back. A strong and toned back will help with your posture and help prevent back pain. Not to mention it will look amazing in a backless dress! ELLE Canada asked kinesiologist Ryan Lee of One to One Wellness Centre in Halifax for tips on how to get a sexy, toned back. Here are some easy back exercises to help you get toned and sexy — move over Justin Timberlake — we’re bringing sexy back!
All exercises should be performed on machines to maximize focus, safety and isolation (except shrugs). Do one set each in 8-12 slow, controlled, deliberate reps, with the last being impossible. Most gyms will have machines with the same title as the exercises mentioned.
Lat Pulldown: Sit on the seat with your thighs under padded supports.
Grasp the bar with thumbs facing inwards and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Pull bar down until it almost touches the top of your chest. Pause, and return bar to starting position with arms fully extended. Movement should be slow and deliberate, making sure not to sway your torso.
Standing Shoulder Shrugs: Stand straight up holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing inwards. Keeping dumbbells “hanging”, shrug your shoulders up as high as possible. Think ears to shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement, then lower dumbbells back down. There is no need to roll your shoulders.
Machine Row: Position chest pad so that it is firmly against your chest when your arms are fully outstretched holding the handles. Adjust the seat height so that the chest pad sits right in the middle of your chest. Grasp the handles and pull them straight back keeping your elbows tucked into your sides. Pause, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
Overhead Press: Sit on the machine and adjust the seat height so that the handles arm at approximate shoulder height. Keeping your back flat against the backrest, push the weight straight up. Lower the weight slowly back down. Be sure not to lock your elbows at the top of the movement, and move slowly and deliberately.
Lower Back Machine Extensions: Sit on the lower back machine and push your butt right back into the seat. The padding should be resting on your shoulder blades. Keeping your lower body fixed and rotating at the hips, extend your back fully. Pause, then lower the weight back to the starting position.