Of the weight lifting routines that make the most noticable difference, working your back gives you a sexy rear view, and shows off your fitness level! The other benefit is that a strong back perfects your posture, making your stomach look flatter. All you need are a few exercises:
The latissimus dorsi, or lats, are the largest muscle in the back. These should be worked in combination with the trapezius muscles to create the most significant muscular definition. You will also be working secondary muscles with these 3 exercises, creating a sleek back.
- Pull-ups: Most women find completing many, if any, pull-ups on their own, to be an extreme challenge. Using an assisted pull up machine, load at least half to 2/3 your body weight on the weight stack. You should be lifting heavy enough weight that you struggle to complete 8 reps. Complete 8, or as many reps as you can, then drop the weight to complete 15 reps. Drop setting will allow you to push forward and build muscle, rather than 15 easy reps, or only 8 tough ones. This is the perfect balance of difficulty.
- Bent over row: Hold a weighted bar in your hands, palms facing out, at your thighs. Spread feet to hip width apart, bend knees slightly and bend at the hip, keeping shoulders back and butt out. Hang arms directly down from shoulders, and row, squeezeing shoulder blades as you raise the bar up.
- Single arm row: Get a heavy dumbbell, about 15 lbs. You can probably do more here than you'd think! Put your right knee and right hand on a bench, and hang dumbbell straight down from left shoulder. Keep back straight...don't hunch, as you bring the weight back in a slight arc. Pull your elbow back to your waist, squeezing shoulders as you lift.
Working the lower back helps to improve posture, keep your abs in, and gets rid of overhang on your jeans.
- Hyperextentions: Lay on a balance ball, with the ball under your hips and stomach. Keep feet flexed and stay on your toes. Place hands behind head, with your fingers behind your ears. Rise up from the hips, keeping back straight. When you get just past the point of a straight line with your body, turn to the left, leading with your elbow as thought you were going to look behind you to your left. Lower back down and repeat turning to the right. That's one rep...do 15!
- Dead Lifts: The extra benefit with dead lifts are hamstring power, as well. Hold a weight bar or 20 lb dumbbells in each hand, palms facing your legs. Stand with feet hip distance apart, knees straight, and put your shoulders back. Keep shoulders back while you bend at the HIP ONLY, concentrating on feeling the pull in your hamstrings, NOT your back. The power will pull your core, and especially your lower back into use, effectively working that lower section right away. Complete 20 reps, and be sure to stretch!
When you are working on your cardio, try adding 10 minutes on the rowing machine for an extra back blasting. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades!