A toned back looks super sexy in a strappy dress, and can help prevent aches. What's not to love?
What do Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Kate Hudson all have in common? A toned back. You may not give that area of your body much thought, but an athletic back looks elegant and sexy, and helps improve posture, so you’ll look slimmer – which is why we want you to give our 30 day challenge: Stronger back a go.
Toning up this area can also help prevent debilitating back and neck pain. ‘There’s a lot you can do to protect your back,’ says personal trainer Anna Reich. ‘Sit up straight to avoid stress on supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles. Set an hourly reminder on your phone to get into the habit of standing and walking around. Swap your high heels, which are linked to lower back pain, for flatter shoes (at least on your commute), and avoid carrying heavy handbags – if you have to, switch shoulders regularly.
Anna’s created a simple strenthening workout plan for a strong, sleek back.
4 MUSCLE-BOLSTERING BACK MOVES
Working out can actually benefit sore, weak backs, but if you have problems check with your doctor before you start. Begin slowly to encourage muscle growth, strength and definition. As you get stronger, you can increase the weights.
DIVE BOMB PUSH-UPS
Perform a downward dog – stick your bottom in the air so you look like an inverted ‘V’. Lower shoulders towards floor, but before your chin hits the ground, swoop your body forward so you push your chest out and forwards. your back should be arched and arms locked out. Hold the position for a second, then return to the starting position by reversing the exercise.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, dumbbells in hands resting on thighs. With a slight bend in your knee, bend forwards at your hip, keep your back flat and slide the dumbbells down your legs. Once you’ve reached just past your knees, drive back up through heels to the start position (giving glutes a little squeeze).
Perform the above move. Once you’ve reached your knees, pull elbows up, pinching shoulder blades together, to lift the weights – elbows should be aligned behind shoulders. Then lift up and lower weights to knees to return to start.
Stand in a star position with feet wider than hip-width apart and arms out to the sides. Keeping your back and arms straight, inhale and, rotating your spine, reach your left hand towards your right foot. Repeat on the other side.
Stand with feet apart, knees bent softly. Hold a dumbbell with both hands behind your head, resting it on your shoulders. Inhale and, keeping your back straight, lean your torso forwards, hinging at your hips, until you’re parallel with the ground. Exhale and drive through your heels, engaging glutes, back to start position.
Perform the Superwoman, but pull your elbows back in towards you, squeezing the shoulder blades. Hold for a second, then straighten your arms back in front of you and slowly lower your limbs to the floor.
Watch how to do the booster moves (days 16-30) to tone your back in our video below
See more 30 day challenges here