Sometimes, the pursuit of a strong core, killer pectorals and bulging biceps leaves our backs wanting.
And while a toned back always looks sexy in a tank or swimsuit, it’s important for your overall fitness and well-being too. Four in five Americans have been affected at some point in their lives with intense lower back pain, and firming up your back muscles early on can help prevent injury and pain down the road.
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These five exercises will provide you the back strengthening and toning you’re looking for. (Scroll down for the infographic).
1. One-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Squat
This full-body exercise begins down at your toes and ends with full-arm extension overhead to help you build and sustain strength while toning that back to perfection. Watch the video tutorial here.
2. Dumbbell One-Point Row
This dynamic exercise engages your core while testing your ability to hold and balance. If it’s too difficult at first, do a ‘row’ motion while your toes are touching the floor. There’s no shame in starting out slow — it’s important to give your body the chance to grow and develop before pushing its limits. Targeting the many muscles within your back will help you get that wide-at-the-top and narrow-at-the-bottom look.
3. Dumbbell Pullover
Perhaps the greatest benefit in pullovers is they greatly develop the muscles located along the torso through an all-encompassing range of motion. We’ve all seen those folks at the gyms with tree-trunk-big arms, beefy shoulders and an underdeveloped torso. Pullovers will help you prevent this.
AS with most new exercises, most professionals would recommend that you start out slow. Give yourself six weeks, and you might just note a couple extra chest-width inches. And of course, with a wider chest, comes a well-developed, rippled back.
4. Prone Cobra
This yoga-esque exercise will help you improve your ability to stabilize your spine and ensure your lower back sustains maximum functionality during every back exercise you do. Learn more at Men’s Health Magazine.
5. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
You must perform this exercise in tip-top form, as the motion itself forces you to lean your torso forward so your lower back will be left unsupported. That said, the dumbbell bent-over row engages both sides of your torso and works an effective multitude of muscles along your spine to better firm up your back.