Sometimes it is sexy to have a little something spilling out the top of your bra. Unfortunately, it is only sexy when that something is on your front. Back fat, that extra roll on top of or just below your bra strap, is the kind of cleavage females could all live without. Back fat is like fat found anywhere else on the body, it only disappears when you burn more calories than you consume. A muscular back is firm, sexy and key to giving you a leaner physique. A well-developed upper back gives your torso that V-shape that makes your waist and hips look slimmer. Remember, a strong back enhances posture and reduces back injuries and pain. Here are 3 exercises to help “cheat the system”. These exercises cannot make fat disappear, but they can give you muscle tone. You should aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per session.
Dumbbell rows: Stand next to a bench or stable chair. Place one hand on the bench or seat of the chair for support, now slowly bend forward from your hips, keeping your belly button drawn toward your spine and your back and head almost parallel to the floor. Hold a moderately heavy dumbbell (you should start to fatigue around the eighth repetition) in your free hand, dangling the dumbbell down so that it too is parallel to the floor. Retract your shoulder blade, bend your elbow and draw the weight up until your hand is touching your torso. Slowly lower the weight back down. Switch sides and hands.
Tip: Remember to keep your back straight. You should feel this exercise primarily in your back, not your arms. If you feel it in your arms, you’re not retracting your shoulder blade before you lift. To test yourself, try to squeeze your shoulder blades together in back as if pinching someone’s finger between them. Got it? Now try it with just one shoulder blade.
Superman (arm and leg raises): Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head and your legs straight. Toes and palms should rest on the floor. The pelvis and chest should be pressed firmly into the floor. Rest your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side if that’s more comfortable. Begin with your right arm and left leg raised slightly off the ground. You should feel some muscular tension in the lower back, gluteus (butt) and right shoulder. Raise both the right arm and left leg slowly until it feels difficult to keep your pelvis and chest flat on the floor. (This should be just a few inches off the ground.) Lower and repeat with the opposite leg and arm combination.
Warning: Do not twist or rock your body to make this easier. If you have lower back problems, this exercise might not be for you. Stop if you feel pain.
Variations: Try lifting the left arm and your left leg (limbs of the same side). A further progression to this is on a Swiss Ball.
Rear deltoid reverse flyes: Sit on the edge of a bench, holding light weights (1-3kg) in each hand. Lean forward from your hips, flattening your back. If you can, rest your chest on your knees. Place your hands behind your calves with your palms facing each other. Tuck your chin into your chest. Raise your arms up to the sides (till shoulder level), gradually bending your elbows as they come up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause at the top of the extension and then slowly lower back down.