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Sculpt a strong back with strengthening exercises

This is an excerpt from Women's Home Workout Bible by Brad Schoenfeld.

 

Prone Lat Pull

This move targets the back muscles.

Equipment needed: Stability ball

Start: Roll on a ball so that your midsection rests on top of the ball, with your palms on the floor. Stretch your arms straight out in front of the shoulders as far as is comfortably possible. Your legs should be suspended in the air off the back of the ball, with your feet held together.

Movement: Keeping your hands in place, pull your body forward until your arms are perpendicular to the floor. Contract your back muscles and then reverse the direction, slowly returning to the starting position.

Expert tip: To make the exercise easier, start with your body resting further up on the ball. To make it harder, begin with your lower body resting on the ball.

Seated Row

This move targets the back muscles, particularly the inner musculature of the rhomboids and the middle traps.

Equipment needed: Resistance band

Start: Attach loop handles to the ends of a resistance band and secure the middle of the band to a stationary object at ankle height. You can use the soles of your feet if you desire. Sit on the floor and grasp the handles, with your core held tightly, your palms facing each other, and your knees slightly bent. Fully straighten your arms so that you feel a complete stretch in your lats.

Movement: Keeping your posture erect and your lower back slightly arched, pull the handles toward your lower abdomen, keeping your elbows close to your sides and your lower back slightly arched. As the handles touch your body, squeeze your shoulder blades together and then reverse the direction, slowly returning the handles to the starting position.

Expert tips:

Make sure there is no slack in the band at the beginning of the move.

Don’t let your body lean forward on the return. This interjects momentum into the move’s concentric action, reducing tension on the target muscles.

Never round your spine—this places the spinal discs in a precarious position and can lead to serious injury.

Row

This move targets the back muscles.

Equipment needed: Stability ball, resistance band

Start: Attach loop handles to the ends of a resistance band and secure the middle of the band to a stationary object (such as a door jamb) at knee height. Sit on a stability ball and grasp the handles, with your core held tightly, your palms facing each other, and your feet on the floor. Fully straighten your arms so that you feel a complete stretch in your lats.

Movement: Keeping your posture erect, your lower back slightly arched, and your elbows close to your sides, pull the handles toward your lower abdomen. When the handles touch your body, squeeze your shoulder blades together and then reverse the direction, slowly returning the handles to the starting position.

Expert tips:

Make sure there is no slack in the band at the beginning of the move.

Avoid allowing your body to lean forward on the return. This interjects momentum into the move’s concentric action, reducing tension on the target muscles.

Never round your spine—this places the discs in a precarious position and can lead to serious injury.