When it comes to sculpting specific body parts, you probably think of abs, arms, and glutes first, amiright? But a well-rounded workout routine includes hitting *every* major muscle group, even the ones you that may fall on the back burner, like, well your back.
Here's why: Your back muscles, which include the lats and traps, have important jobs to perform. Collectively, they help you lift heavy loads (think: groceries, kids, and weights) and they're responsible for posture and holding you up. These are typically undertrained yet primed for results, according to certified athletic trainer Vanessa Abrams, a human anatomy lecturer at Howard University. “Back muscles are more resistant to fatigue than others,” she says. “While maxing out may be difficult, high reps and sets are especially beneficial.” Noted.
Meet the experts: Vanessa Abrams is a certified athletic trainer and human anatomy lecturer at Howard University. Colleen Conlon is a certified personal trainer with experience as an instructor at Equinox, a Studio Manager at Crunch, and a fitness producer at DailyBurn.
Teaching your back how to lift will help you build muscular endurance, reduce pesky aches, and help sculpt your bod, according to Colleen Conlon, CPT. Doing back exercises regularly will also improve your posture (hi, folks who sit a lot during the day, myself included). “If you’re going to be stationary, you need to strengthen your back so you’re not rounded,” says Conlon.
Good news: Targeting your spine-supporting muscles “can help decrease pain associated with large breasts, repetitive lifting, or prolonged periods spent sitting or even with shoulders retracted while accomplishing a DIY protective hairstyle, like braids,” Abrams says. Start with the back workout below to get in on these gains.
20 Best Back Workout Moves For Women
Time: 15 minutes | Equipment: free weights (10 pounds or less) | Good for: Back
Instructions: Choose five moves below and perform the suggested number of reps for each, then continue immediately to the next; at the end, rest for up to two minutes. That’s one set. Repeat the entire routine once or twice more. You’ll know you’ve hit your strength sweet spot if the last couple of reps leave you thinking, whew! Don’t feel that fatigue? Take it up a notch next time. Ready, set, sweat.
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