Most of us covet a flat stomach and toned legs—but what about the body parts you can’t see in a mirror? Just because they’re out of your sight range doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be strengthened. Strong upper back and shoulder muscles are a necessary part of the overall balance in your body. Not only that, but it’s fun to show them off when they’re strong and sculpted! Here’s the good news: when you work your shoulders and upper back, your arms have to come along for the ride, leaving you with better biceps and triceps to boot! Here are 7 of our favorite moves to sculpt your back and shoulders.
Tips on Weight Training For The Back and Shoulders
First and foremost, before we get to the moves, we need to dispel some common myths. Namely, that lifting heavy weights will make you “bulk up.” This is a common misconception and simply not true. If you want big change you must use big weights and push yourself to muscle fatigue and or failure. Ladies—you will not bulk up! Heavy weights are required for sculpting sexy, defined muscles.
Secondly, you must use good form. Working the upper back and can be tricky. Many people default to shrugging their shoulders or adopting a hunched-over posture. This leaves you with pinched nerves in your neck and a sore lower back. It is likely one of the reasons people tend to avoid upper back exercises. As such, it’s imperative that you approach the exercises with caution and proper technique. This includes:
- Keeping your abdominals pulled in at all times
- Keeping your spine long at all times
- Keeping your shoulder blades stable and drawn down
With that in mind, let’s get started! The following exercises can be done 2-3 times per week. Combine them with some good cardio exercise and you’ll be on your way to sleek and sculpted shoulders and a sexy back.
B) Press dumbbells slowly up until arms are straight. Slowly return to starting position with control. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Related: 10 Best Exercises For Your Bad Back
B) Draw elbows back past hips gently hugging the side body so you feel lats and triceps engage and return forward with control. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
A) Stand with feet together, dumbbells resting in front of thighs, keeping abdominals tight, and drawing your shoulders down in the back.
B) Lift dumbbells slowly to shoulder height and return back down with control. Avoid swinging or using momentum. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
4. Press Backs
B) Keeping the core engaged, press the dumbbells past your hips and return with control. Avoid swinging the arms or bending the elbows. Perform 8-12 reps.
B) Lower dumbbells past your head, keeping arms mostly straight with elbows slightly bent. Keeping abdominals tight, raise dumbbells back to start. Low back should stay firm against the floor throughout. Perform 8-12 reps.
A) Begin in a full plank with dumbbells in hands, arms extended, and on toes. (Kneeling variation is fine if you are not able to do a full plank). Engage your abdominals draw the belly inward towards your spine.
B) Pull right dumbbell up toward right hip bone, keeping weight close to your side. Slowly return it to the floor and repeat with the left dumbbell. Perform 20 total reps-10 per arm.
B) Pull the elbow straight back past your hip (keep arms close to the body; don’t let your elbow wing out). Engage and squeeze your back muscles, then lower the dumbbell back to start position with control. Perform 8-10 reps for each side.