Men's Articles

A Sexy Back And Shoulders

This workout will help you stand taller, look slimmer and feel confident in anything strappy. Create sexy definition and reverse a chronic slouch with exercises for your upper back and rear shoulders. Many women neglect their upper back and shoulders in order to spend time on their thighs, belly and other "problem areas".

The result: They don't learn how to use those muscles to pull their shoulders back and prevent a hunched-over posture, a protruding belly and even back and neck pain. When you try the three innovative exercises here, you'll zero in on this hard-to-target area and reap the rewards..

Muscle Mechanics

Your deltoid muscle is composed of three parts: The anterior deltoid helps raise your arm forward and rotates it inward. The medial deltoid raises your arm to the side and assists the other shoulder muscles. The posterior deltoid moves your arm back and rotates  it outward. The trapezius  helps in overhead pushing actions and pulls your shoulders back and down (with the rhomboids). The levator scapulae helps lift or shrug your shoulders.

Workout Essentials

You'll need a bar secured on a rack, a lower-cable pulley machine with a short bar attachment and a set of 23kg dumbbells. Warm up with 5 minutes of cardio. Finish by stretching your shoulder and back muscles.

Inverted Row

Strengthens: Upper and middle back, middle and rear deltoids, biceps 

How To Do It: Secure an Olympic bar on a rack at about waist height, then sit on the floor under the bar. Grasp bar with an underhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulders. Walk feet out and allow entire body, except heels, to hang with arms and legs straight, feet flexed, chest centred under bar. Tighten abs and align body from head to heels. Bend elbows and pull chest up to bar, keeping body straight. Lower slowly and repeat.

Tip: Pull your shoulder blades back and down throughout the set to fully isolate the muscles.

Wide-Grip Upright Row

Strengthens: Upper back and rear shoulders

How To Do It: Attach a short bar to a lower-cable pulley machine and grasp bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulders slightly less than arms length from the weight stack, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Keeping wrists straight, hold bar in front of thighs. Contract abs, elongate spine and pull shoulder blades down and together. Bend elbows wide out to side as you pull bar toward chest until elbows are even with shoulders. Lower bar to starting position. Repeat.

Tip: Keep your torso tall and still so you don't use your lower back to help you lift the weight.

One-Arm Reverse Fly

Strengthens: Upper and middle back, rear shoulder

How To Do It: Grasp a dumbbell in left hand and bend over bench. Rest right knee and hand on bench, keeping back straight and parallel to floor. Extend left arm toward floor in line with shoulder, palm facing in. Draw shoulder blades down your back, square hips and shoulders and pull abs in, then lift left arm out to the side to shoulder height, maintaining a slight bend in the elbow  Lower arm to starting position, repeat. Switch arms and legs to complete set.

Tip: Focus on using your shoulder muscles to lift the weight to ensure that your back doesn't take over.

These exercises can be done at home or at a fitness park with some improvisation, says Sulaiman, a fitness trainer. The key is to keep the motion of the exercises smooth without jerking. Equally important, he says, is to maintain good posture, proper technique and breathe. "Keep your back straight at all times to minimise injuries;" he says. "And breathe out when you contract your muscles."


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