A back-bearing swimsuit or halter dress can leave you feeling self-conscious instead of sexy if it reveals a flabby back. Although aerobic exercise and a calorie-reduced diet are needed to get rid of bra overhang and back flab, you can supplement them with dumbbell exercises to tighten and tone your muscles. As the pounds melt off with cardio and a healthy diet, you can work toward the goal of a smaller back by sculpting your back muscles.
Work your entire back by doing dumbbell rows as part of your back-slimming routine. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward at the waist, and draw your arms close to your sides with your elbows bent at 90-degree angles. Simultaneously draw your elbows up and back as if you're trying to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold the position for one count, and then lower to the starting position using your back muscles to power each move. Perform 12 reps using dumbbells heavy enough to tire your muscles by the end of the 12th repetition.
Lateral Raises and Pulldown
When they're defined and toned, the V-shaped muscles that start at the back of your shoulders and angle toward the middle of your back can make a big difference in your rear view. Sculpt these muscles for a smaller back by performing lat raise-pulldown combos. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the dumbbells just outside your shoulders. Push the dumbbells up and over your head, bringing them together directly over your head. As you bring the dumbbells back down, engage your back muscles as you pull the weights down instead of just lowering them. Alternately push and pull to complete 12 reps.
Tone your back muscles and enjoy the added benefit of getting buff shoulders, too. Begin by standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder distance. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, positioning the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Stand straight, and make sure your shoulders are relaxed and back. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears without rolling them back or forward. Hold the shrug for two counts, and then lower your shoulders to return to the starting position. Repeat the shoulder shrugs to complete a total of 12 to 16.
Things to Think About
No matter how badly you want to get a smaller back, don't do dumbbell exercises more often than every other day. Your muscles need the day off in between to rest and recover from a workout. Not only does this help you avoid injury, the rest period actually helps you build and tone muscles. When the dumbbells you're lifting start to feel light and easy, it's time to switch to heavier ones. As you strength train with dumbbells to tone your back, do 300 minutes of cardio per week if you want to lose weight or 150 minutes each week to maintain.
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- Mayo Clinic: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
- American Council on Exercise: Back Exercises
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.