If you're ready to finally banish back fat and break out the backless dress or bikini, it's time to incorporate exercises that sculpt a lean and toned upper body. Developing the muscles of the back will also help you stand up straighter, prevent lower-back pain and give you the confidence to pull off any back-baring outfit.
One Arm Row
Grab one fairly heavy dumbbell and find a sturdy weight bench or chair. With the weight in one hand, place the other hand and knee on the bench with your shoulder over your wrist and your hip over your knee. Keeping your back flat, bend your elbow and lift your arm until the weight is in line with your torso. With control, lower the weight until your arm is straight to complete one full repetition. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions and then switch to the other side.
Lat Pull Down
Using the long lat pulldown bar on the cable machine, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width on the bar and sit with your knees anchored in the bench. With a straight spine, lean back slightly and engage the core muscles. Pull the bar down to the top of your chest, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together. As you return the bar to the start position, keep your body angled back for control. Continue for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Downward Dog Push-Ups
To find the correct downward dog position, begin in a full plank with your shoulders over your wrists. From plank raise your tailbone and begin to press your chest toward your thighs. Keeping your heels stretching toward the floor, rotate your hands slightly in. Bend your elbows, allowing them to turn to the sides, and lower your head toward the floor. Push back up, using the muscles in the upper back while keeping the tailbone lifted. Continue for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Lie on your stomach with your arms extended straight by your ears and your legs straight on the floor. Keeping your neck in line with your spine, slowly lift your arms and legs off the floor using your lower back. Hold the position at the highest part of the movement, thinking about reaching your arms and legs as far away from your body as possible. Slowly lower your body until just before you reach the floor and then lift back up. Continue for 15 to 20 repetitions.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.