When it comes to building a sexier back, diet is important–but so is using exercises designed to build and sculpt your entire backside. And that doesn’t mean doing endless repetitions using paper-light weights. It means lifting heavy, just like a bodybuilder.
If you’re worried these exercises will make you manly and bulky, don’t–women have very little testosterone, so your muscle-building potential is pretty slim. Instead, you’ll develop a more defined, leaner back, with a backside that would make any man (or woman) swoon.
To get a leaner back, add these exercises to your exercise routine:
Muscles worked: Pull-ups are great for developing your lats–the muscles located just below your shoulder blades, according to Bodybuilding.com. Building your lats helps create definition and firmness to your middle back.
How to do it: To do a pull-up, grip both hands on a pull-up bar, with your palms facing forward. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart.
Next, draw your shoulders and upper arms downward and backward. Do this until your chest touches the pull-up bar. At this point, your arms should only move–not your torso or legs. Hold this position for a second before releasing.
Variations: If you can’t do this exercise at first, try doing it on an assisted chin-up or pull-up machine. As you get stronger, you’ll need less assistance from the machine to do a pull-up, and eventually, no assistance at all.
Bent-over Barbell Row
Muscles worked: This exercise works numerous muscles, including the middle back, shoulders and lats. It’s an excellent exercise for targeting multiple muscle groups without having to do more exercises.
How to do it: This exercise must be completed with a barbell, so have one pre-loaded with your desired weight before doing this exercise. To begin, grab the barbell with your hands with your palms facing down. Bend your knees and bend your torso forward while keeping the back straight. Imagine your body is trying to look like the letter Z. Your arms should hang downward, with the barbell and your hands just below your knees.
Next, bring the barbell up with your upper arms while keeping your elbows close to your body. Bring up the barbell until it touches your torso, then hold it for a couple of seconds. Make sure to squeeze your back muscles. Now release it and return to the starting position.
Variations: You can also complete this exercise with dumbbells, using the same grip as before or using a palms-in grip, like you normally use while doing hammer curls.
Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down
Muscles targeted: Done correctly, this exercise targets the lats. It also works the middle back and shoulders, which can really give a defined, lean appearance to your back.
How to do it: For this exercise, you need a pull-down machine, which is typically found in any standard work-out gym. To start off, grab the bar with both palms facing forward, making sure there are wider than a typical shoulder-width grip.
Once you grip the bar correctly, move your torso–not your body–back by 30 degrees while bending it backward, so that it maintains a slight curve. Now puff your chest out.
Slowly, use your back muscles and arms to bring the bar down to your upper chest. Focus on contracting the back muscles. Use a slow, steady force to bring it down. Hold the position for a second before returning to the starting position.
Variations: To change how the exercise targets your back, try using a narrow grip. You can also use a reverse grip.
To help make your back more lean and sexy, stick to what are called the “bodybuilding” rep ranges. This is between 7 to 12 reps. You should struggle to finish the last rep. If you find the reps are too easy to finish when you reach 12 reps, it’s time to increase your weight load. Aim for at least two sets per exercise.
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