Bra bulge, back boob, back fat — whatever you want to call it, if you're not happy with it, you're probably dying to get rid of it. The first step is to make sure you're wearing the right size bra, and the second is to tone up your upper back area. Sometimes women neglect the upper back area because they're afraid of bulking up and getting "man shoulders," but nothing could be further from the truth. Just add a few of these exercises to your current workout routine to banish bra bulge for good!
The beauty of these exercises is the variety. Whether you have access to free weights, machines, or nothing but your own floor, you can sculpt your upper back and make bra bulge a thing of the past, so what are you waiting for? Drop and give me 20 pushup reaches!
Get into a regular pushup plank position. Move forward slowly, rising higher on your toes and driving your shoulders and head forward, pushing past the distance of your hands. Slowly move back to start position so your shoulders are aligned with your hands again and the weight is evenly distributed between feet and hands. For more photos and information, click here.
This is a great move to work your arms and back! Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing in. Without bending the elbows, raise your arms out to your sides until they are at shoulder level. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. From the original start position you will raise the arms back up, but instead of going out to your sides, raise them straight out in front of you. Pause, and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat these two moves one right after the other as many times as you can for 60 seconds. Click here for more info.
Squat to grab your weight (kettlebell or dumbbell). Come out of the squat and throw the hips forward to help you lift the weight. Bring into a “high pull” position so your elbow is above the shoulder and the weight is touching your chest. “Catch” the weight by bending your knees while simultaneously dropping the elbow underneath the weight. Using the bend in your knees, drive through the heels and press the weight overhead. Reverse the movement by bringing the elbow back into the body. Then raise the elbow up again and drop the weight straight down to the ground to begin again. For more specific instructions and safety advice, click here.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and lean forward so your hips go behind your heels and the back is flat. Hold the weights under the chest and look at the floor, about 5 feet in front of you. Keeping your arms straight—without locking the elbows—lift your dumbbells. Avoid putting the work in your lower back. Bring the shoulder blades together, then release the weights back under the chest with control. Click here for more instructions!
Planks are a great back sculptor! Lie on your left side and lift your body off the ground with your left elbow on the mat directly under your shoulder. Keep legs straight and stack your right foot on top of your left. Place your right arm flat on top of your right side (or place right hand on right hip or raise arm in air), and support the weight of your body on the outer left foot and left forearm. For full instructions on this move, click here.
On the pull-up machine, set a weight that you can handle (the higher the weight the more assistance you're going to get). Grab the bar with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up so your chin is at or over the bar. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Click here for more info!
Your shoulders will start to BURN after a few reps of this move! Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, and arms hanging in the center of the body with palms facing forward. In a controlled motion, without bending the arms, swing the arms out to the sides until they are even with the shoulders. If you have to swing your upper body in order to raise the dumbbells, decrease the weight. Pause at the top. Return the arms back to center. That is one rep. Click here to learn more.
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Your palms are facing down on the tops of your thighs with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift the dumbbells up and to the front of you with your palms facing down and a slight bend in your arm. Stop when weights are at shoulder height (or a little higher) and lower back to starting position. That's one rep. Check it out here.
Grab a set of dumbbells and hold them down by your sides, palms facing in. Raise your shoulders as high as possible (the shrug) and lower. Try not to roll your shoulders at all. Check it out here.
Use the seated row machine at the gym and attach a V-bar. Sit at the machine and place your feet on the front platform with a slight bend in your knees. Lean over slightly to grab the V-bar, pull the bar in towards your stomach and release to starting position.
Begin in forearm plank position with shoulders directly over elbows. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels. Keeping your abs in tight and your shoulders above your elbows, rotate your torso as you drop your left hip to the ground. In a controlled motion, rotate your torso to the opposite side, dropping your right hip to the floor. That is one rep; repeat for the allotted time. In between rotations, stop in the middle to get control of your balance if necessary. For complete instructions, click here.
Perform a standard pushup. As you return to the starting position, raise one hand so it’s in line with your body, extended straight out from your shoulder. Hold for 2 seconds, and then return your hand to the starting position. Do another pushup and then repeat with other hand. Continue alternating sides each rep. Check out more details here.