When we look in the mirror, most of us are focused on the front half of our bodies, looking for signs of a tighter tummy, more toned thighs and slimmer arms. But we often forget about our backs, reasoning that since the season for backless tops and bikinis makes up just one quarter of the year, have a bangin' back can't be that important. But a weak back can lead to a host of issues, including moderate to severe back pain. Strengthening your back, therefore, not only helps you stay pain free, but it can even help you lose weight. The more muscle tone you have, the higher your metabolism, and therefore the more calories your body burns while resting. The more calories burned, the leaner your frame, and the better you look in both the front and the back. Read on to see 5 yoga poses to add to your routine to ensure your back supports you in every way you need.
Side Forearm Plank | Hold for 10 breaths each side
You might not think of the Plank as an exercise for the back, but side planks work the front and back of your shoulders, toning the area around your sports bra and ensuring that in addition to a toned back, you keep off the dreaded bra bulge so many of us develop.
- Step 1: Lie down on one side and place your elbow directly underneath your shoulder.
- Step 2: Lift your body off the ground and raise your other arm over your head. Your weight should be supported by your forearm and the foot closest to the ground. Lower to starting position and switch to the other side.
Bow pose | Hold for 10 breaths
Bow pose is a great pose for opening the chest and strengthening the upper back. It also works core stability, so it's a great move to work every day to strengthen your front and back.
- Step 1: Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides, palms up.
- Step 2: Grab your ankles with your hands and, starting with your forehead on the ground, bend your knees and lift up so that your navel is balanced on the ground. Lift your head so the chin is just parallel with the ground. Lower to starting position and repeat.
Bridge Pose | 10 reps
Another great pose for working the chest, and core, bridge pose helps strengthen the lower back by focusing the effort on your glutes.
- Step 1: Lie on your back with feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and arms by your sides with palms faced down. Bring your heels as close to your butt as possible.
- Step 2: Taking a deep breath, slowing raise your pelvis off the floor, making sure the weight is balanced between your feet and shoulders. Continue raising the pelvis off the ground until your body makes a 45-degree angle from the floor and your chin is raised just above your head. Lower and repeat.
Downward Facing Dog | 10 reps
One of the classic moves of yoga, many routines use downward facing dog as a resting pose in between vinyasas, but when done correctly, the position can tone the upper and lower back.
- Step 1: Begin on your hands and knees, with knees just under the hips.
- Step 2: Curl your toes under and slowly lift your hips upward. The arms should be straight with triceps turned in toward each other, and the heels should almost be touching the ground. Press into your thumb and pointed finger to ensure the weight is evenly distributed between your shoulder blades. Lower, and repeat.
Locust Pose | 10 reps
Similar to bow pose, locust pose works your upper back and opens your chest. It's easier to do multiple repetitions of it than bow pose, so if you're having trouble mastering bow pose, start with repetitions of locust a few times a week and then work your way to bow from there.
- Step 1:Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides, palms faced down. Place your forehead on the ground.
- Step 2: Inhale and lift your head, shoulders, arms and legs off the ground, straightening the palms so your thumbs point toward the floor. Lower, then repeat.
Work through these yoga poses performing the number or reps for each move. Complete 3 sets, 3 times a week for a beautiful, strong back. For more ways to tone your body with yoga, check out our guide to 70 Yoga Poses to Tone, Strengthen and Detox Your Body.prev