When we think of workouts in preparation for warmer weather, bum, stomach, legs, and arm moves usually hit top of mind. While toning these areas may be your central focus when booking your ClassPass sessions, there's a key area you're forgetting about: your back. With the array of strapless dresses, swimsuits, and off-the-shoulder tops often worn in the upcoming months, we'd have to argue that a sculpted back is just as worthwhile as focusing on the more obvious areas of your body.
Case in point: Jessica Biel. If ever there were a celebrity with an upper body that we stop and stare at in awe, it's her. Hence, we enlisted her personal trainer, Jason Walsh, to give us some tips on how to get a strapless-ready back just like Jessica's. Keep scrolling to learn his tips!
Walsh says that this move is a great warm-up for the whole back: "Lay prone on a mat, arms overhead, with your legs slightly spread. Lift your arms, chest, and legs, holding for five seconds, then repeat 8–10 times. Rest one minute, then repeat three sets," he explains.
"Deadlifts recruit every muscle in the back and are one of the best core exercises you can do. I would put deadlifting as a priority, because it strengthens the hips to help stabilise the spine," says Walsh. He suggests trying out a "landmine deadlift" (see video below), and adds that the barbell can be substituted for a kettle bell.
"I like to use a wide stance with toes slightly pointed out, cup the bar with your hands, lower the bar by initiating with the hips back, bending at the waist, keeping a high priority of a neutral spine all the way through the neck. Stand back up by leading the movement with the upper torso and driving the hips through and finally squeezing the butt at the top. Do four sets of 12 reps," he explains.
Walsh says that this workout is a great way to target both the back and the arms. His trick for elevating your workout? Try pulling up at three different positions: 1. Pull up all the way so that your chin goes over the bar. 2. Pull up halfway. 3. Pull up one-quarter of the way.
Start with 15 seconds at position one, then rest before doing positions two and three. Eventually, progress to doing all three positions back-to-back; then start over and hold for 30 seconds.
This move targets the midback, back of the shoulders, and the arms. Says Walsh, "Perform with elbows tucked in tight to the body, arms extended, palms facing the floor. As you ascend, or row, rotate the arms so that the palms face upward at the top of the row. Do three sets of 10–15 reps."
"Perform either standing with a split stance or sitting with good posture. Pull the ropes back, elbows high, towards the forehead for 15–20 reps. Next, pull the ropes back, elbows slightly lower, towards the chin for 15–20 reps. Finally, pull the ropes back, elbows low, towards the sternum for 15–20 reps. Repeat three times," says Walsh.
Don't forget to stay hydrated during your workout. We love Camelbak Water Bottles (£12) to get the job done.
Do you have a favourite back exercise? Please tell us below!