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Bathing suit season may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to slack on working your back. Even though you can’t to see your posterior when you look in the mirror, you rely on this pillar of strength each and every day.
Aside from helping you perform everyday movements, challenging your back and core can also train your upper body to stand and sit straighter. (Goodbye, desk hunch!) A stronger back, shoulders and core will make better posture a no-brainer, and studies show that standing tall is linked to more confidence, energy and productivity. Guess we should have been listening to our mothers after all!
To target your back and core, we’ve got a quick back workout you can do anywhere, no equipment necessary. Complete the following circuit once, twice or three times — it's time to get your back on track.
Your No-Gym Back Workout
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1. Wide Row
You might not have any dumbbells in your hands, but you’ll still feel the effects of this exercise in your spinal erector, the group of muscles that surrounds and stabilizes your spine
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge at you hips, leaning forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Your head should be in a neutral position (a). Make fists and raise your arms up to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades together once your arms get to the top (b). Repeat 20 times.
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2. Overhead Press
Raise the roof! This overhead press might look like a dance move but it’s especially effective in targeting your traps, which engage when you pull your shoulder blades together.
How to: Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hinge at your hips and lean your torso forward slightly. Your weight should be in your heels so your knees should not be going over your toes (a). Squeezing down, pretend you are swimming through water if you aren’t feeling it (b). Repeat 20 times.
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3. Planks with Arm Raises
Give your core and back extra attention with this twist on the standard plank, which puts your balance to the test.
How to: Start in a plank. You should be balanced on your toes with your core engaged. Shoulders should be directly over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to the bottom of your heels (a). Shift your weight to your right side and pick your left hand up off the ground. Lift your arm straight to the side, engaging your back and core to keep you balanced. Squeeze your shoulder blade when your arm is parallel with the round (b). Slowly bring your hand back down to the ground and repeat the move on the other side (c). Continue to alternate, performing 20 raises on each side.
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4. Tick-Tock Arms
Make no mistake, this move looks easy but your back will be feeling it, we assure you. Keep your back and arms engaged throughout the move.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at your hips and lean forward slightly with your torso. Engage your core and back so you form a straight line from the top of you head to your tailbone. Gaze downward with your eyes (a). Make fists with both hands. Tense the muscles in your arms and bring your right arm above your head and your left arm behind your bottom (b). Now, slowly switch your arms. Bring your right arm out to the side and back to your bottom while you are bringing your left arm to the side and then up. Pretend you are moving your arms through water by engaging the muscles in your back and shoulders (c). Repeat 20 times on each side.
For more no-equipment exercises, head to DailyBurn.com/365 for new workouts every day.
Originally published October 2015. Updated November 2016.