Training Oct 2006
A Back to Fancy
copyright © 2006 Heidi
all rights reserved
Wouldn’t you love to have a sexy back? Well now you can. A Back to
Fancy is an anytime anywhere program that will give you the back of
your desires. Have the freedom to workout on your time, on your terms,
wherever you choose and get the results you want starting now. You
don’t need expensive specialized equipment. Just a few dumbbells,
a chair and a will are all you will need to get started. So,
“Let’s bring the sexy back…” as popularized by Justin Timberlake, and
get you on your way with my anytime anywhere program, A Back to Fancy.
For the A Back to Fancy program you will need a chair and a set of both
3, 5 and 10lbs dumbbells.
For all exercises it is important to sit or stand up tall, with the
shoulders back, and the abdominals activated. To activate the
abdominals pull the belly button toward the spine and maintain the
squeeze. You should feel supported throughout the mid-section as if
wearing a corset. Maintain this strong posture through the exercises to
best support the body and protect the lower spine. Remember to always
use slow and controlled movements taking two counts to lift, two counts
to hold and four counts to return to the start position. Repetition and
consistency are your keys to success. For best results, do this program
every other day for 8- 12 weeks. Now let’s get to work!
1) Narrow Arm Bent Row
For the lats, rhomboid and trapezius, (major muscles of the back)
The Narrow Arm Bent Row is an excellent exercise to work the back to
develop and reshape many of the major muscles. Concentrate on your back
as you do this exercise. To begin, sit on a chair with your chest
lifted, shoulders back and abdominals supported. Position your legs
together with the feet pressing in to the floor. Bend your torso at an
angle of 45 degrees, keeping your back straight. Take your 10lb
dumbbells in your hands with the palms facing in and your arms dangling
straight down from your shoulders. Inhale. As you exhale,
contract your abdominals and lift the weights bringing the palms as
close as you can to touch the sides of your lower rib cage. Keep your
elbows in. Hold this position for two counts while squeezing the
shoulder blades together. Inhale as you return to the start position.
Repeat 15 to 20 times. Slowly work your way up to three sets.
2) Wide Bent Row
For the lats, rhomboid and trapezius, rear deltoid, bicep, and arm
flexors (major muscles of the back plus the back of shoulder, bicep and
The Wide Bent Row is going to give you that extra challenge to work
your back to the next level. It is very similar to the Narrow Arm
Row but you are going to use about 50% less weight with a variation on
the arm position. Begin as you would for the Narrow Arm Bent Row
by sitting on a chair with your chest lifted, shoulders back and
abdominals supported. Position your legs together with the feet
pressing in to the floor. Bend your torso at an angle of 45 degrees,
keeping your back straight. Take your 3 or 5lbs dumbbells in your hands
using an overhand grip. Extend your arms forward, on a 90 degree angle,
in front of the shoulders and inhale. As you exhale contract the
abdominals and slide the arms back, along the 90 degree line, while
squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold this
contracted position for two counts. Breathe in while slowly pressing
the arms forward to return to the start position. Repeat 15 – 20 times.
Slowly build up to three sets.
3) Pull Down
For medial deltoid, upper trapezius, rhomboids, triceps (top of the
shoulders, upper and mid back, triceps)
With the Pull Down you will not only work to define your upper back but
there is a greater emphasis on the top of the shoulder and triceps, aka
granny flab!!! Start with a weight you can manage, anywhere from 3 –
10lbs, and increase it as you are able. To begin, sit on a chair with
your chest lifted, shoulders back and abdominals supported.
Position the legs both together or hip width apart with the feet
pressing in to the floor. Exhale and lift the weight to the start
position by bringing the palms up beside the shoulders with the elbows
bent pointing downward slightly behind the body. Squeeze the shoulder
blades together. Inhale and press the dumbbells directly above your
head without arching your back. Hold for two counts. Exhale as
you return to the start to the start position, squeeze the back and
hold for two counts. Repeat 12 – 15 times. Work your way up to
4) Chicken Dance aka Bent Lateral Raise
For medial deltoid and upper trapezuis (top of the shoulders and upper
The Chicken Dance is a fabulous exercise for developing the shoulders,
eventually giving you a nice little divot in the side of the arm. It
also puts emphasis on your upper back. If you’ve ever danced the
Chicken Dance at a wedding you will be familiar with this exercise.
Let’s go through the form and you’ll see what I mean. To begin, sit on
a chair with your chest lifted, shoulders back and abdominals
supported. Position the legs both together or hip width apart
with the feet pressing in to the floor. Inhale as you take a hold of
your 5lb weights and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle with the
palms facing in. Exhale as you raise your elbows to shoulder height,
keeping the bend in the elbows. While in this lifted position, squeeze
the shoulder blades together and hold for two counts. Inhale and slowly
return the arms back to the start position. Repeat 12 – 15 times.
Slowly work your way up to three sets.
To achieve greater emphasis on the traps, as you exhale raise the
elbows to above shoulder height and then hold for two counts before
returning to the start position.
After doing this exercise, you’ll have a new appreciation for the
5) Forward Bend Back Extension
For erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings (spinal erectors and low back,
buttocks, and back of the thighs)
The Forward Bend Back Extension is a simple but truly effective
exercise giving you great posture by strengthening the muscles that
support the spine. This exercise is the one to keep you vertical!
With this exercise it is important to begin with a weight you can
manage, anywhere from 0 – 5lbs, and increase the weight as you are
able. To begin, stand up straight with the feet together or hip
width apart. Lift the chest, pull the shoulders back and activate
the abdominals. With your weights in hand, cross your arms comfortably
over your chest and keep them there. Inhale. Exhale as you lower
your body forward, keeping the chest lifted, while bending at the hip.
Your upper back should feel slightly arched. Hold this position for 2
counts. Inhale as you lift the body back to the start position,
focusing on keeping the back straight with the chest pressing forward
and abdominals activated. Consciously focus on lifting with the
back muscles throughout this exercise. Aim for 10 – 15
repetitions. Gradually work up to three sets.
As with any exercise program it is important to start slowly and
progressively build over time. A Back to Fancy is no different. Your
back and shoulders may tire quickly at first which is to be expected.
Allow yourself time to adjust and listen to your body. Stop
whenever you need to, knowing you have done your best. Track your
progress and aim to do a little more each time. Attempt to complete
this program every other day for 8 – 12 weeks. However if you find your
muscles are excessively sore on your next workout, you may want to give
yourself an extra day to recover before repeating the program
again. Soon you’ll be doing the full program and you’ll have
developed your own back to fancy. Enjoy!
Questions and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch out for next month’s program, “Arms Toned and Tight,” an anytime
anywhere program for the arms.
photos copyright © 2006 Kim Taylor,
all rights reserved
Heidi Richards is Owner of Why
Not Personal Training.
Personal Trainer, Figure Competitor and Fitness Model