If you have folds on your back and sides that hang over your bra, you already know they are annoying at best. Roughly equivalent to the dreaded “muffin top” around your waist, the folds often creep up on you unawares.
And, at least the muffin top has the decency to show up where you are sure to notice it.
Folds on your back and sides, on the other hand, often go unnoticed until you catch a glimpse of them in the mirror for the first time. So…let’s be honest. That first-time sighting usually happens when you are trying on new clothes in the summer after you’ve had a winter that involved plenty of bad carbs.
However, don’t despair and give up on buying that cute little backless dress just yet. We’re here to help and let you know that there are loads of exercises that can help with toning and sculpting certain muscle groups, particularly when it comes to the ones on your back and sides.
Here are eight exercises Shareably has put together that are designed to get rid of those dreaded back and side folds. You can easily perform them at home, and you should start seeing results within a few weeks!
#1: The Forward Bend
This exercise will open up your chest and work out your back muscles at the same time. If it’s difficult for you to keep your back flat with your hands or fingertips on the floor, you can use yoga blocks at the end of your palms or slide your hands up to your shins instead.
How to perform the Forward Bend:
- Begin by standing with your legs straight and with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lean forward slowly, while at the same time try not to bend your knees.
- Attempt to get your hands to reach the floor and then place your palms flat on it.
- Do this for 2-3 sets; 10-15 reps.
#2: Side Bends
Side Bends are an excellent choice for blasting away side and back folds. Do you know what’s another key benefit to Side Bends? They eliminate unsightly love handles, too.
How to perform Side Bends:
- Begin with feet shoulder width apart, standing in a straight position. Take a dumbbell in one hand, and the other hand can cup the back of your head.
- Keep your back straight and bend in the direction of the hand which is holding the dumbbell.
- Maintaining proper form is key in this exercise. Bend as far as is comfortable, and then return slowly to the starting position. You’ll want to only bend at the waist, keeping your body straight.
- Do this for 3 sets; 15-20 reps. Repeat on one side once you are done with the first.
Push-ups engage your core and lower body – and, yes – they fill us with a little bit of anxiety because they rank a little high on the difficulty meter. Regardless of that, they blast fat and tone and sculpt many different muscles, giving you a killer back.
How to perform Push-ups:
- Lie flat with stomach to the ground; then use your arms to raise your body to a high plank position.
- Next, offload your body’s center of gravity to your arms.
- Slowly lower your body, bending the arms at the elbows. Make sure your behind doesn’t stick out while you do this.
- Return to the high plank position.
- Do this for 2-3 sets of 20-30 push-ups.
#4: The Bow Pose
How to perform the Bow Pose:
- Begin by lying down with your stomach to the floor and moving your arms in front of you.
- You’ll then arch your upper back backwards, bending it while lifting your arms, head and back simultaneously.
- Wrap your hands around and grab the top part of the feet that has the long bones in them.
- Inhale deeply and hold the pose for a few seconds. Then exhale and return your body to the beginning position.
- Do this for a set duration of 20 to 60 seconds.
#5: The Superman
This pose got its nickname because it looks like “the Man of Steel” flying through the air. This Superman, however, comes to your rescue by banishing those pesky aforementioned folds, while also eliminating muffin top in a single bound. As a bonus, Superman alleviates back and neck pain.
How to perform the Superman:
- Begin by lying down with your stomach to the floor and stretching your arms and legs in front of you.
- You’ll then bend your back, while raising your arms and legs at the same moment.
- Hold that pose for a few seconds, and then go back to the beginning position.
- Do this for 3-4 sets; 15-20 reps.
#6: Upper Back Lifts on a Stability Ball
Stability balls help to improve balance and core strength while you are working out. They’re great tools to help in your war against folds, too.
How to perform Upper Back Lifts on a stability ball:
- Begin by lowering yourself and placing your belly on the ball.
- Place legs shoulder-width on the ground and place fingers on the back of your head.
- Lower and raise upper back and shoulders. Be sure to you are keeping your neck straight.
- Perform the stability ball back exercises in 1-2 sets; 12-15 reps.
#7: The Bridge
The Bridge is extremely effective for the back, but it may be risky to do it without preparation. Start performing it after a couple of weeks into your regular workouts with the previous exercises listed above.
How to perform the Bridge:
- Lie on your back with your legs bent at the knees. Press your palms to the floor above your head.
- Start gently lifting your hips and then your shoulders up, bending your back.
- Hold at the highest point for a few seconds.
- Try to return to the initial position by gently lowering your back to the floor.
- Do it for 1-2 sets lasting 3-5 seconds a piece.
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Do you know what one of your number one line of defenses is against back and side folds? The answer is Pull-ups. And, yes, they are difficult, in much the same way push-ups are. But experts are in agreement that they are one of the most important exercises in any routine.
How to perform Pull-ups:
- Begin by gripping the bar with hands about shoulder-width apart.
- Allow yourself to hang and raise your feet off the ground by bending your knees.
- Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Elbows should be close and pulled ever close to the ground as you rise.
- Keep proper form and repeat and build up to as many reps as you can. The best way to do more pull-ups is to keep at it and do more of them.