With New Year's Eve parties and winter vacations to warm destinations right around the corner, who doesn’t want a stronger, more sculpted back to show off in those low-back dresses and two-pieces? Not only will you look amazing, you'll also feel amazing: A strong back protects your spine and mitigates back pain (which can be worsened by all of the traveling everyone does around this time of year).
These poses will shape up your reverse side in no time. [Click to tweet this workout!]
Baby Cobra: Lie facedown on the ground with feet slightly apart. Place palms underneath shoulders. Keeping elbows bent and close to the body, lengthen through tailbone and pull chest forward and slightly up while elongating spine. Lift hands off the ground so back is doing the work. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.
|Knees to Chest: Begin in plank pose. Bend and slowly lower knees to the ground. Bend elbows to graze the sides of the rib cage, arch spine, and lower chest and chin to the ground. Keep shoulders and chest in line with hands while elbows reach up. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.|
|Up Dog: Lie facedown on the ground with tops of feet on the ground. Place hands on either side of chest, bending elbows and allowing them to brush sides of rib cage. Pressing into palms, pull chest forward through shoulders, and press into feet to lift thighs and knees off the ground so only hands and tops of feet are on the ground. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.|
|Bow: Lie facedown on the ground. Bend knees and take hold of the outside of ankles. Keeping knees hip-distance apart, press feet into hands and lift chest off the ground. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.|
|Forearm Plank: Begin on forearms and knees. Keeping elbows shoulder-width apart, clasp hands together. Tuck toes, lift knees off the ground, and step feet back. Reach through heels and crown of the head, keeping a long spine. Engage navel to spine and breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths, lowering knees if necessary.|
|One-Armed Plank: From plank, reach right hand straight out in front of you, keeping arm in line with shoulder. Maintain a strong, steady core, and try to keep hips level. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat with left arm.|
|Wheel: Lie faceup with knees bent and feet on the ground hip-width apart. Bend elbows and place hands on either side of head shoulder-width apart with fingers pointing toward shoulders. Pressing into feet and hands equally, lift hips and lengthen arms. Keep pressing into feet through big toes and reach chest away from feet. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then tuck chin to chest before slowly coming down.|
|Floating Triangle: Begin in warrior II with right leg forward. Lengthen right leg so both legs are straight. Lean torso forward over front leg, keeping both sides of torso long. Rest right hand on shin or bring fingertips to the ground if you can. Lean back, open shoulders and extend left arm up above shoulders into triangle. From triangle, move arms toward head to frame face with left hand facing down and right hand facing up. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat with left leg forward.|
|Locust: Lie facedown on mat, big toes together. Reach arms long on either side of you and use a big inhale to lift chest and feet off the ground. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.|
|*Bonus Pose (for intermediate and advanced students): Frog: This pose requires all sorts of flexibility and strength, so only try it if you have been doing the others for at least six months and feel as if you want a challenge!
Begin lying facedown. Rise onto forearms and breathe here. Keeping knees no wider than hips-distance apart, bend left knee and bring left hand to top of left foot, putting gentle pressure on it to open the quadriceps. Lift chest up and breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Bend right knee and bring right hand to top of right foot, again putting gentle pressure on it to open the quadriceps. Lift chest up and breathe here for 5 deep breaths.