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Ask the Celebrity Trainer: Top 3 Moves for a Strong, Sexy Back

The Secret for a Bangin' Backside

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Q: What are your three favorite exercises for targeting the upper back?

A: I love seeing a sculpted, sexy upper back on a woman, especially when she's wearing a beautiful dress that shows it off. But unfortunately many women (and men) overlook training their upper back simply because they don’t see it when they look in the mirror. From an aesthetic point of view, strengthening the muscles in your upper back and shoulders will have a tremendous impact on your posture, which is a commonly undervalued component of improving the way you look. In fact, great posture can even make you look leaner without losing any body fat at all.

While dropping body fat and gaining lean muscle are both extremely important for getting the body you want, I’ve seen plenty of lean people who have terrible posture that diminishes their overall appearance. Read on for my three favorite exercises to target this area.

Cable Face Pull with External Rotation

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  • Attach a rope handle to a high cable pulley. Grab each end of the rope so your hands are shoulder-width apart, palms facing each other, and the ends of the rope are on the inside of your hands, near your thumbs.
  • Take a few steps away form the cable station so there is tension on the rope, and let your arms extend toward the pulley.
  • Get into the position, with a tall torso, chest up, and shoulders down. Your feet should be planted firmly on the floor, with one foot slightly behind the other to brace yourself. Tighten your core before starting.
  • Initiate the movement by pulling the weight towards your face until your elbows are just behind your shoulders. Spread the rope as you pull.
  • At the end of the motion, think about driving your thumbs behind you while keeping your upper arm still.
  • Return the weight to the starting position with control until your arms are fully extended. Pause and repeat.

Inverted Rows

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  • Set a bar to the appropriate height in a squat rack. The lower the bar, the harder the exercise will be.
  • Get underneath the bar and grab it with an overhand grip, palms facing away from you, hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • While keeping your body flat, chin tucked, and shoulders down, row your chest to the bar. Keep your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your body. Try to touch your chest to the bar.
  • Reverse the motion by slowly lowering your body, keeping your chest up, body flat, and shoulders back and down until your arms are fully extended.
  • Pause at the bottom and repeat.


If this is too challenging, try starting with TRX high rows until you build more strength.

Trap 3 Dumbbell Raises

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  • Grab a single, light dumbbell and stand behind an incline bench set to at least 60 degrees.
  • Get into position by placing your free arm on the top of the bench, resting your forearm on the pad. Then, move your feet slightly away from the bench. Get into a staggered stance with your foot closest to the arm on the bench, slightly in front of the other foot.
  • Place your head on your forearm, letting your torso come forward, and let your arm holding the dumbbell hang towards the floor with your thumb pointing on a diagonal away from your body.
  • Make sure your back is flat and knees are slightly bent.
  • Initiate the movement by first pulling your shoulder away from the floor and down towards your hips. Then, with your arm completely straight, raise your thumb towards the ceiling. Maintain proper posture.
  • Return your arm to the starting position under control.
  • Complete all of the repetitions for one side, then switch sides and repeat.



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