Fab by 40 – Getting the Sexy Back

In a blink, August arrived and heralded the beginning of the second month in my personal training program with SAFRA EnergyOne. Progress has been slow in July with only 5 out of 13 training sessions taking place. I had to forgo 4 sessions due to a cycling trip at Pengerang and vacation in Hua Hin. The rest of the cancelled sessions were so that my personal trainer can nurse his on-and-off flu symptoms that have plagued him for a month. Sure hope his family didn’t catch the superbug from him!

Although the realized training sessions have been scant, there’s something I found invaluable in adding overall strength and popping out the upper body… Back training. In my previous gymming routines, I hardly train my back because it is not a part we see when looking in the mirror. But there’s nothing sexier than a broad, cobra-shaped back flanking the chest and abs for a V-cut that would make Vuitton swoon in his grave.

So here are 4 exercises I was taught that really made me feel stronger and more pumped after doing them.

I have a deadline to improve my physique in 6 months so I’m in a bit of a hurry to get my bod in shape. But of course, when training, each rep should be controlled and never rushed to activate the deep muscle fibers within. This reverse pec-fly is a great exercise to carve out a deep back valley between the shoulder blades. Isn’t this animation that made me look like a dragonfly comical?

To really bulk up the back muscles, the Incline Lever Row is a must-do. I’ve done this before but I learnt that I can place my feet flat on the ground instead of the pedestal for better balance. But I feel that stepping on the pedestal isolates the back muscles more.

For the life of me, I’ve never done Deadlifts in all my years at the gym but after this first attempt, the day-after feeling convinced me it’s a must-have weekly exercise. I was told that the Deadlift stimulates bone marrow production but I thought it’s a bunch of hooey. However, after doing this, I really felt super and energetic the next day! From now on, it’s a mainstay in my gym routine.

The mother of all back exercises is Pull-Up. It is my Achilles heel during IPPTs and continues to be on my most-loathed exercise list. But without a doubt, it is the best exercise to work the upper body.
There are 3 grips – overhand, sidehand and underhand. Pictured here is the sidehand grip that is the easiest. Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger does 50 pull-ups as warm up for his gym sessions. If I did 50 pulls, I’m done for the day.

I never used to pay attention to my back other than who’s stabbing it but I found these 4 exercises to be truly muscle-busting for me. There are many more moves to sculpt the upper and lower back which combine to form the largest collection of muscles on our body so what we don’t see is definitely making a huge difference to the overall proportion of our physique.

So the next time you’re at the gym, don’t neglect working your rear to bring back the sexy!


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