Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Exercises For That Tapered Look And Great Posture

You spot people with great posture as soon as they enter a room.  They hold their chests high, their shoulders back, and they have a tapered look to their upper bodies.  Good posture makes you look sexy, strong, and confident.  Try the following two exercises to help you strengthen your upper back, and improve your posture.

Lat Pulldown - Start

Lat Pulldown - Finish

The lat pulldown is a great exercise for strengthening and developing the muscles in your upper back which are critical in having good posture. People whose shoulders are slumped forward most likely have under-developed upper back muscles.

First sit down and adjust the thigh pad to a position that firmly fits over your thighs. Then select a resistance with which the last three repetitions are difficult to complete. If this is your first time doing this exercise is may take experimenting at several weights before you find the right resistance for you. Next, grip the bar a little wider than shoulder width, sit down on the seat and place your knees firmly under the pad. Start with your arms fully extended and your chest held high. This is your start position. Now, pull the bar slowly down to the base of your neck while squeezing your shoulder blades back and together. Slowly return the bar to the starting position. (It should take about 3 seconds to pull the bar down and about 2 seconds to return the bar to its starting position). Proper breathing is very important so, remember to exhale as you pull the bar down and inhale as you return the bar to the starting position

Dumbbell Row - Start
Dumbbell Row - Finish
The dumbbell row also strengthens and develops the muscles of the upper back.  Hold a dumbbell in one hand, and place the opposite knee on a bench.  Lean forward and place your other hand on the bench.  Step to your side with the other leg and bend your knee slightly.  Proper form is very important on this exercise so, be careful that your lower back is not rounded.  Hold the dumbbell fully extended beneath your shoulder.  This is your starting position.  Now slowly pull the dumbbell to underarm height and squeeze your shoulder blade toward your spine and return slowly to the start position.  The breathing pattern is to exhale as you pull the dumbbell towards you and inhale as you return to start.

In my next post, I'm starting a contest to giveaway a free copy of my new book, Forever Fit and Firm which is the source of all the exercises I've been showing you over the last few weeks.  I wrote this book geared towards fitness over age 40.  It contains all the exercises and routines that have worked best for both me and my clients in our quest to stay fit and firm as we age.  Stay tuned for the contest details in my next post and tell all your friends.