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Makeover Monday: Back Circuit Challenge

Back Challenge
Back Challengefreeimages.com

If you are sick of your old sad and tired back routine that means you need a little bit of a push; something new and even better yet something that offers you a challenge. Here Laura Tarbell, creator of Pilates for Running DVD offers this back sculpting workout that is designed to create a beautifully toned back in an all-in-one, quick and effective circuit. “You will see and feel changes immediately from these functional, compound exercises that mimic basic body movements. “says Tarbell
Perform each exercise for the given number of repetitions without rest. Then recover for 30-60 seconds and repeat a total of 3-4 rounds total depending on your fitness level.

Pull-ups
Grip a pull-up bar with palms facing away from you slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Contract your core and slightly arch your back. From a hanging position, raise your chest to touch the bar, pause, and then slowly lower down. Perform each pull-up without momentum to effectively target the back. Do as many reps as you can.
Modification: Use the assisted pull-up machine, or perform a negative pull-up by jumping up so your chest touches the bar and slowly lower down with control.

Close Grip Row
Using a cable machine, set the close grip handle attachment at waist height. Step back into a half squat position, bracing your core, and extending your arms forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the handles toward your chest as far as possible while keeping your elbows close to your body. The motion should come from your upper back, not your arms or lower back. Keep your torso upright during the motion. To finish, slowly extend your arms to return to starting position. Do 12 reps.
Modification: Use a seated cable machine.

Straight Leg Inverted (Body Weight) Row
Lie on the floor underneath a bar then grab the bar with a wide overhand grip. Contracting your abs and keeping your body in a straight line, pull your chest up to the bar. Pause and slowly lower down, continue for 12 reps.
Modification: Bend the legs and place the feet flat on the floor.

Roman Chair Back Extension with Arm Raise
Hook your feet into a 45 degree back extension bench. Hold a plate in your hands at your chest and lower your upper body toward the floor. Contract the glutes and lower back to lift the upper body as far as possible without hyperextending. At the top, pause and straighten the arms to reach the weight overhead. Then slowly lower down to start position while bringing the weight in to your chest. Complete 12 reps.
Modification: Do not use a weight and/or omit the arm extension.

Crab Taps
Begin in a crab walk position. Keeping your hips high, lift your right leg straight up in the air and tap your right toes with the left hand. Return to crab position. Repeat with the left leg and right hand. This exercise recruits multiple core stabilizers and increases dynamic flexibility! Complete as many as possible in 30 seconds.
Modification: Keep your knees bent and touch your hand to your knee.