Back in Action

By Kristen Dollard, Photographs by Michael E.

Increase your back strength with these yoga poses


Most of us can't even find our lats. That's okay. Yoga doesn't require you to know where they are, because the back work is built in. A hint on how to get ripped where it's hard to reach: "Recruit the upper back muscles between the shoulder blades when you transition into Upward Facing Dog,'' says Michael Lechonczak, cofounder of Intelligent Yoga in New York City. "Then you are getting into that deep, deep fascia, and you'll get results."

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Muhka Svanasana)

This will crop up often in class as part of the flowing Sun Salutation, but do it alone here to isolate those back muscles. Lie face-down, tops of your feet on the mat. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your lower ribs. Now push up, straightening your arms, without locking your elbows, and lifting both your legs and upper body into the air. Arch your chest upward, lifting the sternum. Keep elbows in, close to your sides. Hold this for 5 to 10 breaths, then slowly lower yourself back down. Do one set of 10, and try to work up to 15 over time.


16 Aug 2008, 13:36
As a personal trainer I must comment that these postures definitely strengthen back muscles, but it is deceiving to say they "blast back fat". Cardio vascular exercise burns the calories and creates the energy deficit to reduce stored fat in the back and every other body part.

To reduce back fat, and all fat, one must perform aerobic exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day for 3 days per week. These postures will help to develop the muscle that will make a lean back look toned and shapely as well as supportive of everyday activity.Most importantly vary workouts and incorporate many different exercises to avoid plateaus and injuries.For more info visit All About You Exercise and Weight Management at

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