FIRE (Focused Intense Resistance Exercise) the Fountain of Youth for Women!
Sexy is back, and nothing beats a strong, sexy Back!
So this week’s Rapid Sculpt FIRE Workout, is focusing on the primary muscles of the middle back, particularly the latissimus dorsi (Lats). With a heavy emphasis on maximizing strength and executing control through the recruitment of the shoulder/ scapula area with every repetition performed.
Here are the exercises and workout objectives:
V-Bar pulldowns (4 sets, 12, 10, 6, 6 reps)
One arm DB rows - 3 sets (10, 8, 6), each arm
Wide grip (unassisted) pull ups/chin ups - 3 sets (10-6 reps)
Suspended knee raises - 3 sets (15 reps)
V-Bar (Close Grip) Pull Downs
Adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. Grab the V-bar with the palms facing each other (a neutral grip). Stick your chest out and lean yourself back slightly into Neutral spine position (around 30-degrees) in order to better engage the lats.
Starting from this position, using your lats, pull the bar down towards your chest. Squeeze /contract your shoulder blades, and keep elbows in tight towards the side of your body. Slowly return back to starting position. Pause; repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Once set is completed, increase weight.
- Keep your body stationary throughout the exercise.
- Keep your elbows close to your body.
- Avoid the temptation to use a weight so big that you need to start swinging your torso in order to perform the exercise.
One Arm Dumbell Rows
With the dumbbell on each side of a flat bench, place your right hand and your right knee on the flat bench. Getting into the correct starting position, lock back into neutral spine position, (switch on core stabilizers – abs and lower back). Ensure stomach is parallel to the weight bench, chest up, extend supporting right arm onto bench, palm facing flat, and bend right knee to 90° angle.
Your left leg is extended and placed out wide (slightly wider than your shoulder), with a soft bent knee, and then transfer/shift your body weight away from the bench onto the left leg. You can see how I adjust my position in the video before starting. With your left arm, grasp the dumbbell, palm facing towards you. Bring the dumbbell back towards your hip. Keep your arm in tight towards your body, and your elbows to just under 90 degrees.
It’s important to note, that this exercise is not about how high the dumbbell is raised, it’s how you engage and recruit your lats when performing this exercise. Pause for second, contract and squeeze the lats, then slowly lower the dumbbell until your arm is straight down and your elbow has only a slight bend. Repeat for a full set of repetitions and then switch sides.
- Focus on using your back muscles for this exercise, not your arms. Your lifting arm is just a lever.
- Keep your elbows tucked in, try not to flare them out.
- Keep your back straight with a natural arch. Neck should be in line with your spine.
Wide Grip Chin Ups (unassisted)
Facing a pull up bar, grasp the handles with your palms facing away (pronated grip) from you, slightly wider than the width of your shoulders.
Switch your core on (abs/lower back muscles) and raise your chest with a slight curve to your lower back.
Raise your body weight up towards the bar. Do not roll your shoulders, keep them locked in place and initiate the movement by using/contracting the lats. Focus on depressing shoulder blades down. Hold and contract for a moment, then lower your body extending arms and return back to the starting position. Repeat movement for a complete set.
- You should lift your torso using only your arms while keeping the torso itself stationary.
- Keep head up, eyes looking up.
- Don’t cross your feet, keep your legs straight and relaxed.
Suspended/Hanging Leg Raises (one of my favourite core stabilizing strengthening exercises)
To get into position, place your arms into the harnesses, lift your body up until arms are bent to 90 degrees. Hang for a moment, to allow the momentum to disappear. Before you start you must have your body still and your legs straight.
Slowly raise your legs to 90 degrees, remember to keep your legs straight. Lower your legs and repeat. The duration should be slow so as to use no momentum, try 5 - 8 seconds up, 5 - 8 down. Ensure to stay upright and avoid slouching your shoulders.
Alternately, if you don't have harnesses, you can perform this exercise from hanging from the bar. Grab the parallel bar (arms slightly wider than your shoulders.) If straight legs is too difficult, then bend your legs and raises your knees to hip level.
- Keeping the arms locked: you really need to concentrate on this but you should not have to focus on this, as this is not the exercise.
- To intensify the exercise, try pushing your thighs together (use a plastic water bottle); this will create a more powerful contraction of the mid section.
There you have it – a workout to help sculpt a strong, shapely, sexy back in less then 45 minutes.
Rapid Sculpt FIRE workouts are designed for those after fast, efficient and effective body sculpting results along with the functional strength required for a busy, active life.
Love your Body!