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Back exercises to support your breasts

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

We've got your back

A strong upper and lower back is not only important for a healthy posture, it can even alleviate pain and tissue strain in your breasts. In addition to wearing a supportive bra, these back exercises will keep your shoulders straight, chest lifted, and help ease some of the pressure of gravity pulling you into a slump.

Woman with strong back

Poor posture hunches your body forward

Whether it's due to you having large breasts, wearing an unsupportive bra, or adopting the workaholic computer hunch over, a poor posture will excacerbate muscle and tissue strain throughout your body. If your normal stance is shoulders rolled in and your upper body at a forward lean, you are increasing your risk of upper body injury and, over the long term, unnecessary strain on your breast tissue, particularly if you have large breasts.

Back exercises

American Council on Exercise (ACE) spokesperson and fitness professional Sabrena Merrill, MS recommends upper and lower back exercises to open up your chest and pull your body into a more anatomically correct posture that will relieve the aches and pains caused by poor posture. Strong back muscles will also help you keep your chest raised high and radiating confidence. Here are Merrill's top five back exercises.

1. One-arm row and hip extension

One-arm row and hip extension Targeting the upper back with the row and the lower back with the hip extension, this exercise also works your core muscles as you maintain balance throughout the movement.

Start position: Get on your hands and knees with a dumbbell in your right hand and your left leg extended at the hip, keeping your knee straight.

Movement: Pull your right elbow upwards as you keep your elbow bent and row the weight upward while simultaneously lifting the straight leg. Squeeze the upper back muscles and the gluteal (rear) muscles of the extended leg. Lower to start position.

Perform 12 repetitions on each side.

2. Two-arm bent-over row

An effective move for strengthening the upper back muscles and shoulders, this exercise can also target your core muscles if you concentrate on pulling your belly button up to your spine throughout each set.

Start position: With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your legs hip-width apart and lean forward at the hips with your arms hanging straight down. Keeping your abs tight and your chest and tailbone lifted.

Movement: Lift your elbows up and back, keeping your elbows bent, and row both arms upward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine squeezing a grape between your shoulder blades, tightening the muscles of your upper and mid back. Return to start position without letting your shoulders roll forward.

Perform 12 repetitions.

3. On the ball prone back extension

Prone over the ball wide row Using a fitness ball for this back extension engages muscles throughout your body as you balance and lift your torso to work the back muscles.

Start position: Anchor your feet a little wider than shoulder-width under a cabinet or couch and place the ball under your lower abdominal area and hips. Place your hands behind your head and keep your shoulder blades pulled down and back as you keep your chest open.

Movement: Lift and lower your torso using your back muscles while you keep your legs extended and glutes tight. Pause at the top of the movement then lower to start position without disengaging your back muscles.

Perform 12 repetitions.

4. On the mat side bridge

Using only your body weight, this core exercise will strengthen your back, obliques and abdominals.

Start position: Lay on your right side on the floor. Get in a side-bridge position by leaning on one elbow and the same-side hips and legs.

Movement: Maintain a "hook" or "L" position with the lower body as you lift your torso up to create an apex at your hips. Lower your torso down and touch your hips to the floor with each repetition.

Perform 12 repetitions on each side.

5. Prone over the ball wide row

Prone over the ball wide row A full-body exercise, this move targets your arms and back with the row while working your core and leg muscles as they stabilize your body during the movement.

Start position: With a dumbbell in each hand, anchor your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart under a cabinet or couch and place the ball under your lower abdominal area and hips. Position your arms straight down from the shoulders with your wrists facing behind you.

Movement: Pull both arms upward leading with the elbows out wide and keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine (look at the floor in front of the ball as you row). As you row, squeeze the back of the shoulders and the muscles between the shoulder blades together. Lower to start position.

Perform 12 repetitions.

More exercises for a healthy posture

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