Happy Week 3, Challengers!  This week we will be talking about training back.  Back day might be my favorite day of training! Strong backs are so important since so many of us are chained to our desks for 8 to 10 hours per day for our jobs.  All of this sitting over a computer encourages the forward roll of our shoulders, tight chest muscles, and weak back muscles. The good news is that if you are already taking reformer classes and mat classes, you are working on your back strength.  Pilates is getting you there, and now we will just add in a few dumbbell exercises to compliment your current training. So, here we go:


  • One Arm Dumbbell Row: Place a dumbbell on each side of a flat bench or beside your coffee table, if that’s what you choose to use to help stabilize you throughout this exercise.  Place your right knee and your right hand on the bench, bringing your upper body parallel to the floor. With your left hand, pick up your dumbbell from the floor being sure to keep your core engaged and your lower back straight.  Keeping your palm facing your body, pull the dumbbell up, bringing your elbow up toward your hip. Your arm should remain close to your side and your upper body should remain quiet. With control, lower the weight to the starting point, and repeat the exercise.  Do 8 to 12 reps on each side for three to four sets. 
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Row: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.  Keeping your core engaged, bend from the waist until your upper body is approaching parallel to the floor, with your back remaining flat.  To begin, you can bend at a 45 degree angle, and work your way up to nearly parallel to the floor. Dumbbells should be in front of your thighs with your palms facing your thighs.  From this starting position, pull the elbows back as the dumbbells pull in toward your belly button area. Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position with control. Make sure to always have a slight bend at the knee throughout this exercise.  You never want to lock out the knees. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  • Bent Over Lateral Raise: Working the rear deltoids after rows, is a great way to round out your workout.  Begin with light weights. From a stand position, holding a dumbbell in each hand, engage your core and bend at the waist to either a 45 degree angle or more parallel to the floor.  Your back should remain flat. From this position, your arms hang in front of your body, while your palms face in toward each other. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells out to the side until your arms are nearly parallel to the floor.  Return to the starting position with control. Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

A strong back not only looks great and makes you feel strong, it helps support your posture and keeps you free of pain.  Enjoy training back, and please see me with any questions! Or, better yet, come to a TBT class where we do these exercises and we will workout together!