Home' D Fine Redland Lifestyle Magazine : November 2009 Contents 10 d'fine magazine November 10, 2009
SO WHAT shape are your latissimi dorsi in?
And while we're on the subject, how
about your rhomboids?
Even if you know what these words mean
(they're both muscles) or where they are (your
upper back), you may not give them a second
But there are good reasons why you should --
and vanity is one of them.
The latissimus dorsi -- or the lats -- is the big,
diamond-shaped muscle that fans out on either
side of your spine, giving your back width.
It's strong, toned lats that help create that
classic sexy V-shape that runs from shoulders to
waist -- and looks so good in a backless dress
Strength and conditioning coach Lisa Brooke
says: "Women worry about toning their triceps
and their abs because these are what they see
every day in the mirror but generally the back
gets neglected because we don't see it.
"Yet strengthening and toning the
rhomboids -- the muscles between your
shoulder blades -- really pays off in the looks
department, especially as you get older. If you
assume that pricey moisturiser is the most
important item in your anti-ageing kit, think
again -- it's not just the state of your skin that
advertises your age but also other, subtly
ageing changes to your body, like drooping
This is where having strong rhomboids can
"They are postural muscles and
strengthening them can have a huge effect on
counteracting the rounded shoulders that
come with sitting at a computer for eight hours
a day,"Brooke says.
"Hunching over a keyboard shortens the
pectoral muscles in your chest, causing the
back to get rounder and the rhomboids to get
weaker," she explains.
Vanity aside, a stronger upper back also
"It has a better range of movement and gives
your neck more support and it's less likely to be
injured, " she says.
There are several different ways to buff your
"Swimming is okay, as long as it's backstroke
or butterfly, but what's most effective is either
regular resistance training, using weights twice
a week, or doing two weekly sessions of Pilates
or yoga, which both help to lengthen muscles
and help counteract drooping, " Brooke
"Or you could do one weekly session of
resistance training and one of Pilates or yoga.
"A personal trainer can show you how to do
simple exercises with weights that strengthen
the upper back or, alternatively, you can use a
rowing machine -- it's a good cardio workout
and it strengthens your lats and rhomboids
(after all, it's the opposite of being hunched
over a keyboard).
Brooke suggests two or three sessions on a
rowing machine each week. But if you need to
shed back fat as well, muscle strengthening
alone won't melt it, she adds -- the antidote is to
lose weight all over with increased activity and
Bring sexy back into (rear) view
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