Recently have you noticed annoying bulges peeking out of the bra or extra bands of fat around your back muscles? These extra folds of skin above the waistline that look similar to love handles are called the "bra bulge". "One of the hardest areas to reach and tone is the back part of the arms and around the shoulder blades, also known as bra fat. The reason for that is most of the modern natural movements (we are no longer climbing trees in order to hide or reach fruits) are more focused on the front and side of the body and this area is harder to reach," Says Vesna P. Jacob, holistic fitness guru, physiotherapist, Pilates expert and author. She recommends the following exercises that will help tone your shoulders and back muscles and also make your collar bones more prominent.
"You should have an elastic band or a Thera band ideally, but if you don’t have one, an old stocking would work as well or any old piece of clothing that is slightly elastic. Do each exercise 15-20 times in a controlled manner," adds Vesna.
Chest Openers: "Hold the band behind the body, straighten the arms open the chest and lift your arms up and down while keeping the band tight. After twenty movements hold the arms up at the highest point and try to stretch the bands sideways. The movement should be controlled and done without compromising the posture."
Horizontal Overhead Push:
"Stand with feet shoulder width apart, bend the knees slightly and lean forward from the waist down so that your upper body is parallel to the floor as possible. Stretch out your arms over your head holding the ends of the bands in your hands keeping them in the same line as your back while keeping tension between the arms. Make sure in each part of the movement that the elbows stay parallel without either drooping or lifting up. Squeeze the shoulder blades throughout the movement and while pulling the band back above the head keep the arms as close to the head without getting entangled. You can also do the first exercise in this position."
Shaving the Back:
"Stay in the same starting position as before and push your arms back, bend your elbows and bring your hands close to your back and push out again as if you are trying to shave your back. This is an exercise which should be done carefully. Do double the number of repetitions as opposed to the other exercises. To make it more engaging combine it with a powerful and short breath where you inhale through the nose on one movement and exhale through the mouth powerfully while engaging your core on the other part of the movement."
Cat and Dog Stretch with Band:
"Get on your hands and knees with your weight evenly distributed while holding the band in your hands and the band looped over your shoulders with soft elbows so that you feel the elasticity of the band pushing you down. Exhale and push into the band by rounding your back. Inhale and come back to the starting position. Try to go as high and as low as your body allows you without ever losing your tension and control. Keep your core, back and arms engaged throughout."
Tricep Low and Overhead Extensions
"The following exercise is actually two exercises which can be done separately or alternatively. Take your pick, I like to play with the movements, so I would do five movements of only one, then do ten alternating between the two and then do the second one only and repeat this cycle four times. Sit on your knees if comfortable, alternately you can stand or sit in the chair. Hold the band in front of you and lift the right elbow up so the arms are creating a diagonal line. As you exhale stretch the lower arm down and diagonally and hold it for a moment.
The second exercise uses the same position, we just now focus on the other arm stretching it up and diagonally across."