How to Tone Your Back Like a Red Carpet Regular

Ellie Kemper in Naeem Khan, Taylor Schilling in Ralph Lauren, and Kate Hudson in Versace at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards (Left to Right).
Photo: Getty Images

Backs are so hot right now. At the 2015 Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night, a handful of celebrities sauntered down the red carpet in backless numbers. Taylor Schilling and Lena Dunham both wore red gowns that revealed their toned backs (custom Ralph Lauren and Zac Posen respectively); Rosamund Pike’s strappy Vera Wang and Kate Hudson’s bedazzled Versace dresses featured cut-outs that exposed serious skin; Kate Mara wore a custom Miu Miu racerback; and Ellie Kemper sparkled in an open-back geometric Naeem Khan gown. Though each dress was decidedly different, the ladies had one thing in common: their tightly toned backs. “Open back equals confidence,” celebrity trainer and fitness expert Ashley Borden tells Yahoo Style. “It's a sexiness that is not so in your face, but still very tantalizing and elegant at the same time.” So how does one achieve such a sculpted rear? Borden, a Los Angeles-based fitness guru, shared four things you need to know about toning your backside.

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1. It’s all about pulling. Borden always includes pulling moves in every one of her client’s workouts. “Pulling is essential to keeping the body balanced, upright and the added benefit is a sexy looking back!”

2. Pull-ups should become your new BFF. Seated rows and dead lifts, too. Everyone has done a pull-up at some point in his/her life, but if you haven’t attempted the exercise in a while, it’s time to give it another try. Pull-ups and seated rows (on a row machine) are two easy exercises that work the width of the back (bra fat area!). Close grips—holding weights above your head and pulling down to goal post arms—work the muscles closer to the spine and in the center of your back, and deadlifts tone the lower back. Borden recommends investing in a super band to help you get back on your pull-up game.

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3. Mirror Body Syndrome does exist. Most people overlook their backs because they don’t see them every day. Borden says it’s because they suffer from Mirror Body Syndrome, only working what they can see in the mirror.

4. The benefits go beyond just looking sexy naked. It goes without saying that having a toned back looks great, but that’s just an added bonus. “You’ll have more upright posture, a slimmer waistline, and overall, better body composition,” says Borden. “A stronger body means a more capable person!”

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Try Borden’s tried and true three-part back-sculpting routine. Repeat three to four rounds of all three moves.

Lat pull downs using a machine. (10 repetitions)
1. Start with a grip a bit wider than your shoulder 
2.  Pinch your lower shoulder blades together before you pull down
3. Pull bar or to top of the sternum. Pause for a 2 count and being back to start position in a controlled manner.

If it’s not hard to pull down after 10x, increase your weight. TIP: Keep your shoulders away from your ears during the entire move!

Seated row using a band or a machine. (10 repetitions)
1. Start with a grip with palms facing inward. Holding the band or bar, push shoulders down away from your ears and pinch lower shoulder blades.
2. Pull the handle all the way to your belly button with elbows brushing against your sides.
3. Pause for one second and return to start position.

If it’s not hard to pull down after 10x, increase your weight. TIP: Don’t let elbows flair out when you are pulling.

Hyper extensions on the floor. (10 repetitions)
1. Start lying face down on the ground with feet pointed and hands overlapping each other and together.
2. Place the back of your hands to your forehead with eyes facing the ground. 
3. Before you move, pull belly into spine and tuck your bottom into the floor.
4. Simultaneously lift upper torso and legs slightly off the ground, hold for a three count, and return to start position.

TIP: Don’t let your tummy dump into the ground when you are lifting your torso and legs slightly off the ground!