There is no doubt about it: Jennifer Lawrence stunned at the 88th Academy Awards last night in a sheer black lace gown by Dior. Not to take anything away from the dress, butÂ part of the reason it looked so fabulous on Jennifer (aside from the fact that she is in incredibleÂ shape) was becauseÂ her posture was perfectly on point.
âI tell all of my clients, 'Shoulders back, chest up, chin tucked,'â says Dalton Wong, author ofÂ The Feelgood PlanÂ ($22, amazon.com), director of the Twenty Two Training studio in London,Â and, yes, JLawâs trainer. âIt automatically makes you feel amazing.â
You know what else makes women feel amazing? A banging body. For that, Wong has his female clients, includingÂ Jennifer, do exercises that targetÂ the posterior chainÂ (muscles and ligaments in the back of the body) which never seems to make it onto our gymÂ to-do list.Â Here are three ways Wong suggests you work that rear view.
Incorporate rowing motions
Think: low, medium, and high cable rows. âThese are good strength training exercises that work your back and will pull your shoulder blades down, which also lifts breasts too,â says Wong, who advises against theÂ rowing machine in this instance.Â No access to a cable machine? Try this dumbbell-based balance rowÂ instead:Â Start on hands and knees, with a 5-pound dumbbell in left hand. Extend right leg and lift it to hip height. Bend left elbow; draw weight up until even with torso. Lower weight. This is one rep. Do 12-15 then switch sides.
Perk up postural muscles
âImagine your back, you have the deep muscles that help keep shoulder blades down and the little postural muscles that hold you in place while you are working, and you need to do both of those,â says Wong. To challengeÂ those postural muscles, you'll have to channel your inner yogi for poses like cobra, andÂ hold them for at leastÂ 60 secondsÂ to get the benefits.Â To do cobra, lieÂ on your stomach. Place your hands near your shoulders or slightly forward and start to lift your upper body off the mat. Keep your pubic bone on the mat and make sure your shoulders are down and away from your ears. Hold for one minute.
Build that butt...
â¦And your hamstrings too. Women are veryÂ quad dominant, explains Wong, and tend toÂ naturallyÂ useÂ their quadricepsÂ over theirÂ their butt orÂ hamstrings. âHaving a strong butt makes it looks nice and perky, but it also helps prevent back pain," he says. "And stronger hips help control how well your knees moves.âÂ Wongâs suggestion for bringing sexy back: step-ups and hip extensions.
Step-ups:Â Step up onto a low bench or stair with your right foot, and then bring up your left foot. Step back down, right foot first. Do 20 reps; then repeat, starting with your left foot. Too easy? Make the move more challenging by holding a dumbbell at your shoulder with your right arm when stepping with your left leg, and your left arm when stepping with your right leg.
Single-leg hip-ups:Â Rest your back on a Swiss ball, with right foot on the floor and left foot extended straight out, foot flexed (A). Lift hips so that body forms a straight line from chest to foot (B). Lower back to "A." Do 10 to 12 reps, then switch legs and repeat.Â This is just one variation on aÂ hip extension. Find one you love to hate!