We all have that outfit — the one sitting in our closet, waiting for its debut on our born-this-way silhouettes. And the last thing we need is any reason, like a surprise bra bulge, to undermine our confidence and cause us to shy away from feeling strong and beautiful.
While targeting the bra bulge may seem like it’s all about looking smokin’ in an outfit, it’s really also a win-win for your health. Your back is part of your core (just like your abs) and is vital for daily movement and maintaining a good, healthful life. So practicing these strengthening exercises can help improve your posture, stability, and balance, and combat low-back pain.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your mat, a few dumbbells, and two small towels, then schedule this routine into your calendar.
After your cardio sessions, hit the weights. Try these five exercises by completing 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, then proceed to the next.
Do this three times:
- 10 pullups
- 10 bent-over dumbbell rows
- 10 inverted row
- 10 Pilates overhead press
- 10 arm slides
Saying goodbye to stubborn back fat isn’t a quick fix, but the results can be a spring time joy after you unveil your newly toned muscles.
We wish you could spot reduce everything that peeks out from around your bra, but it’s just not possible! To tone all the areas your bra touches and reduce overall fat, it also takes a well-balanced diet and regular cardio.
A pullup is one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises you can perform. It works your entire back, namely your lats, which lie underneath that pesky bra bulge. Jump on the assisted pullup machine to build up your strength and become a pullup pro.
Equipment needed: Assisted pullup machine
- Start by hanging from the pullup bar with your arms straight and hands shoulder-width apart.
- Pull yourself up by bending your elbows and pulling them toward the floor. Once your chin passes the bar, lower back down to the start.
If you don’t have access to a pullup machine, you can also try one of the arm alternatives from this guide.
Bent-over dumbbell rows
Another exercise that targets your lats, bent-over dumbbell rows will probably be a bit easier than pullups, but don’t let that fool you — you’ll still get a lot of bang for your buck.
Equipment needed: 2 dumbbells starting with 10 pounds if you’re a newbie
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hinge at the waist so your upper body is bent at a 45-degree angle toward the ground. Your arms should hang in front of you, perpendicular to the ground.
- Keeping your head and neck neutral, back straight, and stabilizing your core, bend your elbows and lift the dumbbells up toward your sides, keeping your elbows close to your body.
- When the dumbbells hit your waist, pause and squeeze your back muscles (your lats and rhomboids) before slowly releasing your arms back down to the starting position.
You can also do this in a lunge position for a more intense workout.
When working your back you can’t forget the lower part. In this 2013 study of 73 healthy young females who performed a dynamic back extension exercise 3 times a week for 10 weeks, there were significant increases in muscle strength and spinal extension range of motion. Sign us up!
Equipment needed: none
- Lie face down on the ground with your arms extended out in front of you, your head relaxed, and the tops of your feet on the ground.
- To complete the move, simultaneously raise your legs and arms a few inches off the ground without raising your head. Pause for a second or two at the top, then return back to start.
Pilates overhead press
The overhead press works your shoulders as well as your upper back. Plus, because this move is performed sitting on the floor, you’ll be engaging your core in a big way.
Equipment needed: two light dumbbells, 5 or 10 pounds each
- Start by sitting on the ground with your legs bent and the soles of your feet touching in front of you.
- With a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing out, start with the weights resting at shoulder height.
- Bracing your core, extend your arms, pushing the weights up and away from you. You should feel this in your lats.
- Return to the start position and repeat.
As we said earlier, your back is considered part of your core, and the arm slide is a great way to work it. As the name indicates, it also gives your arms a run for their money, so it’s a win-win in our book.
Equipment needed: sliders or a similar tool, like paper plates or two small towels, plus a mat
- Assume the starting position on the mat, on all fours with the sliders underneath your hands.
- Tighten your abs and begin to push your hands out in front of you as far as you can go without touching the ground. Ensure that your core stays engaged and your hips don’t sag.
- Slowly return to the starting position by pulling your hands back in toward your chest.
Of course, there could be another culprit to bra bulge. And this would be a fantastic case of “it’s you, not me.” So ask yourself: Am I wearing the right size bra? Turns out, 80 percent of women aren’t. Get a professional fitting or use a bra size calculator to ensure you’re not unknowingly causing bulge with the incorrect size.
Once you have that squared away, continue to focus on diet, cardio, and strength training. You’ll be saying buh-bye to bra bulge in no time, which is really just the bonus win to having a sexy back that’s got your back on feeling good, and standing tall and proud in your own skin.
Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.