By Karen Voight, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:53 PM EDT, June 13, 2012
A common mistake people make when working out is to train only the muscles they can see like the chest, arms and legs. But don't forget about the important muscles in your back. Here are two ways you can target your midback and buttock muscles in a safe and effective way. Start with your arms to the side, and as you progress and get stronger, perform the second variation (also shown) with your hands behind your head.
1. Lie face down on a padded, level surface. Straighten your legs behind you with your feet at hips-width apart and legs parallel to each other. Bend your arms to the side with your elbows at shoulder height, palms flat on the floor. Slide your shoulder blades down your back away from your ears.
2. On an inhalation, press your pubic bone slightly toward the floor as you raise your chest, arms and head away from the floor. Simultaneously, raise your legs off the floor keeping your knees and toes facing down. Be sure your don't turn your legs out as this can cause your lower back to compress. Gaze slightly forward, keeping your shoulders down away from your ears. Pause in this position for 2-3 breathes lifting a little higher with each inhale. Return to the floor and repeat 6-8 times.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."
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