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Question
Posted by: Sue | 2007/05/28

Urgent - back toning

Hi doc, I was just wondering if you could recommend any upper back exercises that would help me fit into a dress rather urgently - am having trouble doing up the last bit of the zip. Am also on calorie controlled diet...

Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Sue

Doing specific exercises will not really provide much of a solution. Perhaps a tiny difference will be made, but in the longer term, you need to focus instead on losing all-round, not just targetting the back. Your diet is one step in this process. The problem is that by doing specific exercises for the area in question, you may even increase muscle mass and that could exaggerate the problem (depending on its exact nature). But more long term again, these exercises, have a relatively minor role, other than that they are responsible for developing the muscle in the area, which creates the appearance of being toned. That's obviously what you want, but you have to realise that you can't do the toning and specific work first and neglect the cardio - it has to work the other way around, cardio first, toning second. So focus on cardio, then on toning.

Diet is also very crucial, and if it's not 100% it will undermine any exercise benefits. So the best thing is to see a dietician or follow a very good diet plan. Just remember that low kilojoule is not necessarily better - too low causes problems as well, because it causes the body's metabolic rate to drop and that affects your ability to lose weight in the future. So don't try to starve yourself or go overboard, rather eat sensibly, cut out as much fat as you can, and listen to your body.

Good luck
Ross

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