Build a Stronger Back - Oxygen Magazine

Build a Stronger Back

IFBB Bikini Pro and mother of two-year-old twins Ingrid Romero shares her winning do-anywhere back workout.
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When Ingrid Romero, 29, won her fourth bikini show and earned her pro card, she naively thought she was headed for the big-time. She held on to that hope for quite a while — until she realized no one was breaking down her door with offers. “It really opened my eyes that even though I won every one of my shows, it still was not life-changing,” she says. “So I decided to use my competitions for a better purpose, and used my journey and experience to make a living.” 

That’s when Romero and her husband, Joe, created Team Edge, an online group dedicated to coaching and prepping girls for competition. Their program covers everything from nutrition, to supplementation, to training, to posing and everything in between. Competitors can even order custom-made bikinis, which are hand-bejeweled by Romero herself.

Although she has 10- to 12-hour days, she fits in her workouts at odd hours. After all, as a mother of two-year-old twin boys, she is used to a busy life. “I was actually pregnant with them when I won my last show,” Romero says with a laugh. “I had no idea because I felt fine, other than retaining a little more water than usual. But then right after the show, I got sick and was in bed for four days! That was when we found out I was pregnant and that it was twins.”

She had a rough pregnancy and was on bed rest for several months in order to carry the babies; but instead of bemoaning her fate, she took action, started her team and expanded her brand. Once the babies were delivered, she had 50 pounds of baby weight to lose. With the help of her husband, who is a personal trainer, Romero devised a workout that incorporated two days of lower body, two days of upper body and two days of plyometrics and sprint work to whip her back into prime shape. In seven months, Romero was back in stellar shape and ready for anything. 

Ingrid’s Training Split

Monday: legs

Tuesday: chest, back, abs

Wednesday: plyometrics, core

Thursday: shoulders, biceps, triceps

Friday: legs

Saturday: off

Sunday: track workout

Ingrid Romero Back Workout

Barbell Deadlift

Setup: Stand behind a barbell with your feet hip-width apart and your toes underneath the bar. Take an overhand grip on the barbell about shoulder-width apart, and drop your hips while keeping your back straight. Your shins should be perpendicular to the ground, your focus forward.

Barbell Deadlift A

Move: Keeping your back straight, extend your legs and stand up, pulling the barbell up along the front of your body until you’re standing upright. Reverse the move and slowly return to the start. Touch the barbell to the floor and go right into the next rep.

Tip: Using a flip-grip —in which one hand is under and one hand is over the bar — creates more stability and can help you lift heavier weight.

One-Arm Dumbbell Ball Row

One Arm Dumbbell Ball Row A
One Arm Dumbbell Ball Row B

Setup: Stand behind a stability ball and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Place your left hand on top of the ball and step forward with your left leg. Bend forward with a straight back and extend your right arm straight toward the ground, palm facing inward.

Move: Keeping yourself steady on the ball, drive your elbow up and back to pull the weight up toward your rib cage. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blade toward the center of your back, then slowly lower to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tip: Keep your shoulders and hips square to target the back and keep your body stable on the ball.

V-handle Barbell Row

V-Handle Barbell Row A

Setup: Place the end of an Olympic bar in the corner and secure a V-handle underneath the opposite end. Straddle the barbell and hold the handle with your arms straight. Fold forward with a straight back until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor.

Move: Keeping your torso steady, drive your elbows up and back to pull the bar into your abdomen. At peak contraction, pause and then slowly lower to the start under control.

Tip: If you don’t have a V-handle, a towel works just as well. To maintain your body position, tighten your knees.

Lying Band Flye

Lying Band Flye A

Setup: Lie faceup and secure a band around one foot. Extend that foot into the air and place the other leg flat on the floor. Hold an end of the band in each hand, arms extended straight above your chest.

Move: Keeping your arms straight, open them to the sides until they almost touch the floor. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then slowly return to the start, resisting the band on the return.

Tip: This move can also be performed standing, with the band secured in a door atshoulder height.

Stability Ball Slow Swimmer

Stability Ball Slow Swimmer A
Stability Ball Slow Swimmer B

Setup: Lie on your belly across a stability ball so your back is as straight as possible.

Move: Extend one leg and your opposite arm so they are straight and parallel to the floor. Pause and hold for one breath, then lower to the start. Continue, alternating sides, keeping your head neutral.

Tip: Make sure the ball you use is appropriate to your height and limb length; smaller women should use the 140 to 165 cm ball, while taller women can go for the
165 to 185 cm ball.

Photography by Robert Reiff

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