In this article, we will focus on 5 fundamental back muscle exercises. Firstly, let talk about some anatomy… the muscles of the back, which are grouped into the traps, middle back or rhomboids, lats and lower back:-

  • Traps — connect your shoulder muscles or deltoids to your back, support the arms, and is responsible for retracting and rotating the scapulae or shoulder blades.
  • Rhomboids — help you bring the scapulae together, and lend stability to the shoulder.
  • Lats — let you pull your arm down and back, and keep your elbow closed.
  • Lower back — largely responsible for stability of the spine, and form part of the core muscles.

Many of those who lift weights tend to neglect their back muscles, probably because they themselves cannot see them when they look in the mirror. However, a defined set of back muscles is not only highly attractive, but these are some of the bigger muscles found in your body, which contribute to more calorie burn during and after training sessions.

Furthermore, stronger back muscles can make a big difference in your posture and your overall ability to workout safer and more effectively down the road, even during daily activities outside the gym. The average bodybuilder aims for 3 things when developing the back muscles: a thicker upper back or more massive traps, wider lats, and a more defined lower back.

Novice bodybuilders can work on mastering the following 5 basic back muscle exercises that give results fast:-

 

Dumbbell Shrugs (Traps)

  1. Stand with your arms extended down your sides, with a dumbbell in both hands, and your palms facing mid-line.
  2. Lift the dumbbells by shrugging as high as possible. Hold the contraction for 1 second.
  3. Lower dumbbells back to starting position.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions

 

Seated V-Bar Cable Rows (Middle and Upper back)

  1. You will need a low pulley row machine with a V-bar. This will help you maintain a neutral grip with your palms facing each other.
  2. Sit down on the machine, plant your feet on the platform or crossbar in front, and make your knees are slightly bent. Do not lock your knees.
  3. Lean over, but maintain the natural alignment of your back, and grab the V-bar handles.
  4. Pull back until your torso is perpendicular to your legs. Your back should only be slightly arched, with your chest sticking out. Be sure the stretch is along your lats. This is your starting position.
  5. With a stationary torso, exhale while pulling the handles back towards your torso until you touch your abdominals. Focus on squeezing your back muscles and hold the contraction for 1 second.
  6. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

 

Bent Over Barbell Rows (Upper back)

  1. Hold your barbells with pronated palms. Bend your knees slightly and position yourself forward at your waist. Make sure that your back is straight and keep it parallel to the ground, with your head up.
  2. With a stationary torso, exhale as you lift the barbell towards you, all the while keeping your elbows close to your torso.
  3. Squeeze your back muscles and hold the contraction for 1 second before lowering back to starting position.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

Pullups (Whole back)

  1. The basic grip consists of grabbing the pull-up bar with your palms facing forward. For a medium grip, space your hands shoulder width apart. Both arms should be extended in front.
  2. Bring your torso back approximately 30 degrees. Form a slight arch in your back and stick your chest out. This is your starting position.
  3. Exhale while pulling your torso up until your head is above your hands. Concentrate on the squeeze in your shoulder blades.
  4. Inhale at the top before slowly lowering yourself to full arm extension.
  5. Try to build it up to 25 reps.

 

Pulldowns (Lats)

  1. You will need a pull-down machine and a wide bar set at the top pulley. Adjust the knee pad as necessary for your height to prevent your body from being raised.
  2. With palms facing forward, grab the bar. Space your hands past shoulder width for a wide grip, at shoulder width for a medium grip, and a little less than shoulder width for a narrow grip.
  3. Form a slight curve in your back, stick your chest out, lean back about 30 degrees. This is your starting position.
  4. Exhale as you pull the bar down to your upper chest, while pulling your shoulders and upper arms down and towards the back. Concentrate on the squeeze in your back muscles and do not allow your upper torso and forearms to move.
  5. Hold the contraction for 1 second and slowly raise the bar until your lats are fully stretched.
  6. 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

 

Beginners should avoid shocking your body with several sets of new back muscle exercises. Start with a good set of each on your chosen back day, then add one more every week until you reach 3 sets. In three months you should be able to progress to intermediate exercises and much heavier weights.

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