Best Back Exercises for More Muscle, Strength, and More

It is not one of the “mirror muscle” — the parts of your body visible in your mirror, such as the chest, shoulders and arms — but a strong back will help balance your body. Strong backs will improve functionality and help you perform other exercises like the deadlift, bench press, and shoulder presses.

It’s very easy to just walk into a gym and grab a back machine. Then, you can haphazardly do a piecemeal workout. These four back workouts are tailored to your specific needs if you want to get the most out of your back training.

The Best Back Exercises

For more muscle, do the Best Back Workout

To add muscle to your back, you will need to lift a lot of weight and perform reps that you aren’t used to. Hypertrophy training ( building muscle) involves recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible, then fatiguing them so that they can recover and adapt to growing in size.

Strength-focused training focuses on a handful of compound exercises. However, you need to train for larger muscles using a variety different angles.

The Back-Building Workout

This plan is meant to increase your muscle mass. This plan is not meant to lose the most weight. It is important to keep a strict form when doing exercises.

You want to stimulate muscle fibers the most and shift the stress away from your biceps onto the back. Make sure that you are performing each rep in a textbook manner. Instead of pulling with your arms, focus on pulling your back with your elbows.

Wide-Grip Pull-up

  • How to Do it: Grab a pull-up rod with an overhand grip, just outside your shoulder-width. Begin the movement by bending your arms slightly and taking a deep breath in. By arching your back, pull your chest towards the bar. Avoid swinging your legs. Lower under control.
  • Sets & Reps: 30 total representatives. Make as many sets as you need.
  • Rest time: Two minute intervals between sets.

Straight-Arm Cable Pulldown

  • How to do it: Stand in front a long cable that has a straight bar attached. Grab the handle with your overhand that is slightly wider than your shoulders. Start by bringing the handle towards your pelvis. Keep your arms straight. Once the bar is at your thighs, contract and squeeze for one second. Then slowly return to the original position.
  • Reps and Sets: 3×15
  • Rest time: 1 minute between sets.

Bent-Over Barbell Row

  • How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart in front of the barbell. Your hips should be bent at the hips. Do not round your back. Grab the bar with your palms down, shoulder-width. Keep the weight lifted until it reaches your belt-line. You should keep your back flat and not round throughout the whole rep.
  • Reps and Sets: 3x 10-15
  • Rest time: Between sets, one to two minutes.

Close-Grip Pulldown

  • This is how to do it: Attach a narrow and parallel-grip handle at an overhead pulldown cable machine. Keep your hands in front of you and pull the weight towards your chest. Your torso should remain straight while you slightly arch your back. Keep your shoulders together at the bottom. Then, return to the original position by raising your arms above your head.
  • Reps and Sets: 3x 10-15
  • Rest time: 1 minute between sets.

Dumbbells for Best Back Workout

Some people don’t have the means to access a fully-stocked gym. Some lifters prefer to work out at home.

You don’t need much equipment to create a strong back if you fall into any of these categories. You can create a great back routine with very little equipment if you are creative and determined.

The Dumbbell Back Workout

Do not be deceived into believing that you need a pulldown station, pulldown, row machine, heavy barbell or chin-up bar in order to train your back. If done correctly, an all-dumbbell program can be just as effective and efficient as a multi-equipment one. You’ll see the best results if you pay attention to form as well as function.

Cross-Bench Dumbbell Pullover

  • How to do it: Lie flat on your back, perpendicularly on a bench. Your upper back should not touch the pad. Your head and abdomen should hang over the benches. Place your feet on the bench and bend your legs so that you can draw a straight line from where your head meets your knees. Place your hands on the dumbbell and support it above your chest. Keep your arms bent throughout the rep. Next, lower the dumbbell in an arc behind your head and take a deep breathe. As you get to the end of the movement, feel your lats stretching. Inhale and reverse the motion, pulling the weight upwards in the same direction.
  • Reps and Sets: 3×12
  • Rest time: 1 minute between sets.

Dumbbell Row for Chest Support

  • How To Do It: Adjust a bench so that it is at a low angle (30 degrees). Place your chest on the pad and place your head on the bench. Place a pair dumbbells on each side. Row the dumbbells until you reach your waist, but don’t raise your upper body from the bench. Before returning to the stretched position, squeeze at the top.
  • Reps and Sets: 3x 10-15
  • Rest time: 1 minute between sets.

 

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