The back is an important part of your body to develop for both aesthetic and functional reasons. It’s easy to forget about the back because the first things we see in the mirror are our pecs, abs and biceps. However, the back plays just as important a role as any other major muscle group.
For aesthetics, building muscle in your back adds overall thickness to your body and gives you that V-shape that makes you look great whether at the pool or wearing a t-shirt. For function, your back serves as a major stabilizer, it improves your posture and it helps you avoid injury. Women also receives these same health benefits plus they develop a more apparent hourglass figure.
Back Muscle Building Exercises Techniques
Form is important in all lifts, but it is especially important when working on your back muscles. Make sure you practice very strict form when practicing the techniques described on this page. Improper form leads to injuries, and back injuries can affect your entire lifestyle.
You do not need to put your back at risk of a blowout just to add a few extra pounds to the barbell. Nobody else in the gym gives a rat’s behind how much you lift, so don’t feel obligated to jump right in there and slap five weights on each end of the bar. In the early stages of back building, it is highly recommended that you start out lower than you know you can and focus your energy on developing perfect form.
The deadlift is an incredibly powerful exercise that focuses on the lower back but provides benefits to the entire body. In addition to the lower back, deadlifts provide benefits to the calves, lats, forearms, hamstrings, glutes, traps and middle back. This is easily the most underused exercise in the world of muscle building.
Having said that, the deadlift does carry potential risks. Serious back injuries can occur if strict form is not practiced at all times. Remember to always follow perfect form with the deadlift and do not get into a big rush to move up in weights.
A deadlift is performed by placing a barbell on the floor and loading it with the appropriate weight. Now stand in front of the barbell with your feet about shoulder-width apart. While keeping your entire back perfectly straight, bend with your knees and lean forward at your waist to grip the barbell with an alternating grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand).
Now lift the barbell up to slightly-lower-than waist level by pushing down with your feet and straightening the rest of your body. When you reach the top position, hold your chest out with your shoulder blades back. Your knees, upper body and the barbell should all stop at the same moment if done correctly.
Now lower the bar back down to the floor by bending at the knees and leaning forward slightly at the waist. Take caution and remember to keep your spine straight at all times. Injuries may occur if you let your back round out at any point in the lift.
Pullups are great for building the lats and biceps. A pullup is performed by facing a pullup bar and grasping it with a palms-forward grip. Your hand should be placed at shoulder width or wider. Now pull yourself up until your upper chest touches the pullup bar and then slowly let yourself back down again.
Focus on your lats when you do this exercise and give them an extra squeeze at the top of each repetition. Pullups are not easy at first, but you will improve rapidly. If your own body weight becomes insufficient to challenge you, you can use a weight belt to add resistance to your pullups.
Close Grip Seated Cable Rows
This exercise works the middle back and is performed at a seated row cable machine. Attach a V-bar to the cable and sit down on the bench with your back straight and knees slightly bent and feet on the footrest.
Now grip the V-bar with your palms facing each other and slowly pull the V-bar inward towards your body. Slowly return the V-bar to the starting position. The rest of your body should remain stationary.
This is a lower back exercise that is safe and easy to do. Find a hyperextension bench and lie face down on the bench with your feet tucked beneath the footrest. Now adjust the upper pad so that it is about at waist level and gives you enough room to bend all the way forward.
Now that you’re all settled in, the hyperextension is performed by bending at the waist and leaning forward and over the pad. Go as far down as you can without straining yourself or rounding out your back. Now slowly return back to the starting position. You can also hold a weight to your chest for increased resistance.
One Arm Dumbbell Rows
This exercise works the middle back and is also fairly safe and simple. Start this exercise by placing your right palm and right knee on a flat bench with your torso bent so that it is parallel to the floor. Keeping your entire back straight, pick up a dumbbell with your palm facing inwards and your arm hanging down at the side. This is the starting position.
Now lift the dumbbell up to the side of your body while keeping the rest of your body strationary. You should also concentrate on using your back to do as much of this exercise as possible. It is easy to get tired and let your arm do all the work. Switch sides and repeat this exercise with your other hand.