Let’s first get to know your back muscles.
- Latissimus dorsi (lats); in the area below your armpits down the sides of your back
- Rhomboids; in the mid-upper back
- Trapezius (traps); run from your neck to your mid-back
- Erector spinae; run along your spine
Working out your back muscles will not only tone and strengthen your upper body, but improve your day-to-day life, and pretty much assist in every movement you do.
Every action that involves pulling, lifting and carrying will benefit from having strong back muscles. On top of this, carrying out a regular back workout routine will also improve your posture, protect your shoulders and reduce your risk of injury.
Having a weak back directly links to neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain and in some cases, lower confidence, but in every-day life and at the gym.
You’ll need a barbell and a sufficient amount of weight, keep it light for your first few tries and focus more on your form.
1. First, stand with your feet hip-width apart under your barbell, bend over and pick up the bar. Your palms should be facing down, with a medium- grip.
2. Make sure your legs are not locked, your chest is lifted and your back is straight.
3. Pull the bar towards you, until it touches your lower chest. Hold for a few seconds, then lift back down.
A great exercise that works your back and upper arms. Can either be done on a seated row machine, cable row machine or by pulling a resistance band. It works your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius and your biceps - focusing mainly on your lats and rhomboids.
1. Sit upright on the bench and press your feet on the floor, foot pad while you’re using a machine, with your knees bent.
2. Grip on your handle or cable and move your shoulders back and down, with your chest high and core strong.
3. Pull the handle or cable towards you, by bending your elbows and pause, then slowly return to starting position.
Keep your elbows tucked in and your back neutral throughout.
The “go-to” back exercise. With great back-boosting benefits, the one-arm barbell row allows you to put all your energy on your form and that mind to muscle connection. Building your lats, traps and more.
You’ll need a bench to lean on a dumbbell of your choice.
1. First, put one of your legs on the bench and hold on to the top for support.
2. Bend over so your upper body is parallel with the ground, then reach down and pick up the dumbbell.
3. With a neutral grip, and facing towards, extend your arm out in front of you, keeping your back straight.
4. Slowly lower the dumbbell to your chest.
5. Lower the dumbbell slowly until your arm is fully extended again.
Repeat on the other side.
Grab a barbell and set it up with a weight of your choice. Again, your first few times doing the exercise, the focus should more be on your form than the amount you are lifting, so start light.
1. With the barbell on the floor, stand with your feet under the bar at hip-width apart.
2. Lean down and grip the bar, your palms facing towards you with a medium grip.
3. Engage your core and use your lats to pull the barbell to your chest, and repeat.
Don't elevate your shoulders or allow your hips to come forward.
Using only gravity as resistance, the back extension machine requires you to face the floor with thighs on the pad, letting your spine extend upward.
To start, you must set up the back extensions machine pad so that it is just below your hips.
1. When you are safely set up on the machine, bend your knees and extend your arms towards the floor.
2. To move yourself back up, engage your core, slide your shoulders back and exhale until your shoulders, spine and hips are in line.
If it is your first time using this machine we recommend a session with a personal trainer to help with your form.
It's time to master the pull up:
1. Start by standing directly below a pull-up bar, and place your hands in an overhand grip, slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
2. Lift your feet from the floor so you're hanging from the bar, engage your core and pull your belly in towards your spine.
3. Pull your shoulder back and down, as if you are needing to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades.
4. It's time to pull up! Engage your arms and back, bend your elbows and raise your upper body up towards the bar with your chin over the bar.
5. Then, extend your elbows and lower your body back down to the starting position.
Once you have conquered to pull up, kick it up a notch with a chin up.
1. Like a pull up, stand under a pull-up bar and grasp the bar at shoulder-width apart.
2. Engage your core, your glutes and take a deep breath. Pull your shoulders back and down and drive the elbows straight down to the floor.
3. Pull your chin in toward the bar until the lats are fully contracted, then slowly lower yourself back to the start position.