Did you know that your back muscles are the second largest muscle group in your body? This fact makes it all the more important for you to put some serious effort in training and building your back muscles. The best back strengthening exercises will definitely pay off whether you are aiming to look better in your shirts or you simply want to burn up more calories. Developing your back muscles can even help you increase your overall functional strength and develop good posture.
Specifically, the best back strengthening exercises can help you easily pick up any heavy object from the ground, especially when a strong back works in unison with a strong pair of legs. A stronger back will also allow you to move more easily in any direction, but most especially when you need to pull yourself up. Finally, working your back is a very good way of correcting any muscle imbalance you may be experiencing as a result of focusing too much on chest exercises. What’s best is that back strengthening exercises help you burn as many calories as you do when exercising your legs.
Before we discuss what the best back strengthening exercises are, it may do you good to familiarize yourself with the anatomy and functionality of your back muscles. This way, you will have a better understanding of why such exercises are considered the best for back strengthening. For our purposes, we will focus the discussion on the middle and upper back.
Even with your shirt on, you can still see the two major muscle groups in your middle and upper back. These muscle groups are known as the latissimus dorsi (lats, for short) and the trapezius (also called traps). The lats runs from your armpits to your waist. This is the muscle group you see when people strike a lat spread bodybuilding pose. The traps are those muscles that start at the base of your skull, run through both sides of your neck as well as above your shoulders and then extend in a diamond shape to the middle of your back.
Another muscle, known as the levator scapulae or scapula, works in conjunction with your lats and traps. Now, you will recognize that an individual is serious about training his back muscles when he appears to have no neck because his traps are fully developed. If a person has flat traps, it usually means that he does not spend much time in free weight exercises such as deadlifts, barbell rows, and barbell shrugs. Such a pity, since these are counted among the best back strengthening exercises.
Your back is also composed of some smaller muscles which are secondary to your lats and traps. These muscles are the teres major, teres minor, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and rhomboideus or simply rhomboids. They are stimulated when you perform vertical and horizontal training exercises for your lats. The serratus is another back muscle that is also visible from the front, as it wraps around your body. Many people wish to train this muscle directly and the best back strengthening exercises for that are dumbbell and barbell pullovers.
Now that we have sufficiently discussed the anatomy of your back, it’s time to talk about its functions. The primary function of your lats is to pull your arm down towards your pelvis. Subsequently, when you perform back strengthening exercises with your arms in a fixed position such as pull-ups, the function of the lats is to bring your body up towards your arm. The lats serve the same function both times, except that it works from opposite directions. Your lats also serve to keep your torso stabilized during movements like the flat bench press and the overhead press.
For its part, your traps facilitate the elevation of your scapula. This function is best demonstrated when you shrug your shoulders. It also serves to facilitate scapular adduction in rowing and scapular depression in performing pull-downs. The traps often work in conjunction with the lats as well as the smaller muscles of your back, especially when you perform rowing and pull-down movements.
Now that you know more about the anatomy and functions of your middle and upper back muscles, you’re ready to learn what the best back strengthening exercises are. Here are the top three exercises you can do to develop your back muscles:
1. Bent-over Barbell Rows
Start this exercise by standing on a box with a weighted barbell. It is necessary to stand on a box so as to prevent the barbell from hitting the floor when you bend over. Take a shoulder-width stance for conventional barbell rows.
To start the movement, pull the bar up until it touches your chest. Make sure that the movement is controlled by your back muscles rather than your arms. Keep your head up, your elbows tucked in, and your back straight when you pull the bar up and be sure not to bounce it on your chest.
Next, keep your head up, back straight, and knees slightly bent as you slowly bend over until your upper body is positioned less than 45 degrees to the floor. Get as close to parallel with the floor as you can. Make sure that the weight hangs down from your arms directly below your chest and that your palms are facing towards you. Feel free to use some chalk for this exercise, but definitely NO STRAPS!
2. Chin-ups and Pull-ups
Set up for these back Propidren Funciona exercises either by standing on a box or simply jumping up to reach the bar. Grip the bar with your palms facing away if you are doing pull-ups and with your palms facing towards you if you are doing chin-ups. Furthermore, your hands should be a little more than shoulder width apart for pull-ups and a little less than shoulder width apart for chin-ups.
The movement starts when you pull yourself up until your chin goes over the bar. Be sure to keep your head up and pause for about half a second at the top of the movement. Lower yourself back down slowly until your arms are about 99% straight; be careful not to bounce upon lowering yourself.
If you are unable to complete the movement required for these exercises, you might want to try using assisted pull-up machines until you become strong enough for free weight pull-ups. And when you can already do more than ten pull-ups effortlessly, it may be time to try weighted pull-ups and chin-ups.
3. Barbell Shrugs
You can start this exercise either by deadlifting the barbell directly off the floor or unracking it at thigh height from a squat rack or power rack. Grip the bar with your palms facing towards you and then unrack the weight or lift it off the floor until it hangs to mid-thigh. Be sure to always stand straight with your head up and your knees slightly bent. Shrug your shoulders straight up as high as you can and try to touch your shoulders to your ears. Hold this position for half a second and then lower the weight slowly back to mid-thigh.
This is one of the back strengthening exercises where it is okay to use straps. However, you’ll want to refrain from using an alternating grip. Take note as well that chalk sometimes doesn’t work well with this exercise, especially if you are using a much heavier weight than you usually deadlift.
Now that you know what the best back strengthening exercises are, you need to learn how to integrate them properly into your regular workout routine. You will need to ensure a balanced strength training program so as to reap the full benefits of these exercises.