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Great Back Workouts

Updated on December 9, 2014

Training The Back Muscles

If you combine all of the muscles of the back, they make up the largest muscle group of the body. Because of this it's very important to do back workouts if you're trying to build more muscularity through weight training. However, too many people don't focus enough on training their back muscles, at least in comparison to the amount they train their chest, shoulder, and arm muscles. This could be because you can't really see the back muscles working as well as those other muscles when you train them. However, performing great back workouts will lead to more width and thickness throughout your back and your entire upper body. These back workouts will also help you prevent back injuries and improve your posture.

You also need to train your lower back. The lower back is a small area that you should focus on strengthening with heavy, hard training. As you build more lower back strength you should also see an increase in the density of the muscles of the lower back.

Great Upper Back Workouts

For a great back workout, you must train for both width and thickness. Training the latissimus dorsi muscles (also known as the lats) which extend from the lower middle of the back to under the shoulders on the outsides of the upper back will help you get a wider look to your physique. The primary width builders in an upper back workout routine are pull-ups and cable or machine pulldowns. To increase thickness you need to train the muscles located in or near the center of the upper back. Exercises that involve a rowing motion are the best for building this thickness.

When you're training for width during your great back workouts you need to perform various forms of pull-up and pulldown exercises. Whenever possible you should do pull-ups instead of pulldowns. This is because they force you to move your body through space, which is superior to the motion of pulling a weight towards you like you would do with cable or machine pulldowns. However, it can be difficult for many lifters to get enough pull-up reps to make a good set. Fortunately, many gyms have assisted pull-up machines that have a weight pushing up against your knees so you can do more reps. You can also have a spotter assist you when you do pull-ups. The best ways to perform pull-ups and pulldowns is with a close underhand grip or a wide overhand grip.

Great upper back workouts also need to have rowing exercises that will help you build more thickness in the back muscles. The best kinds of rowing exercises are ones that involve free weights. These include bent over rows, dumbbell rows, and t-bar rows. Cable rows are another excellent exercise for building upper back thickness. They allow for many grip ranges so you can the muscles from different angles.

The best upper back workouts can be done before you train the biceps as part of a push-pull weight training split routine. This will allow your back muscles to get plenty of recovery time before your next workout.

Sample Upper Back Workout

Light upper back workout (15-20 reps per set)

2 sets of close grip pull-ups or pulldowns

2 sets of bent over or dumbbell rows

1-2 sets of wide grip pull-ups or pulldowns

1-2 sets of cable rows

2 sets of other upper back exercise

1-2 drop sets

Medium upper back workout (10-15 reps per set)

2-3 sets of close grip pull-ups or pulldowns

2-3 sets of bent or dumbbell rows

2-3 sets of wide grip pull-ups or pulldowns

1-2 sets of cable rows

2 sets of other upper back exercise

1-2 drop sets

Heavy upper back workout (5-10 reps per set)

3-4 sets of close grip pull-ups or pulldowns

3-4 sets of bent or dumbbell rows

2-3 sets of wide grip pull-ups or pulldowns

2-3 sets of cable rows

2 sets of other upper back exercise

1-2 drop sets

Proper Bent Row Form

Great Lower Back Workouts

Another essential part of a great back workout is lower back training. While the lower back is a small muscle group, strengthening it is of the utmost importance. When you build a stronger lower back you'll be able to lift heavier weights on other exercises. This is because the muscles of the core, including the lower back, help support your body when you're lifting heavy weights. Weight training for the lower back will also help you avoid injuries.

Without a doubt, the best exercise to perform during a great lower back workout is the deadlift. Not only will you hit the lower back when you deadlift, you'll also use your quadriceps, hamstrings, and upper back to lift the weight. You'll also have to have a strong grip to deadlift heavy. All of this makes the deadlift one of the best overall weight training exercises you can do. To perform this great exercise properly you'll want to use our leg muscles to get the weight off the floor and use your lower back muscles to get your body into a standing position. You also need to try bending at the hips rather than the lower back when you deadlift. Bending the lower back can cause an injury.

Other excellent lower back exercises to do during a great back workout are good mornings and hyperextensions. To perform good mornings you need to put a weight on your upper back/traps area like you would when you squat and bend forward at your hips with your lower back arched until your upper body is almost parellel to the floor, then raise your body to the starting position. Hyperextensions are done by lying face down on a bench that's specifically for this exercise and bending forward at the waist and raising your upper body back up. For these you should just use your own body weight or hold a light weight in your arms.

You really don't need to do very many sets during your workouts for your lower back because you'll get some secondary work for these muscles from many other exercises and you don't want to overtrain them. The best times to perform great lower back workouts is with leg or upper back training.


Sample Lower Back Workout

Light lower back workout

1-2 sets of deadlifts for 10-15 reps

1-2 sets of good mornings for 15-20 reps

1-2 sets of hyperextensions for 15-20 or more reps

Medium lower back workout

2-3 sets of deadlifts for 5-10 reps

1-2 sets of good mornings for 10-15 reps

1-2 sets of hyperextensions for 10-15 reps

Heavy lower back workout

3-5 sets of deadlifts for 1-5 reps

1-2 sets of good mornings for 8-10 reps

1-2 sets of hyperextensions for 10-15 reps

Proper Deadlift Form


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    • profile image

      yasmeen kharkar 

      8 years ago from mumbai

      nicely written, Rob


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