My Top 5: Back Exercises

If you want to build the shield for your developing arsenal of muscle then these five exercises are sure to get you well on your way.


5. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

This is a back exercises that can easily be missed as it works the middle back which is not always seen as the most desired muscle in the group of muscles. The simplicity of the exercise is what makes it on to my top 5 as it is easy to utilise when isolating the middle of your back.

For this exercise you only require a bench and a dumbbell heavy enough to put you to the test! You may want to consider starting on a low weight and perform a high amount of reps when you first begin to use this exercise as it will allow you to achieve good form.  You will want to rest one knee on the bench whilst using the other arm to pull the dumbbell towards the side of your chest along with a back that is horizontal to the floor. Make sure no pressure is added to your back so that you do not injure yourself whilst performing this exercise.

If this becomes boring and too simplistic then a variation on this exercise is the ‘Bent over long bar row’. This is performed with a landmine tool and a ‘V-grip’ that allows you to do this.

4. Two Arm Shrug

Another simplistic exercise here, sensing a theme? This is one that will help make your traps begin to pop. For this one all you need are two dumbbells heavy enough to put some strain on your trapezius. This being the large paired muscle extending across your upper back.

Once you’ve collected your dumbbells make sure your back is straight and comfortable. Now being to bring your shoulders towards your ears as far as you can reach. Lower your shoulders at a slower rate and then bring your shoulders back up, constantly keeping strain on your traps. This can be known as ‘Time Under Tension’ which is thought to help build muscle fast.

This can also be replicated using a barbell if you do not have dumbbells heavy enough!

3. Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row is one that can be easily performed incorrectly and I’ve seen it too many times to not make this clear. Once the desired wait has been selected put one foot on the grips and grab the V-grip and begin to pull the grip with a straight back. Then make your other foot comfortable and then make sure your legs are slightly bent.

You will want to keep your back straight and retract your scapula to get the squeeze that you really want. Then pull the grip towards you until it reaches your abs. At this point your chest is probably going to be pushed forwards.

This exercises works your lats, middle back and biceps mainly however its focus is on the middle back. Either way this should be a staple of any back workout. seated row

2. The ‘Traps Row’

A lot of rowing here isn’t there? That’s because it gets you those sweet back gains!

What I call the ‘traps row’ is more or less a face pull but on a seated machine at a lower height. This is so that all across your upper back is being worked. This effects your traps whilst also hitting your rear delts (back of your shoulder) too! This is a great exercise for when if you’re doing shrugs and just not mastering the correct form yet. It can also be used wisely for varying your workouts and making sure that you can really squeeze when contracting the muscles.

This can also be included in a shoulder rotation too!

1. Lat pull down

Now I know what you’re all saying. “What a boring final choice” or “Too predictable”. But when it comes to working out, the most simple and well-known can often be the best. I’ve chose this exercise as it helps everyone gain their shield properly by sculpting that V shaped body that will really make you stand out amongst a crowd.

The lat pull down is extremely important in any back workout as it isolates your lats and requires lots of strength to master. A wide grip pull-up is often people’s goal in the gym and this can coach you to that point as it is the same movement. You can vary your sets with this and I often find that the best pump is achieved when doing two sets at 80% maximum with 10 or so reps and then on the third set dropping to around 40-45% and completing 15-20 reps.

This exercise is again one that ‘Time Under Tension’ is important as when slowly letting the bar pull back up you can help to stretch your lats whilst also keeping your muscle contracted, slightly.

And there you have ‘My Top 5’ back exercises that should be key when constructing your weekly workout routine!

7 thoughts on “My Top 5: Back Exercises

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