Are you looking to improve your back physique or get it more defined? There are numerous different exercises to explore, but for the purpose of this article, we have narrowed down to a specific back workout with aim to improve your backs strenght, size and muscle definition.
Firstly, we divide the back into four main regions:
- The upper and outer lats.
- The lower lats.
- Middle back.
- The Lower back.
Each area requires specific stimulation via the different exercises and approach used.
Upper and Outer Lats
Exercise 1: PullUps (wide grip)
- Graps the bar with an overhand grip, about 1 meter apart. Fully extend your arms and relax your shoulders to stretch your lats in the bottom positions.
- Pull up in a slow motion, without any use of your lower body. Pull up to the point where your chin reaches above the bar.
- Move down to the starting position and repeat.
- If you cant make it all the way up, consider getting a spotter, alternativly you can use a bench to assist.
Exercise 2: Bent-Over Barbell Row (wide grip)
- Grab the barbell with a wider-than-shoulder grip, that allows you to keep your elbows out to the sides and pull them back as high as possible.
- Keep your knees slughtly bent and remain in a bent-over position througout the exercise.
- Keep your back straight and push your chest out for full contraction.
- Its easy to rise from the position if the weights are too heavy, ensure you are using the correct amount of weight to execute the exercise properly! – Quality, not quantity!
Tip: For advanced athletes, try to combine the two exercises into a superset. 10 seconds rest inbetween exercises and 2 minute rest between sets.
The Lower Lats
Exercise 1: Seated Cable Rows
- Place your feet on the front platform or crossbar and ensure your knees are slightly bent and not locked, and lean over to grab the V-bar handle.
- With your arms extended, pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Slightly arch your back, push your chest out and pull your elbows back until the handle touches your abdominals.
- Keeping your feet and torso in place, slowly release your elbows until arms are fully extended and repeat movement.
Tip: Remember to breath out whilst pulling the handle towards your torso. This will increase your performance.
Exercise 2: Reverse Grip Pulldown
- Get in position with an underhand, shoulder-width grip on the bar. This will allow you to pull your elbows back as far as possible, stimulating your back muscles.
- Fully extend your arms to the top while pushing out your chest throughout the movement.
- Pull your elbows down and back until the bar reaches your upper chest, release back up and repeat.
Tip: For higher concentration on your back muscles, flex and push your chest out throughout the whole exercise.
Exercise 1: T-Bar Row with Handle
- Position a bar into a corner to keep it from moving and load an appropriate weight on the other end.
- Position a V-handle around the bar, next to the top. Grab the bar, and using your hips and legs, rise to a standing position.
- Assume a shoulder-wide stand with your hips back, chest out and fully extended arms.
- Pull the weight towards your upper abdominals by retracting the shoulder blades and flexing elbows. Do not jerk or incorporate legs in the movement.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Tip: Keep a straight back and locked hips and knees to fully isolate the exercise to your back muscles.
Exercise 2: One Arm Dumbbell Row
- Place your left knee and left hand on a flat bench, facing downwards.
- Keep your right foot on the floor and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Let the weight hang straight down until your arm is fully extended.
- Pull the dumbbell towards your hip, whilst keeping your elbow close to the side and your back flat.
- Repeat for reps and switch arms.
Tip: Make it a super set by incorporating a second set with 10kg lower weight.
The Lower Back
Exercise 1: Deadlift (Overhand Grip)
- Stand with your foot underneath the bar with the heels hip-width apart. Point your toes out approximately 15-degrees.
- Bend over without bending your legs and grip the bar shoulder-width apart (similar to Pullups).
- Slightly bend your knees until your chins touches the bar, without the bar moving away.
- Straighten your back and push out your chest. Pull the bar in a single movement, stand up with your arms fully extended and lock your hips and knees.
- Return the weight to the floor by unlocking your hips and knees, keeping your legs almost straight. Once the bar is past your knees, bend your legs more.
Tip: Keep the bar in contact with your legs while you pull. If you are new to deadlift, start with no weights until you have the technique fully narrowed down.
Exercise 2: Back Extension
- Once you’re situated on the bench, cross your arms over your chest or behind your head. Alternatively, hold a weight plate close to your chest to increase intensity.
- Slowly bend at the waist as far as you can, rounding your back as you go.
- Contract your lower back muscles to raise your torso until you reach the starting point. Repeat movement.
Tip: Use a slow and control motion, breath on your way up and avoid going too high. Fully support your hips to focus the workout on your lower-back muscles.
Download your FREE Back Workout Program High intensity 1 hour training, split into 5 different exercises. The routine is designed to improve muscle strength, definition and size. try it out and share your thoughts.