The back is one of the most important and complex parts of our body. It is made up of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and nerves that allow us to perform movements such as turning, flexing, extending, and stabilizing the trunk. In addition, the back is responsible for supporting and protecting the spine, which is the central axis of our nervous system.
That’s why training your back is not only a matter of aesthetics, but also of health and performance. A strong and healthy back helps us prevent injuries, improve our posture, relieve pain, increase our strength and power, and show off an impressive physique.
In this article, we’re going to show you the best exercises for a spectacular back, how to do a complete and effective routine, and what expert tips you should follow to improve your back workout. If you want to know how to get a back of steel, read on and find out everything you need to know.
Why is it important to train your back?
Benefits of Having a Strong and Healthy Back
Having a strong, healthy back has many benefits, both physical and mental. Some of them are:
- It improves your body posture, which makes you look taller, more confident, and more attractive.
- It prevents and relieves back pain, which is one of the leading causes of sick leave and disability in the world.
- It protects your spine and nervous system, avoiding problems such as herniated discs, scoliosis, sciatica, etc.
- Increase your strength and power in other exercises, such as bench presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc.
- It improves your balance and stability, which helps you avoid falls and injuries.
- It improves your breathing and lung capacity, by allowing for greater thoracic expansion.
- It improves your mood and self-esteem by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Risks of Neglecting Back Training
Conversely, neglecting back training can have negative consequences for your health and physical appearance. Some of the risks of not training your back are:
- It increases the risk of injury, both to the back and to other parts of the body, due to weak and unstable musculature.
- It worsens your body posture, making you look shorter, hunched over, and out of proportion.
- It increases back pain, which can affect your quality of life and daily performance.
- It reduces your strength and power in other exercises, as you have a weak spot in your muscle chain.
- It reduces your balance and stability, making you more likely to fall and injure yourself.
- It reduces your breathing and lung capacity, by limiting thoracic mobility.
- It lowers your mood and self-esteem by making you feel more tired, tense, and unhappy with your image.
How to Assess the Condition of Your Back
Before you start training your back, it is important that you evaluate the condition of your back, to know if you have any problems or limitations that you should be aware of. To do this, you can perform some simple tests, such as:
- Look at your posture in front of a mirror, and see if your shoulders are aligned, your back straight, your chest open, and your head up.
- Perform some basic back movements, such as twisting, flexing, extending, and rotating your trunk, and see if you feel any pain, discomfort, or difficulty.
- Measure your strength and endurance in some back exercises, such as pull-ups, rows, deadlifts, etc., and see how many reps you can do with good technique.
If you detect any problems or doubts, we recommend that you consult a health or sports professional, who can guide and advise you on how to train your back safely and effectively.
What exercises are best for your back?
How to design a back routine with the most appropriate exercises
To design a back routine with the most appropriate exercises, you should take into account a few aspects, such as:
- The muscles that make up the back, and how to work them in a balanced way.
- The types of exercises that exist, and how to combine them optimally.
- The frequency, volume, intensity, and progression of training, and how to tailor them to your level and goal.
The muscles that make up the back are:
- The trapezius, which is responsible for raising, retracting, and rotating the shoulder blades.
- The latissimus dorsi, which is responsible for extending, adducting and internally rotating the arm.
- The rhomboid, which is responsible for retracting and elevating the shoulder blades.
- The teres major, which is responsible for extending, adducting and internally rotating the arm.
- The teres minor, which is responsible for extending and externally rotating the arm.
- The infraspinatus, which is responsible for externally rotating the arm.
- The supraspinatus, which is responsible for abducting the arm.
- The serratus anterior, which is responsible for protracting and rotating the shoulder blades.
- The erector spinae, which is responsible for extending and stabilizing the spine.
The types of exercises that exist are:
- Pulling exercises, which involve pulling resistance towards the body, such as pull-ups, rows, pulldowns, etc.
- Pushing exercises, which involve pushing a resistance away from the body, such as dips, push-ups, presses, etc.
- Extension exercises, which involve extending the spine, such as deadlifts, hyperextensions, good mornings, etc.
- Rotation exercises, which involve rotating the trunk, such as Russian spins, pallof presses, woodchoppers, etc.
- Stabilization exercises, which involve maintaining a static position, such as planks, bridges, bird dogs, etc.
The frequency, volume, intensity, and progression of training depend on your level and goal, but in general, it is recommended:
- Train your back at least twice a week to stimulate muscle growth and recovery.
- Perform between 12 and 20 sets per session, distributed among the different muscles and exercises.
- Perform between 6 and 15 repetitions per set, with a load that allows you to maintain good technique and constant tension.
- Increase the difficulty of the workout from time to time, either by increasing the weight, repetitions, sets, frequency, or reducing rest, or varying the type of exercise, angle, grip, etc.
How to Do a Back Routine with the Most Effective Exercises
To do a back routine with the most effective exercises, you should choose those that work the back muscles completely and safely. Some of the most effective exercises for the back are:
- Pull-ups, which are the king exercise for the back, as they work the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, infraspinatus, biceps and forearm. They can be done with different grips, widths and variants, to emphasize more or less certain muscles.
- The rows, which are the complementary exercise to the pull-ups, as they work the same muscles, but from a different angle. They can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, pulley, machine, etc., and with different inclines, grips and travels, to vary the stimulus.
- Deadlifts, which are the most complete exercise for the back, as they work the erector spinae, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, infraspinatus, gluteus, femoral, quadriceps, and forearm. They can be done with barbells, dumbbells, hexagonal, etc., and with different variants, such as Romanian, sumo, conventional, etc.
- Dips, which are the most effective exercise for the serratus anterior, which is a key muscle for stability and mobility of the shoulder blades. They also work the pectorals, triceps, and anterior deltoid. They can be done in parallels, on benches, on rings, etc., and with different inclinations, grips and depths, to modify the difficulty and focus.
- Russian twists, which are the most effective exercise for trunk rotation, involve the obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae. They can be done with or without weight, on the floor, on the bench, in fitball, etc., and with different speeds, amplitudes and directions, to increase the challenge and coordination.
- Planks, which are the most effective exercise for core stabilization, involve the same muscles as Russian twists, but in an isometric position. They can be done on the floor, on the bench, in a fitball, etc., and with different variants, such as lateral, inverted, dynamic, etc., to work more or less certain areas.
How To Get A Wide And Bulky Back With The Best Exercises
To get a wide and voluminous back with the best exercises, you should focus on those that work the latissimus dorsi, which is the largest and most visible muscle in the back, and which gives it that much-desired V-shape. Some of the best exercises for the latissimus dorsi are:
- Supine grip pull-ups, which are a variant of pull-ups that involve more of the latissimus dorsi and biceps, as they have a tighter grip and with the palms facing upwards. They can be done with or without weight, and with different widths and variants, such as assisted, negative, isometric, etc.
- Pulldowns, which are a similar exercise to pull-ups, but with a pulley, which allows you to adjust the load and speed more precisely. They can be done with different grips, widths and travels, to more or less work the latissimus dorsi and other muscles of the back.
- Neutral grip rowing, which is a variant of rowing that involves more of the latissimus dorsi and biceps, as it has a narrower grip and with the palms facing each other. They can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, pulley, machine, etc., and with different inclines, grips and travels, to vary the stimulus.
- Pullovers, which are an exercise that isolates the latissimus dorsi, as it is the only muscle involved in the extension of the arm from an overhead position. They can be done with dumbbell, barbell, pulley, etc., and with different angles, grips and amplitudes, to modify the difficulty and focus.
What expert tips should you follow to improve your back training?
How to Avoid Back Injuries and Pain
To avoid back injuries and pain, you should follow some expert advice, such as:
- Warm up well before training, doing some joint mobility exercises, muscle activation and body temperature elevation.
- Choose a load suitable for your level, which allows you to perform the exercise with good technique and constant tension, without reaching muscle failure.
- Maintain a correct posture during the exercise, avoiding arching or rounding the back, and keeping the abdomen and buttocks contracted.
- Respect rest times between sets and exercises, to allow muscle recovery and avoid overtraining.
- Stretch well after training, doing some flexibility and muscle relaxation exercises, to promote circulation and the elimination of toxins.
How to Improve Your Posture and Health with the Best Back Exercises
To improve your posture and health with the best back exercises, you should follow some expert advice, such as:
- Work your back in a balanced way, including pulling, pushing, extending, rotating and stabilizing exercises, and working all your back muscles.
- Correcting muscle imbalances, strengthening weak muscles and stretching shortened muscles, which can lead to misalignment of the spine.
- Take care of ergonomics at work and at home, avoiding forced, prolonged or repetitive postures, which can generate tension and pain in the back.
- Practice other healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, hydrating well, getting enough sleep, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, etc., which can influence back health.
In conclusion, training your back is one of the best things you can do for your health and physical appearance. A strong and healthy back helps you prevent injuries, improve your posture, relieve pain, increase your strength and power, and show off an impressive physique.
To train your back effectively, you must choose the most appropriate exercises, design a complete and balanced routine, and follow expert advice to avoid injuries and improve your posture and health.
In this article, we’ve shown you the best exercises for a spectacular back, how to do a complete and effective routine, and what expert tips you should follow to improve your back workout. We hope you found it useful and that you put it into practice.
If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and leave us a comment with your opinion. And if you want to know more about how to train other muscles, don’t miss our next articles.
Frequently asked questions
What muscles do you work when training your back?
When training the back, the following muscles are worked: the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, serratus anterior, and erector spinae.
What frequency and volume of training is recommended for the back?
It is recommended to train the back at least twice a week, performing between 12 and 20 sets per session, distributed among the different muscles and exercises.
What equipment do you need to train your back?
To train the back, you can use equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, pulleys, machines, parallels, rings, etc., or you can use your own body weight, with exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, planks, etc.
What exercises should you avoid if you have back problems?
If you have back problems, you should avoid exercises that involve bending or excessive rotation of the spine, such as traditional crunches, crunches, sit-ups, etc., or those that involve a very high load or poor technique, such as poorly executed deadlifts, pulldowns behind the neck, swinging rows, etc.