Many athletes want to have a strong and well-trained back.
To achieve this, there are different exercises for the upper and lower back. An optimal back workout consists of a strong back workout and stretching exercises. In the following text, exercises for the upper and lower back are presented and explained.
Various muscles belong to the upper back. The latissimus and trapezius muscles are important here. The neck consists of the upper part of the trapezius. We would like to name a few popular exercises for the upper back.
The following exercises can be done for training at home or in the gym:
- Shrugs with Theraband
This exercise is easy to do at home and trains the upper muscle fibres of the trapezius. With the theraband you can control the training load well.
For the exercise, stand hip-width apart with both legs on the band. Then slowly pull the Theraband upwards while exhaling. The shoulders move upwards. The arms always remain stretched. When you reach the top, hold the tension for a short time and then lower the band while inhaling.
Be careful not to move your head forward during this exercise.
- Shrugs on the Mutlipress
This exercise can be done in the gym and trains the upper part of the trapezius.
Stand in the centre of the machine and grasp the barbell in front of your body with an overhand grip. Your arms are almost fully extended (elbows are slightly bent). The barbell is in the guide rail on the multipress. As you exhale move the barbell up a little in the bar by raising the shoulders. When you exhale return to the starting position.
This exercise can also be done behind the back. It can also be done without the multipress.
- Shrugs on cable pulley
This exercise can be done on the cable pulley tower in the gym and trains the upper fibres of the trapezius muscle. You have a lot of flexibility, and the elastic cables are easy on the joints.
For this exercise you stand upright in front of the pulley and the weight is at the bottom of the pulley. You grab the top handle, look forward and pull your shoulders back slightly to start. As you exhale, pull the handle slightly upwards with the strength from the shoulders and neck. Arms and upper body remain rigid. In the final position you hold it briefly and then lower the weight as you inhale.
- Shrugs with dumbbells
This exercise trains the upper part of the trapezius muscle.
Stand shoulder-width apart and grasp two dumbbells in a neutral grip. Your back is straight, your shoulders are slightly pulled back and your gaze is directed forward. Now you can slowly pull your shoulder blades up to lift the dumbbells. Keep your arms in the same position. Exhale as you do so. Then hold the weight for a short time before releasing it on the inhale.
- Upright Row with Barbell
This exercise is a popular rowing variation to strengthen the shoulders and back. You can use the multipress or do it freely, with your legs shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Grasp the barbell with a tight grip (narrower than your shoulder width) or a wide grip with your arms almost fully extended. The elbows are only slightly bent. To start, exhale and pull the barbell up to slightly above your chest. In the starting position lower the barbell and the elbows are no longer slightly bent outwards.
- Upright Rowing on Cable Pull
This exercise is easy on the joints but more suitable for advanced users.
Stand in front of the cable pulley and use the lower posture. Either use a bar or a rope that you grip shoulder-width apart. Now you must stand upright and move your lower back into a hollow cross. Now move the cable without swinging, but never stretch your arms completely. Make sure that your shoulders stay down. Now you can release at a moderate pace.
- Upright Dumbbell Row
This exercise can be done with one or both arms.
For this exercise you stand upright with your back straight and hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Your arms are almost fully extended in front of your body and the dumbbells are close to each other. Now pull the dumbbells up without swinging. Stop just below the chin and bring the dumbbells back down.
- Bent-over Row with Dumbbells
This exercise trains the trapezius muscle, the rear shoulder muscles, and the latissimus. Stand hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent and bend your upper body forward. Then move only the arms by bringing the arms up and keeping the elbows right next to the torso. You can return to the starting position when the dumbbells are at the side of your body while rowing. Inhale as you do so.
- Lat pulldown with wide grip
For this exercise you sit on the lat pull-down bar, straighten your upper body and form a slight hollow back. Grasp the bar with a wide grip (wider than the shoulders). Now pull the bar at a steady pace towards the chest up to the level of the neck. Exhale and inhale as you bring the bar up. Do not lower the weight during the exercise to maintain tension in the muscles.
- Chin Up with Underhand Grip
This exercise is good for beginners because the underhand grip also works the biceps and gives support. For this exercise your arms are on the upper grip and the palms are turned towards your body. While you exhale, pull yourself upwards with the strength from your back and arms. Only here the arms are only bent and form a right angle at the end position. In the final position your head is at the height of the handle. Now you can inhale and return to the starting position.
- Pull-ups with overhand grip
For this exercise the arms are almost fully extended with an overhand grip (thumbs in and palms away from the body) on the chin-up machine. Your back is straight. Now pull your body upwards and exhale. Only the arms move, and the rest of the body does not. When the head is level with the handlebar, you can inhale and lower the body.