It’s one of the most common things for gym-goers to focus on the muscles that everyone can see & often neglect the ones they can’t. I used to be no different when I was a newbie. I spent all my time in the gym focusing on the chest, shoulders & of course biceps & triceps ( how can one forget that ). I never used to do deadlifts, squats, or any legs & back exercises per se. And now looking back I can say that was one of the biggest mistakes anyone can do as a beginner. But as I progressed I realized my mistake & started incorporating back exercises in my workout routine & the results I got was phenomenal.
Although I have a long way to go in terms of putting on thickness & more muscle mass, still I have come a long way from where I used to be. And this is just because I decided to inculcate back exercises in my routine.
For having an attractive V- tapered back, we need to understand what all muscle groups are we need to focus on. So first things first, let’s take a look at what muscle groups form our back.
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Erector Spinae
So as you can see here, there are 4 major muscle groups that make the bulk of our back & these are the ones we are going to focus on through the 6 exercises that I’m gonna talk about in this article.
Before digging into the exercises, I want to talk about something very important that plays a major in developing any muscle group of your body. It is about having a mind-muscle connection while performing our exercises which plays a vital role in muscle activation & muscle growth. It becomes even more important while performing back exercises because we can’t really observe our back muscles while performing an exercise, so we have to completely rely on the mind-muscle connection to make the most out of every rep.
What is the mind-muscle connection?
It could be simply defined as the process of connecting the mind to your body while performing any kind of physical activity. When you internally focus on the particular muscle group you are targeting, greater activation of that muscle group happens which ultimately results in more muscle growth.
How to improve it?
- Focus more on training the muscle rather than merely lifting the weights.
- Visualize in your mind about that particular muscle group.
- Warm-up sets for each exercise that you perform.
- Slow down the reps & feel the contraction or squeeze.
- Flex that particular muscle group after each set to get the maximum results.
6 Best Back Exercises
It’s one of the 4 major compound movements. If you haven’t incorporated Deadlifts in your workout routine, just do it. Talking from my personal experience, it can legit change your fitness journey & make it much more fruitful in no time. Deadlifts work your entire body especially your posterior chain – which includes the spinal erectors, lats, rhomboids, glutes, and hamstrings. It also works on your core strength to stabilize your body throughout the lift. Some of the major benefits of doing Deadlifts once or twice in a week :
- It builds strength like no other exercise. And not just in the gym you will get stronger in real life too.
- It helps you to improve your posture.
- It helps you to prevent injury.
- Build muscles & burn more fat.
Barbell Bent Over Row
It’s another one of the most significant compound exercises that build your strength & adds muscle mass to your back. It also improves your pull performance & enhances your deadlifts. It majorly targets your upper back muscles which include – Latissimus Dorsi, Posterior Shoulder, Rhomboids, Scapular Stabilizers. It also works your forearms, biceps, spinal erector, hamstrings & glutes to some extent.
Dumbbell Single Arm Row
This movement primarily targets the upper back, shoulder, biceps & also helps to enhance core stability. The main muscle group that is worked in this movement is Latissimus Dorsi (lats). You also engage your rhomboid, trapezius, teres minor & major & deltoids. It’s again one of the best exercises to build your back strength especially your lats. You will also find people performing this exercise with dumbbells in both hands, but I find it very effective performing single-arm row at a time because it gives me more stability & also a better mind-muscle connection. You should try both the methods & choose for yourself.
One of the most important yet neglected back exercises of all time. We generally use to think that Deadlifts & rows are more than enough to train our back efficiently but when it comes to your lower back, there’s no alternative to this one. The primary muscle worked in this exercise is the Erector spinae (lower back) & the glutes & hamstrings comprise of secondary muscles. Hyperextensions are a great way to build solid core strength, improve your posture & strengthen your lower back. It also helps to reduce any kind of lower back pain that you might have.
Redbull doesn’t give you wings, Lat Pulldown does. As the name goes by, it primarily focuses on your latissimus dorsi which is the broadest muscle in your back. The secondary muscles include forearms, trapezius & traps to an extent. If you want that V tapered back as shown in the movies & stuff, this should be your go-to exercise.
I think its the most basic compound movement of all. You just have to pull your body weight, that’s it & yet its a nightmare for many gym-goers. It works multiple muscles at the same time as well as it is a multi-joint movement too. Your shoulder, elbows & wrist angles tend to change.
There are basically two types of grips namely the pronated grip (overhand) & the supinated grip (underhand – named as chin-ups). There isn’t a huge difference as both of them target back (especially lats) & biceps. It’s just the former one uses shoulder adduction whereas the latter one uses shoulder extension. Pullups are one of the most complete exercises when it comes to strength training. It escalates your strength level immensely & improves your overall fitness level.
Tell me in the comment section how many pullups can you do in a single go? 😎
In the end, I just want to conclude saying that if you are someone who has been neglecting their back for a long time or you are just a beginner who wants to build a good physique, incorporating back exercises in your workout routine is a must. It just doesn’t help you to build a well-sculpted back but also improves your strength to do well at other exercises. So the next time you hit the gym make sure to perform all these 6 exercises & take a step towards building a strong & amazing physique.