Below you will find gifs of the most popular and effective back exercises.
Barbell Bent Over Row
- These hit your Lats and Rhomboids.
- Overhand or Underhand Grip offer slightly different targeting.
- Shoulder width stance, neutral spine and a decent forward lean.
- Pull to the base of the rib cage and lower under control.
- This hits your Posterior Chain.
- Keep a flat back, lats tight and arms vertical.
- The bar should be close if not touching shins at the bottom of the lift.
- Brace your abs and lift the bar, keeping head neutral and the bar over the middle of your feet.
- Brush the thighs as you lower, pushing the hips back, and lower vertically once below the knee.
- Set the bar up at mid-thigh on the pins, with a wider than shoulder width grip.
- Allow scapula to fully depress prior to the move.
- Using some momentum, pull the bar into the ‘shrug’ position, hold one second, and lower.
- This allows more weight than a conventional shrug and is actually safer for your levator scapulae.
- The move can also be done with heavy dumbbells.
- These work the upper trapezius
- Have palms facing each other, shoulders pulled back and a neutral head position.
- Keeping the arms straight, shrug the weight up so the shoulders come straight up, close to the ears.
- Pause and slowly lower. Range of motion is important, ignore those you see half-rep shrugging with extreme amounts of weight.
Body-weight / Other Exercises
Band Resisted Push-ups
- Use a band tough enough to provide decent resistance, while still allowing full extension.
- Loop the band around each arm and across the mid-tricep.
- Perform either on a low barbell or on the floor.
- This hits your Erector Spinae.
- Feet locked in place, hips slightly above the bad.
- Keeping a neutral spine and tight core, lower to 90 degrees at the hip and return to 180 degrees.
- You can load this by hugging a weighted plate.
- Slow and controlled movement.
Close Grip Lat Pulldown
- Keep elbows and arms tight to the body.
- Pull the handle down to middle chest.
- Upright (seen) for middle back development.
- Slight backwards lean for Lower Lat thickness.
- Don’t use momentum.
- Set the bar slightly higher than arm length, to allow torso to be off the ground at the bottom of the movement.
- Arms should not be vertical, shift the bar over your lower chest.
- Keeping a straight line from shoulder to heel, pull your lower chest into the bar.
- Elbows at 45 degrees to the body.
Seated Cable Row
- This hits Rhomboids, Lower/Mid Traps and Lats.
- Keep your scapula depressed as best you can during the movement.
- Keep elbows in and pull to mid-torso.
- Squeeze shoulder blades together and briefly pause before returning to start.
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
- “Lat” stands for Latissimus Dorsi, the prime mover in this exercise.
- Tuck the chin so the bar can travel vertically down to the V of your neck.
- Think of the hands as hooks, the elbows are driving down and the back comes together.
- Don’t lean back excessively or use momentum.
- Similar to the Lat Pulldown, this will hit your Lats, as well as Mid-Traps and Teres muscles.
- Depress the Scapula.
- Think of bringing elbows towards your sides.
- Allow the arms to come to full extension at the bottom.
- Great tutorial video here.
Thanks for reading!