Back Exercises

Below you will find gifs of the most popular and effective back exercises.

Barbell 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.
barbell bent over row technique

Conventional Deadlift

  • 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.
how to deadlift technique

Power Shrugs

  • 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.
power shrug technique

Dumbbell Exercises

Dumbbell Shrugs

  • 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.
band resisted push ups

Back Extension

  • 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.
back extension technique

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.
close grip lat pulldown technique

Inverted Row

  • 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.
inverted row technique

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.
close grip seated cable row technique

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.
lat pulldown technique

Wide-Grip Pull-ups

  • 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.

wide grip pull ups technique

Thanks for reading!

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