10 Best Back Exercises For Muscle Building l Top 10 Training List

Not sure which exercises to select on back
day? Check out this list of the 10 best back builders
and get ready to grow! When you crack your exercise toolkit open
each week on back day, you’ve got a seemingly endless array of movements available. Knowing which tools are best suited for building
a wide, thick back will help you get the job done faster. While head-to-head exercise comparison research
is a bit limited in this area, the following 10 exercises are based on factors such as
available literature, how difficult each movement is how much muscle each stimulates, and how
unique each exercise is compared to others. This is technically more than a back exercise—it
hits the entire posterior chain from your calves to your upper traps—but it’s the
absolute best for overall backside development. Technique is uber-important with the deadlift,
but once you nail it, you can progress to lifting monster weights that will recruit
maximum muscle, release muscle-building hormones, and help you get big. There are also numerous deadlift progression
programs you can follow to help you reach new personal bests. Physiologists love to prescribe the deadlift
when programming for strength and conditioning because the exercise hammers your musculature
and is one of the best choices to strengthen your bone structure. Stick with the conventional deadlift on back
day; other variations, like the popular sumo-style, increase the activity of muscle groups other
than the back. This is probably the second-best back movement
in terms of sheer weight you can lift. EMG research has suggested that hitting bent-over
barbell rows will work the larger muscle groups of the upper and lower back equally, making
this a great overall back builder. Like the deadlift, this is another technical move that
requires excellent form but rewards you with a ton of muscle. It’s always a good idea to have an overhead
pulling movement in your back routine, and the pull-up is one of the best. Wide-grip pull-ups are excellent for putting
emphasis on the upper lats. A closer grip may allow for a longer range
of motion, but it may be possible to load the wide-grip pull-up to a greater degree
because of an optimized starting joint position. The biggest challenge here for most trainers
is training to failure in the right rep range for growth, which is 8-12. If you do pull-ups early in your workout,
you might have to add a weighted belt. Of course, if you find them difficult, you
can always use an assisted pull-up machine or a good spotter, or switch to the wide-grip
pull-down, which is a solid substitute. If your shoulders are healthy, pulling behind
the head is okay. Good form is extremely important here. In the starting position, the scapula should
be retracted—pull your shoulder blades down and toward each other—prior to initiating
the pull. Standing T-bar row in comparison to chest-supported
version allows you to pile on much more weight, even though that typically translates into
a bit of cheating through the knees and hips. So remember these aren’t squats, so keep your
legs locked in a bent angle throughout. You also typically have a choice of hand positions
and width. A wider grip will put more emphasis on the
lats, while a neutral grip will better target the middle back. Just about everyone defaults to the close-grip
bar on rows. If that sounds like you, you’ll find using
a wide grip on a lat bar a nice change of pace because it shifts some of the emphasis
to the upper lats. Wide rows mimic some back machines, so don’t
do both in your workout unless you make some other kinds of changes, like grip or target
rep range. You might even try flipping your grip—and
going about shoulder-width apart—which better targets the lower lats as the elbows stay
tighter to your sides. Reverse-grip movements mean two things: The
biceps play a greater role, and with the elbows now pulling back close to your sides, the
target becomes the lower portion of the lats. The Smith machine allows you to concentrate
only on pulling as much weight as possible, since you don’t have to worry about balancing
it. Bend over about 45 degrees, staying close
to the bar, and expect a little contribution from the hips and knees when you’re pounding
out the heavy sets. While some gym rats consider the Smith machine
taboo, the fixed plane of the movement and ability to really control a weight can be
both a novel and humbling exercise. Since the list already covered the wide-grip
pull-up, the wide-grip pull-down is too similar, so a close-grip handle for the pull-down selection
is on the list. EMG research suggests that use of a close
neutral grip activates the lats similarly to a regular grip, so you’re not missing out
on any muscle fibers. As mentioned earlier with pull-ups, a closer grip does allow for
a longer range of motion and increased time under tension for the lats, which is great
for building muscle. This is a great unilateral exercise—each
side works independently—that allows you to move a lot of weight. You’ll get greater range of motion when training
unilaterally, and you won’t be restrained if your weaker side fails first. You may also be better able to support your
lower back—which may have taken plenty of punishment by now—when placing one hand
on a bench. Allowing a slight degree of rotation of the
trunk may engage a greater degree of “core” musculature, as well. This one mimics the straight-arm cable pull-down
you’re probably familiar with. Yes, this is a single-joint move, but it allows
you to really target and torch your lats. The decline version puts your lats under tension
for a longer range of motion than when using a flat bench. Just make sure the dumbbell clears your head,
and drop it on the floor behind you when you’re done. This bad boy is basically a single-arm dumbbell
row performed on a Smith machine. It’s a great and novel choice for your lower
lats. Stand sideways to the machine, grasping the
bar toward the middle, and keep your body close to the apparatus using a split stance
and bent knees for balance. As you pull the bar up as high as you can,
your body may sway a bit to keep the movement natural, which is OK. So what do you think of the list? Got anything to add or change? Would you place them differently? Share below.


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