Best Back Exercises

The following is a list of the best back exercises for incorporating into your workout routine. Performing 2 or 3 of these in your back workout will provide you with a well rounded back workout.

The Deadlift

This is one of the best back exercises to perform if you only have time to perform one exercise. The Deadlift works almost every muscle in your body! In particular, you'll really feel it in your back and hamstrings. It really pays to learn proper technique with this exercise - using improper technique could result in serious injury.

It's advisable to wear a weight belt while performing deadlifts. You might also benefit from using straps to prevent your hands from losing grip.

The following steps assume you have a barbell and plenty of weight.

  1. With the barbell on the floor, squat down and hold the bar at about shoulder width. Your back should be straight.
  2. Keeping your back straight, slowly lift the weight until you're standing straight.
  3. Hold for a second.
  4. Slowly lower the weight back to the floor.
  5. Repeat steps 2 - 4 until you've repeated the desired number of reps

Wide Grip Chin Ups

Wide Grip Chin Ups work your laterals and biceps.

The following steps assume you have a chin up bar.

  1. Hang from the chin up bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your feet should not be touching the ground.
  2. Slowly pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.
  3. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until you've repeated the desired number of reps

Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell Rows work your laterals.

The following steps assume you have a dumbbell.

  1. With the bench placed lengthways, place the dumbbell on the floor beside the bench.
  2. Place your left hand, and left knee on the bench. Your hand should be near the top of the bench. Your back should be almost parallel to the ground.
  3. With your right hand, slowly lift the dumbbell until it's almost level with your torso
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you've repeated the desired number of reps for that side
  6. Repeat all of the above for your left side.

Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows work your laterals and your posterior deltoid (backs of your shoulders). You also work your biceps with this exercise as well as other upper back muscles.

The following steps assume you have a lateral row machine.

  1. Sit on the lateral row machine
  2. Grasp the handles. Your arms should be nearly straight but not locked.
  3. Slowly pull the handles towards your body, until your hands almost touch your torso. Be sure to keep your back straight, your abs contracted, your hands low, and your elbows facing the ground.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you've repeated the desired number of reps

Back Extension

Back Extensions work your lower back, and to a lesser extent, your hamstrings.

The following steps assume you have a hyperextension bench.

  1. Lie, face down on the hyperextension bench, with your feet tucked under the footpads.
  2. Crossing your arms in front of your chest, ensure your body is in a straight line.
  3. Slowly bend forward as far as you can while keeping your back straight.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you've repeated the desired number of reps

To integrate these exercises into a back workout see Back Workout Routine.