6 Exercises for Building Back Muscle

September 11 2019

A lot of us are guilty of neglecting exercises that focus on our back muscles, instead opting for arms and chest workouts for our go-to upper-body training.

Developing a strong back is crucial to maintaining a balanced upper body and you should aim to dedicate as much time to your back as you do to your front. Plus, many back exercises utilise your arms too, meaning you’ll target other areas of your body without even realising it.

But it’s not just about building strength, there are a number of benefits to making sure you’re training your back muscles:

  • Improved posture
  • Less chance of injury
  • Stronger muscles for big lifts
  • Stronger and more stable joints
  • Reduce the risk of back pain

To help you get into the habit of properly training your back, we’ve created a list of 6 top exercises for building back muscle to help you reap the rewards of developed back muscles:

Farmers’ walk

Equipment needed: Kettlebells

  1. Hold two kettlebells by your sides
  2. Keeping your arms engaged, walk short and quick steps as fast as possible in a straight line
  3. When you’ve reached as far as you can go, turn around and walk back to the starting position

Dumbbell single-arm row

Equipment needed: Dumbbell, bench

  1. Position yourself on the bench with your weight on your knee and hand
  2. With your other leg planted on the ground, pick up the dumbbell and allow it to hang straight down from your shoulder
  3. Pull the dumbbell up to the side of your torso without rotating or losing your balance
  4. Pause at the top of the lift before lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position

Barbell deadlift

Equipment needed: Barbell

  1. Squat down and grasp the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart
  2. Keep your shoulders back and your chest up, looking straight ahead as you lift
  3. Pushing up with your heels, keep the bar as close to your body as possible
  4. Lift until the bar is at thigh level then lower the bar back to the starting position
  5. Control the weight as you lower the bar

Kettlebell swings

Equipment needed: Kettlebell

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and grip the kettlebell with both hands
  2. While keeping your back flat, engage your lats to pull the weight between your legs
  3. Drive your hips forward and explosively pull the kettlebell up to shoulder height with your arms straight ahead
  4. Carefully let the kettlebell fall back between your legs and return to the starting position
  5. Continue to the next rep without pausing

Bent over barbell rows

Equipment needed: Barbell

  1. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip and your hands shoulder-width apart
  2. Hinge at the hips and knees, lowering yourself until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor
  3. Make sure you keep your back naturally arched as you lift
  4. Pull the bar up until it reaches your upper abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together
  5. Pause before lowering the bar to the starting position


Equipment needed: Pull-up bar

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended
  2. Your hands should be roughly shoulder-width apart
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale and drive your elbow towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar
  4. Control your weight as you lower yourself back to the starting position

For more helpful tips and information on fitness and nutrition, head over to Inside Track.

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