Do you want to build back muscles that people stop and say wow about? Are you looking for a range of back exercises to improve your strength and shape? If you answered yes to any of these then you should try barbell back exercises.
Strength training is an essential part of any fitness routine. It helps boost metabolism, burn fat, and increase muscle mass for a toned, strong look. You don’t need expensive machines or weights to get started – all you need is a barbell!
Barbell workouts are extremely effective in building back muscles which not only add definition to your physique but also help to stabilize and protect your spine. In this article, we take a look at some of the best barbell back exercises that can help you build strength, size, and confidence!
The back is made up of a complex network of muscles that run along the spine, from the neck to the lower back. These muscles are responsible for the movement and support of the body in all directions. Building strength in these muscles will help you move better, with improved posture and balance.
Things To Know About Barbell Back Exercises
Barbell back exercises are one of the best ways to strengthen your lumbar muscles and build a powerful body. They are an essential part of any gym routine, as they have countless benefits for your overall health, strength, and mobility. Here’s what you need to know about barbell back exercises, including the best exercises to do and safety tips to keep in mind.
Types of Barbell Back Exercises
There are many types of barbell back exercises that can be performed with a standard Olympic weightlifting barbell, such as deadlifts, bent-over rows, and hyperextensions. You may have also heard of exercises like the landmine row, rack pull, and pendlay row which are quite popular. All of the options are great when you take the time to learn them.
You can also use various grips to vary up your workouts and results for different muscle groups – for instance, a narrow grip will focus more on the lower lats while a wide grip emphasizes the upper lats.
Muscles Worked in Barbell Back Exercises
The main muscles worked during barbell back exercises include the latissimus dorsi (or “lats”), spinal erectors, biceps, trapezius, and rhomboids. These muscles all play a key role in keeping your body upright during standing exercises like squats or deadlifts and also contribute to stability during activities such as rowing or pull-ups.
In addition, training these muscles helps protect against back injuries by strengthening the core and improving posture. You will also find that many exercises for the back will overlap with other muscle groups for great full-body workouts. The back is a major muscle group that connects to many other muscles, so strengthening it can have a great impact on everything else.
Safety Tips For Your Back
As with any type of exercise program, safety is paramount when it comes to barbell back exercises. It’s important to start with light weights when first beginning these movements in order to get comfortable using proper form before progressing up in weight.
Additionally, don’t attempt any maximal lifts without prior knowledge of basic proper form techniques or guidance from certified trainers. Finally, setting up properly around the barbell is incredibly important – make sure you align yourself comfortably above the rack or platform before commencing each set.
Benefits of Barbell Back Exercises
Incorporating barbell back exercises into your regular workout routine has numerous long-term health benefits:
- improved posture by developing strong stabilizing muscles
- increased flexibility due to increased range of motion from performing compound movements
- enhanced muscular endurance through gradual increases in resistance levels
- improved coordination throughout larger muscle groups
- reductions in chronic pain associated with muscle imbalances or weak core areas
- overall body strength through progressive overload training principles dedicated specifically towards targeting lumbar muscle area activity.
Top 5 Best Barbell Back Exercises
Having a strong back is essential no matter your fitness goals. Developing muscular strength and size in your back can have positive impacts on both your posture and overall physical health.
Barbell exercises are an effective way to give your back the challenge and variety it needs to get the most out of your workout sessions.
Below we’ve outlined the best barbell exercises for strengthening and improving the appearance of your back:
1. Bent-Over Barbell Row
This exercise targets your lats, contributing to increased muscular strength and support for activities such as carrying heavy objects, rowing, or swimming. This is usually the staple exercise in the majority of back workouts. There are other variations of rows that you can do if you want to change things up.
- To perform the bent-over barbell row, start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Lean forward at 45 degrees while keeping a flat lower back then grip the barbell with an overhand grip at shoulder width distance.
- From here, engage your core muscles and pull the weight up until it touches your stomach area then slowly return it to starting position.
- Repeat for the desired repetitions and sets.
A barbell row is not only good for the back but also for other muscle groups like the shoulders. You will find that the motion of the rowing exercise helps to engage muscles like the rear deltoids and posterior deltoids. These are all important muscles that will benefit from the majority of row variations such as cable rows.
2. Barbell Back Extension
The back extension bench is a fantastic piece of equipment in the gym in general. It is fantastic for targeting and engaging all the lower back muscles. By adding a barbell to this bench, you increase the amount of progress that you can make in a short time.
- Start by lying on the back extension bench with feet firmly planted under the foot pads.
- Make sure the cushioned pads for your legs are set at the top of your thighs. You need to make sure that you can bend your hips with no issues.
- Place the barbell with the desired weight on the floor in front of the bench (where you will be bending).
- Lower your upper body towards the ground and grab the barbell with both hands at shoulder width.
- Keep your back flat as you lift the barbell towards you. Lift by using your hamstrings and glutes (also erectors) to fully engage your lower back muscles.
- At the top of the motion you should have a full straight back with the barbell in line with the thigh pads.
- Lower the barbell back to the floor and repeat the motion for the desired sets and repetitions.
3. Barbell Deadlift
The barbell deadlift is an excellent full-body exercise that focuses primarily on posterior chain muscles including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and traps. To get different results you can also utilize a wide grip when doing this exercise. This will target different areas of your lats.
- Start by standing underneath the loaded bar (shins should be touching) without allowing any part of your body other than your hands to come into contact with it (using a squat rack might give you added support).
- From there, bend down keeping the head looking up while maintaining a straight line in the spine until shoulders reach parallel height while gripping the sides of the weight evenly with both hands (palm should face you).
- Engage core muscles then lift the weight off the floor explosively extending knees/hips at the same time before returning the weight down in a slow controlled manner
- Repeat the desired number of reps/sets as needed.
4. Barbell Shrugs
Barbell shrugs target trapezius muscle more effectively than any other exercise making them great for increasing upper body strength as well as improving posture. It is a relatively simple exercise to do in terms of the steps involved, but that just makes it one of the best.
- Here you will need an upright torso stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Grab the barbell shoulder-width apart and ensure you maintain a steady grip.
- Start the movement by lifting your shoulders towards the ears
- Pause at the top for 1-2 seconds before slowly returning to the cuffing original position
- Repeat the process for the desired number of repetitions /sets necessary.
This is very beneficial for working on the upper back muscles, particularly around the shoulder blades. The shoulder blades play a major role in the majority of upper back movements so it is important to strengthen this area.
5. Meadows Row
Yes, you are not reading that wrong, it’s another row. The reason why rows are so effective is because of how they engage your back muscles to perform them. This particular row focuses on a single arm variation to get targeted results in your lats.
- To do this exercise you will require a landmine attachment to attach the barbell to for stability. Most gyms should have one so this should be accessible to everyone.
- Attach the desired weight plates onto the side of the barbell you will be lifting from.
- Stand side on to the barbell (should be in line with your shoulder) and assume the same position as a bent-over row.
- Using the hand closest to the bar, pull the bar upwards until your hand is past the side of your body.
- Bring it back down and repeat the process for desired repetitions and sets
You can also alternate this with a regular T-Bar row if you are looking to target both sides at the same time. Both achieve similar results but utilizing row variations can be nice to have in your program.
Start using these exercises for bigger back gains!
Keep following proper form techniques when doing barbell back exercises, and focus on building up your strength gradually over time according to individual needs and goals. Of course there are also cable back workouts but we discuss that in another article. For now, incorporate barbells with the workouts and exercises you do over the week.
Many people have developed strong backs which then enable them to participate in higher-impact physical activities such as running marathons or competing in powerlifting competitions with confidence! So take that first step today by incorporating this efficient form of resistance into your fitness regimen now – You won’t regret it!