We all love a strong and defined back. A back workout is one of the most targeted muscle groups for strength and definition so we can look good and feel great.
The challenge is, that according to reports out of science there are far too many back strain injuries.
Repetitive or high impact loads, weight loading, and excessive rotations need to avoided over the long term. So, let’s build a better back workout plan for the gym that will support you well.
We’ve highlighted 3 specific exercises below so that, not only do you make the muscles bigger, but you also strengthen the back muscles to best protect the spine.
Above all, our goal is the ongoing improvement of your overall health and fitness.
Narrowing Down the Focus For Our Back Workout Plan
For some people, the only thing they are focused on is achieving a V-shaped back.
This goal is ok as an overall direction but you need to remember to work several large muscles, without forgetting other smaller ones.
In previous articles you’ll see the discussion on different machines to use for a back workout that target these different muscles.
However, right now we are narrowing our focus to build an effective back workout – deceptively simple but challenging.
As you plan your back workout there are a few things to remember:
- Warming up your body is critical. The last thing you want to do is overstrain or tear a muscle because you went too hard too fast. The muscles need to have some movement in them already so make sure you stretch or do some total body warmup first.
- Using a variety of exercises keeps your body from getting too comfortable. Try to change your routine up sometimes.
- Protect your lower back by holding your core muscles engaged.
- Your muscles do not work in isolation apart from your mind. Use your concentration and imagination to create a connection for strong results.
Define Your Back Workout Goals
To grow muscles you can do workouts aimed at hypertrophy. That means one of our goals may be the increase and growth in muscle cells through exercise.
This can be too advanced for a beginner but it’s worth understanding it well as we advance in our goals.
You can achieve this by weightlifting a lot of repetitions at a low weight, or fewer times with a heavier weight. For sure, it can be a strategic way of developing bigger muscles but you want to do it right to avoid injury.
Obsessing over muscle growth only can lead to problems so if your goal is bodybuilding, you should consult with good professional trainers.
Work with them to develop a more specific plan that helps you through the change in muscles and how to fatigue them. Trainers assess your current performance level to develop growth plans.
Your simple goals might start with being able to do one complete set of an exercise correctly. There may be a specific size you want to aim for or an increase in strength.
What is it you want to gain with your back workout?
Additionally, common sense tells us that muscles do not develop without proper nutrition and rest. Follow a healthy diet, add protein to your body after training, and respect recovery times. If you train the same muscle group every day, you will only damage it.
Our Top 3 Focused Back Workout Exercises
Pull-ups are infamous in the gym. You either look forward to the challenge or turn away for something easier to manage.
Don’t be shy of them, it’s something to work towards.
The great thing is you can also purchase a pull-up bar for your home if that’s where you exercise. So, no excuses.
They are an advanced exercise and difficult to achieve without some hard work so be prepared to improve gradually.
A pull-up is an upper body strength training exercising using a pull-up bar. You lift your own body weight up until your chin is above the bar.
Here are some tips to get the best out of it:
The pull-up technique starts by hanging from a horizontal bar, grip open wide.
Palms facing forward and your body extended fully.
Go up until you touch the chin on the bar, and slowly lower until your arms are fully extended.
Maintain control of your muscles by moving in a consistent way, not jerking.
Make sure to focus the force on your lats and not on your arms. If you want more involvement of the upper bib, open the grip more. Adding this to your back day workout will help you build your back muscles to be strong and healthy.
The deadlift is one of the best back exercises for your strength training workout.
It can be performed using a machine or with a barbell and are achieved by picking up a weight from the ground, standing up and lowering it again.
Prepare a bar with the weight you need. The first few times, it is better to go light with the weight than to overdo it.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, raise the bar with your palms pointing inward. Remember, your shoulders should be down, not squashed up to your ears.
As you perform the exercise, lean your hips back while bending your knees like a squat. Make sure you lean your torso forward, and return to the starting position.
If you want to get the technique correct it may be best to seek the supervision of a coach. Once you get better at it you can begin increasing the weight.
3. Dumbbell Row
This is another of the great back workout classics, and it is also recommended for all levels and is usually the easiest to start with.
You can easily add these to your at-home workout also. The dumbbell row helps strengthen your back plus shoulders, arms and core.
Support your knee and your hand on a bench, so that you are leaning over it. Keep your back straight in a natural position.
Next, reach down and pickup the dumbbell, palm facing you.
Your arm is hanging extended then you raise the dumbbell to your chest.
Make sure your back is doing the work and not your arms.
At the chest level, squeeze the muscles in your back and shoulder. Then, slowly with control, lower the dumbbell until you fully extend your arm, and repeat.
Do not sink your back or allow forced bends in it. Concentrate on keeping your entire trunk stable and fixed whenever you perform these types of exercises.
The No-Injury Back Workout Plan
With some awareness and strategy you can safely build up the muscles in back.
Be prepared to be strategic and smart for the benefit of a beautiful body and your long term overall health and wellness.
Take the time to think through a safe and effective back workout plan or work with a trainer that can help you reach your goals faster.