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Back training? Best back exercises for building a great back!

Which exercises are best for large back muscles

If you're a bodybuilder, you're probably like most of them, who mainly train the muscles in the front of the body, such as the chest, arms, and abs, while forgetting much-needed attention to your back muscles. Of course, most of us are more interested in what we see when we look in the mirror, so we often forget about the back muscles.

But there are more benefits to training the back muscles than you think. It can complete your look by giving you a thick, strong back. It can also increase your weightlifting strength and help prevent injuries that can occur while lifting weights. In fact, there is a study that has shown how exercises for strengthening the back muscles can be effective in improving conditions such as back pain.

What do your back muscles consist of?
Learning about the back muscles will help you develop a strong back by teaching you how to target each muscle effectively. The back consists of several muscles. However, in this blog we will only look at the major muscles involved in athletics and bodybuilding.

  • latissimus dorsi

Also called "lats," they are the largest of the back muscles and the upper half of the body. They are probably the first muscles people think of when it comes to training the back. They arise from the upper arm and connect to the shoulder blade - covering the width of the mid and lower back. The lats help us extend, rotate, and adduct the shoulders. To target and grow this muscle group, popular exercises such as pull ups, lats pull down, barbell bent over rows and deadlifts help significantly.

  • Trapezius (Traps)

Normally you would say that the trapezius or stair muscles are located between your neck and your shoulder. However, they are bigger than that, as they reach down to your middle spine. They are divided into three distinct subgroups: the upper, middle, and lower traps. The upper ones start at the base of our skull and attach to the collarbone. The middle ones start from the upper part of our middle spine, and connect to the shoulder blade. While the lower ones start at the lower part of the middle spine and are also connected to the scapula.
The trapezius muscles help us control our shoulder blades, which are involved in moving our neck and shoulders, and supporting the head. To train the trapezius muscles you can do exercises like deadlifts, shrugs, power cleans, barbell rows and cable face pulls.

  • rhomboids

The Rhomboids are under the traps. They start at the vertebrae and connect to the shoulder blade. While they're not as visible as you might think, they play an important role in giving you that front-to-back thickness. The rhomboid muscles can be addressed by exercises such as barbell rows, pull ups and one arm rows.

Other important back muscles are the teres major, the infraspinatus and the erector spinae.

anatomy back muscles human body apexnutrition

Best exercises to build strong and large back muscles
Before we get into some of the best exercises to build a strong big back, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.
If hypertrophy and strength of the back muscles are your goals, then you should consider going for heavy weights. Most bodybuilders recommend using weights close to your one-rep max.

in case you don't know, your one-rep max is the maximum weight you can lift in one rep for a given exercise, with proper technique and over a full range of motion. However, caution is advised when using heavy weights. Fitness coaches often recommend starting with lighter weights before moving on to heavier weights - in a progressive manner.

Also, try doing more compound exercises. These types of exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once are great for the back muscles. Examples are deadlifts, pull-ups, dumbbell and barbell rows. In general, pulling exercises work the rhomboids, lattisimus dorsi, biceps, and traps.

Here are some of the best exercises to build your dream big and strong back:

  • deadlifts

As one of the best compound exercises, deadlifts can help build strength and increase the hypertrophy of your back muscles. Many bodybuilders believe that deadlifts are the best all-round back exercise that you can do regularly to improve your back. That's hard to argue with, as this exercise works almost every muscle in the back of your body.

benefits of the deadlifts:

  • It targets and activates the back muscles along with the glutes, hamstrings and hips.
  • It can be performed with heavy weights, which is crucial for increased strength and hypertrophy.
  • It is relatively easy to perform and only requires basic equipment in the form of a barbell and plates.
  • Other benefits include the ability to activate your core, boost your metabolism, increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of lower back pain,

.How do you do the deadlifts?

  1. Stand in front of a barbell with weights of your choice, feet shoulder-width apart, hips back, and spine straight.
  2. Now bend your knees slightly so that you can hold the bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. With your chest up, back flat, arms straight and muscles engaged, drive your feet into the floor as you lift the weighted bar up to hip height. Pause briefly in this position before returning the weight to the floor.
  4. That's 1 rep. Do the required reps.

There are many variations of deadlifts. Some of them include Romanian deadlifts, single-leg deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, stiffed-leg deadlifts, and hex bar deadlifts. Regularly changing the type you run can be beneficial for long-term progressive gains.

Some mistakes to avoid when performing deadlifts are:

No effective warm-up
- Not gripping the bar properly
- Bend the knees too low
- Contract the shoulders
- Bad attitude
- Don't address your core and don't keep your back straight. If you perform this exercise with a round (convex) back, you are more likely to have back problems both in the short term and in the long term.

woman deadlift ApexNutrition

  • pull ups

As mentioned earlier, pulling exercises are generally good for activating the back muscles. Pull-ups are a complete upper body strength workout because they work the lats, rhomboids, biceps, deltoids and the entire core.

Benefits of pull ups:

  • This exercise requires no advanced equipment and can be performed with just a simple pull-up bar.
  • Pull-ups can strengthen the back muscles, including the lats, traps, rhomboids, infraspinatus and erector spinae.
  • Other benefits include strengthening the arms and shoulder muscles, improving grip and fitness.

How do you do pull ups?

  1. Start by holding the pull-up bar with the palms facing away from you. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Now lift your feet off the floor so that your body weight is supported only by your straight arms hanging from the bar.
  3. Without swinging for momentum, pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Hold for a second or two, then return to the starting position.
  4. That's one rep. Do as many reps as possible for 3 to 4 sets.

Like most other exercises, pull-ups can be performed in different variations. If you feel like you're a bit used to regular pull-ups and you need advanced form, you can add some twist to the pull-up by adding weights to your body using weight belts or vests.

Some of the mistakes to avoid while performing pull-ups are:
- A common mistake people often make while performing pull-ups is using momentum to lift their body. When you rely on momentum to complete this exercise, you're only reducing the amount of work on your muscles.
- Not using full range of motion. When you perform only partial movements, the back muscles, especially the lats, are not fully engaged.
- Placing your elbows and shoulders in the wrong position. 

In an ACE (American Council of Exercise) study, pull-ups along with chin-ups were found to be the best activator of the latissimus dorsi muscles (the largest back muscle) in a group of six other exercises including seated rows, lat pull-downs, bent -over rows, TRX rows, IYT raises and inverted rows.

Check out our muscle building workout plan here!

Pull up man ApexNutrition

  •  Bent over row

The bent-over row is very suitable for training the lower lats, middle traps, erector spinae and rhomboids. In the ACE study discussed above, the bent-over row was found to be the best activator of the erector spinae in a group that included seven other exercises. The same study also showed that the bent-over row is one of the best exercises when it comes to activating and strengthening other back muscles such as the infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, middle and lower trapezius.

Benefits of bent-over row:

  • It strengthens most back muscles.
  • It can help relieve back pain.
  • It can also prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.

How do you do a bent-over row?

  1. Stand in front of a barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Now bend forward from your hips so that your back is straight and slightly parallel to the floor. Also bend your knees slightly and lean back slightly, so that your tailbone is slightly behind your feet. This should allow you to lift the barbell with great ease.
  3. Hold the barbell with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width, palm facing inward.
  4. Now for the most important part, engage your core and tighten your glutes as you pull your elbows up behind you until the barbell is level with your abs. Hold this position for a second and then return to the starting position.
  5. That's one rep. Repeat for required sets.

Like other exercises, bent-over rows can be performed in numerous variations. Some of them are: reverse grip bent-over row, dumbbell bent-over row, incline bench supported row, and single arm supported bent-over row.

Some common mistakes to avoid when performing bent-over row are:
- Starting with very heavy weights, which can be uncomfortable, especially if you are new to the movement. Fitness coaches often recommend that you start with lighter weights to get in good shape. Of course, as you progress, you are expected to increase the weights.
- Executing the workout quickly with momentum swinging is a mistake most beginners are guilty of. Gently and slowly lifting the barbell will greatly increase the activation of your back muscles.
- Do not bend the knees and keep the legs straight. Only with a bent knee can you effectively push your hips back so that you have a solid stance to lift the weights. If you continue to perform this exercise with a straight leg, you risk a lower back injury, as a significant portion of the load you lift with an unbent knee will be on your lower back.

bent-over rows man ApexNutrition

  • Lats pull downs

As the name implies, this exercise targets the widest muscles in the back exclusively - the latissimus dorsi. That's why the lats pull-down has become a staple among gym-goers looking to build that coveted V-shaped back reminiscent of bodybuilders, fitnessers, and weightlifters.

Benefits of lats pull down:

  • It can be a great alternative to pull-ups and chin-ups.
  • It can improve your posture by providing some stability in your spine.
  • It also strengthens the shoulder muscles along with the biceps.

How to perform the lats pull-down?

  1. With your knees bent, sit on a lat pull-down machine (found in most gyms). Make sure your knees are well under the pads of the machine, and your feet are firmly flat on the floor (flat on the floor).
  2. With a stretched and straight arm, grab the bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Now pull the bar down until it is level with your upper chest. Do this by pulling your elbows and shoulder blades down. Hold this position for a second or two before slowly returning to the starting position.
  4. That's one rep. Complete at least 3-4 sets of the required reps (12 to 15).

The variations of the lats pull-down include close-grip and wide-grip hand position, straight arm lats pull-down, and resistance band lats pull-down.

Some mistakes to avoid when doing lat pull-downs are:
- Leaning back too far when pulling down.
- Not keeping the back straight, which increases the risk of injury.
- Using heavy weights that you can't handle, which also puts you at risk for back problems.

Lats pull downs woman explanation ApexNutrition

Can Turkesterone And Shilajit Help Build Big Back Muscles
While exercise is without a doubt the most reliable route to your dream body, supplements also play a vital role. At some point you may need compounds that help improve protein synthesis and absorption in your body - all essential for muscle hypertrophy. This is where turkesterone and shilajit come in handy.

If you don't know, Turkesterone is a plant compound (phytoecdysteroid) that has been making waves in the bodybuilding world lately. It is used as an anabolic compound to increase muscle growth in bodybuilders. As a powerful ecdysteroid, people who have taken this compound have reported gaining muscle in a short period of time. Of course, this is just anecdotal. But research has shown that ecdysteroids can increase protein synthesis and prevent its breakdown. Clinical evidence has also shown that ecdysteroids can improve muscle growth and sports performance.

So, if you're looking to build big muscles for your back and other body parts, Turkesterone may be just what you're looking for. 

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Shilajit, a sticky substance created by slow decomposition of plant material over a long period of time, is another powerful anabolic compound. Research has shown that shilajit can increase testosterone levels - a compound that helps improve bone mass, muscle growth and sperm production. Shilajit can also help increase the absorption of minerals and other nutrients in the body; a process that is essential if you want to keep growing your muscles. It can also reduce muscle soreness and loss of breath during an exercise routine. All this evidence means that shilajit supplementation can effectively help build your back muscles.

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REFERENCES

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273885295_Effects_of_Back_Muscle_Strengthening_Exercises_in_Patients_with_Chronic_Non_Specific_Low_Back_Pain-A_Clinical_Trial
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/deadlift-benefits
  3. https://www.acefitness.org/continuing-education/certified/april-2018/6959/ace-sponsored-research-what-is-the-best-back-exercise/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18444661/
  5. https://joe.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/joe/191/1/1910001.xml
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31123801/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26395129/#:~:text=testosterone
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296184/