How to Get a Stronger Back
You cannot easily see your back and this is probably one of the reasons why it is often neglected during training. Most people focus so much on working their “mirror muscles” — the chest, abs, biceps, and triceps — they tend to leave out other (also important) muscle groups. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s less significant compared to the others. This is why it's imperative to learn how to get a stronger back.
Back muscles serve a purpose greater than just aesthetics. Your back connects your hips, butt, chest, shoulders, and neck. Back muscles provide the power you need to perform most tasks, from carrying the groceries to maxing out your deadlift.
If you want a well-rounded physique, then you need to have a balanced workout routine, and a strong back is one aspect you should not take for granted. Want to know how to get a stronger back? We’ve listed some of the best exercises to help you.
How to Get a Stronger Back
1. Bent-Over Row
A bent-over row, when performed correctly, utilizes upper-body muscles like the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, lower trapezius muscles, and erector spinae. You will need dumbbells for this exercise.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing you. Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, bending at the waist, until it's parallel to the floor. Remember to keep your back straight.
- Bend your elbows and lift the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your arms close to your body.
- Extend your arms back to the starting position and then repeat.
If you ask most experts how to get a stronger back, one of the most popular answers will be planks. Aside from strengthening your back muscles, planks also help build your core muscles and improve flexibility.
- Start by lying face down with your hands positioned under your shoulders and your legs extended. Push your body up and keep your wrists in line with your elbows. Hold your chin close to your neck.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and squeeze your glutes. Remember to breathe normally.
- Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Rest for about a minute and then repeat for three to five more rounds.
There are other plank variations you can do to help strengthen your back muscles. Keep in mind getting the right form is important. For added comfort, do it on a yoga mat.
3. Reverse Plank
This exercise targets your lower back muscles and strengthens your erector spinae.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you. Place your palms flat on the floor slightly behind your hips.
- Press into your palms and lift your hips up. Keep your arms and legs straight and your eyes looking up.
- Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, and repeat for three to five rounds.
4. Wall Hold-Ups
Another exercise excellent for developing a stronger back is wall hold-ups. These are designed to help target and strengthen the trapezius muscles. As its name suggests, this exercise must be done against a wall.
- Start with your back pressed firmly on the wall, your arms at 90-degree angles against the wall, with your palms facing forward — just like the surrender position you see in movies. Your feet should be positioned a short distance from wall.
- Slowly slide your arms in an upward and then downward movement. Keep your shoulders and elbows in contact with the wall during the exercise.
- Repeat the motion for one minute.
5. Back Extensions
The back extension exercise works your lower, mid, and upper back.
- Lie face down on your stomach with your arms straight out in front. Keep your palms flat on the ground and your legs stretched behind you.
- Pull your abs in and lift your left arm and your right leg an inch above the ground. Hold this position for five seconds before lowering back to the starting position.
- Repeat the motion on the opposite arm and leg.
6. Cobra Lift
The cobra lift eases the stiffness in your lower back and stretches the muscles of your shoulders, chest, and abdominals.
- Lie on your stomach with your hands at your sides, palms flat on the ground and positioned under your shoulders. Extend your legs. Your toes should be pointing away from your body.
- Press your hips into the floor and push your chest off the ground, arching your lower back and stretching your chest and abdominals.
- Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds before relaxing back to the starting position.
This exercise works your erector spinae and is great for building lower back strength. As with other back exercises, the superman workout will help improve your posture.
- Lie face down with your arms out in front of you and your legs extended behind.
- Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor at the same time. Keep your arms and legs straight and your core and butt tight.
- Hold the position for about five seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement.
The twister is another great exercise that works your obliques and strengthens your back muscles.
- Get into the chair pose.
- With both arms raised, twist your torso to one side. Hold the position for about three seconds and then twist your torso to the opposite side, still extending both arms.
- Repeat for sets of 20, 10 on each side.