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6 Exercises For A Stronger Back

Guest Post by Francesca Russo.

The back is the axis of the body. More than 5.7 million people suffer from back or spinal problems, making back pain the second most common reported health condition in the US. Back exercises eliminate back problems and prevent future back troubles. If your back is strong, then the daily activities you perform become easier and sports exercises become more effective. The back muscles support the spine, create a V-shaped appearance, ensure a good posture and speed up the metabolism.
So, if you want to have a strong back, you should incorporate exercises, which develop your back muscles, into your daily routine. Here are some benefits of a strong back and the exercises for a strong back.

Benefits of a Stronger Back
A strong back promotes a harmonious development and functioning of all body organs, bones, joints, and muscles. The strong back offers perfect benefits for the whole body.
 Improved Posture
A weak back contributes to the poor posture. A poor posture has a destructive effect on the body as it doesn’t allow all organs function well. If you work on your back, you become taller, don’t slouch and the posture is improved, which contributes to the overall health. Besides, people with a good posture appear to be visually leaner and they breathe easier because when the body is upright, more oxygen flows through your body, which prevents fatigue and fills the body with energy.
 A Strong Back Is Important For Weightlifters
Strong and healthy shoulders make weightlifting safer and more effective as if shoulder joints are stabilized, they allow you to lift more weight during the exercise. And the mid back and upper back exercises are targeted at stabilizing your shoulders. Also, the back exercises promote the arm muscle growth. A strong biceps promotes the more effective workout. According to the American Heart Association, strength training (e.g. lifting weights) improves the heart health and your main muscle becomes more enduring.
 The Risk Of Injuries Is Reduced And Athletic Performance Is Improved
When your upper back muscles are well-developed, they prevent the musculoskeletal injuries or reduce their severity. Besides, strength training makes your arms, shoulders, and the neck stronger. As a result, your sports performance is improved as these muscles are more enduring.
 A V-shaped Torso
Studies have shown that women are most drawn to muscular men whose shoulders measure 1.6 times the size of their waist.

And the back exercises help you to build the needed shape: wider at the top and narrow at the bottom.
 Prevented Back Pain
According to the American Chiropractic Association, about 31 million Americans suffer from back pain at some points in their lives. This pain breaks balance and weakens the muscles. So, exercises, targeted at the back muscles, make them more balanced, more resilient, which keeps back pain at bay.
 Improved Spinal Stability
Back exercises stretch the back muscles and they become more flexible. Eventually, it becomes easier for the body to twist, lift, and turn. Also, it is easier for you to perform both simple actions and complex movements.
 Improved Metabolism
Experts agree that muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass. So, if you want to increase your metabolic potential, build more muscles on the back. A strong back with large muscles promotes the increased calorie burn.

Exercises for a Stronger Back

Maintaining a strong and healthy back is a challenging task. It may be achieved only through regular exercises. Here are some samples of exercises, which you may perform at home or in the gym.

Lat Pulldowns

This is one of the best back gym exercises. It involves movements of the shoulders, scapula, and the elbows. It is suitable for people, who suffer from leg/hip issues and lack agility and coordination as it doesn’t put pressure on the bottom part of the body. Besides, this exercise not only makes the back stronger, it also helps to build muscles, so it will be beneficial for bodybuilders.

The exercise will be especially effective if you perform it at a slow tempo. Also, the type of grip determines the specific muscles targeted by the lift. Thus, a wide grip is for those, who want to work on the upper back and a narrower grip is for the central area of the upper back.

How to do:

Sit down at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with the palms facing forward. Make sure the knee pad fits your height. Breathe out, pull the shoulders back and down and bring the bar down to the chest. Don’t move your torso during this exercise. Once you’ve done the first rep, pause and return to the initial position. It is recommended to do 3 sets (8-12 reps each).

Front Squats

This resistance exercise is perfect for the strengthening of the upper back. The exercise involves different muscle groups and it improves the back flexibility.

How to do:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take the barbell and place it in front of you across the tops of the shoulders. Then raise the upper arms and make sure they are parallel to the floor, the bar should roll back onto the fingertips. Then, lower your body by pushing the thighs back and bending the knees. Stop when your hips are parallel to the floor. Then, push the body back to the starting position.

Note: during the exercise, don’t let the elbows drop and always maintain a tall chest.


The deadlift is an excellent workout for back as it engages all of the major muscle groups. When you perform the exercise, your upper back muscles work to keep the torso upright and prevent the lower back from rounding. If these muscles (rhomboids, rear deltoids, lats) aren’t engaged, it may lead to injuries.

How to do:

Take a barbell and roll it against the calves. Bend the knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip. Keep your lower back naturally arched, pull the torso up and push the hips forward as you stand up with the barbell. Then, lower the bar to the floor and repeat the same sequence of movements.

Seated Cable Row W/Pause

This is a traditional upper-back exercise with a slight modification – a pause, which lasts for several seconds. The thing is that when you pull the bar to the torso, you make the pause. This pause forces your scapular retractors to work longer. These muscles contract to retract the shoulder blades.

Strengthening these muscles is vital because they increase the shoulder function (if the shoulders are weak, they become unstable and your ability to perform the bench press is reduced), they improve posture and eliminate the risk of injuries.

How to do:

Attach a straight bar to a cable station and position yourself with your feet braced. Grab the bar with the overhand grip and sit straight. Pull the bar to your chest, then hold the pause for several seconds and back to the starting position.

Note: during the exercise, your torso should be straight and the shoulders should be pulled down and back. If you don’t do it, it may cause the instability of joints and lead to the injury. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps each.

Reverse Fly

This exercise is recommended by fitness trainers as the effective way to strengthen the posterior shoulder and upper back and to improve your posture.

How to do:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight and slightly bend your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing it. Then, raise the weights out to the sides as far as you can. During the raising, squeeze your shoulder blades together and then lower them back down. It is recommended to do 2 sets of 15-16 reps.

Opposite Arm And Leg Reach

This is a perfect strengthening exercise, which may be performed both in the gym and at home.
This exercise improves the work of shoulder joints. However, it should be avoided by people, who have the recent shoulder surgery and low back injuries.

How to do:

Stand on all fours, lift the right arm forward and extend the left leg back. Make sure the leg and the arm are in line with the body. Hold this position for several seconds, then bring the leg and arm down and repeat the same actions with the left arm and the right leg. Do 10-15 reps per side.


Thus, having a strong back is crucial to the optimal sports performance and overall health. Do the workout for back regularly and you’ll forget about the back pain and enjoy life to the fullest.

About the Author

Francesco Russo likes to write and exercise. His personal website is

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