Back exercises: train your back, even at home!

We'll show you 7 back exercises to strengthen your back muscles - or even get rid of your back pain!

Back exercises: train your back, even at home!

Training back muscles would be very important for all of us. It's not only recommended for athletes; also for those who sit a lot while working, whether in front of a computer or in a car - or drop their shoulders forward for some other reason. That is because this position basically causes chest muscles to shorten and back muscles - especially the middle and lower part of the trapezius - to weaken. A lot of people suffer from back pain caused by bad posture. This can be greatly reduced or even eliminated by treating the basic problem, which, however, requires training your back muscles.

Superficial and deep back muscles are parts of the core muscles, which require complex training to develop proper posture. This time, however, we will focus specifically on back exercises, some of which can be also done at home, without any equipment.

From an aesthetic point of view we should also point out for ladies that broad back muscles can greatly compensate for broad hips to get a nice hourglass shape. As for men, there are few other muscles which can make your appearance more spectacular than a nice and strong back.


Let's see the best back exercises!

Wide-grip lat pull-downs

1 Wide-grip lat pull-downs

It's an exercise targeting the latissimus dorsi, or lats, which you may as well replace with pull-ups. This exercises can help you broaden your back and prepare your muscles for own-bodyweight pull-ups. As a first step, pull down your shoulder blades and the shoulder girdle, then pull your elbows down along your body - meanwhile, your shoulder blades and shoulders should stay down. Pull the handle down as far as the middle of your breastbone. To do that, you can lean back a little from your hips, but only as far as to be able to pull the handle vertically down without hitting yourself. Hold the movement at the lowest point. Exhale while pulling down and inhale as you let the handle back. Make sure you let the handle back in a controlled movement; don't let the weight tug at your arms and shoulders. If you're using a lat pulldown machine, you can set the right weight to do the necessary number of reps. For men 8-10, whereas for women 12-15 reps are recommended.

2 Bent-over barbell rows

This exercise, too, works the lats, as well as the trapezius and the rhomboids. It's not recommended if you're suffering from back pains. Grab a barbell matching your strength level. Bend over with a straight back and keep your balance. Your arms should point downwards in a natural position. From this position, lift the barbell, keeping your elbows close to your body and closing your shoulder blades. Keep your head in line with your back. Thus, the barbell will touch your body at about the height of your navel. Make sure you don't straighten up during the rowing movement and that you keep your elbows close to your body all the time. Keep your knees slightly bended during the movement for better stability. For men 8-10, whereas for women 12-15 reps are recommended.

T-bar rows

3 T-bar rows

T-bar rows are similar to bent-over rows. In some gyms, you'll also find machines with a chest support, but you can make your own T-bar, too. Take a large bar and position it in a corner to keep it from moving. Complete it with a handle suitable for narrow pull-downs to be able to carry out the movement. Similarly to bent-over rows, this exercise works the lats, as well as the trapezius and the rhomboids. Choose weights for the bar which match your strength level. When pulling the bar to your chest, you should begin the movement by closing your shoulder blades as mentioned above, and make sure that when you pull your elbows back, the shoulder blades should also be closing in, as if you were trying to squeeze something with them. For women, 12-15 reps, whereas for men 8-10 reps are recommended. We don't recommend this exercise if you have acute back pain.

4 Seated machine rows

One of the most popular pieces of gym equipment is the pulley cable rowing machine. It's an exercise for training the lats, rhomboids and the trapezius. Position yourself on the machine with a vertical torso, your back straight and your knees slightly bended. Grab the V-bar, close your shoulder blades and pull in your elbows, keeping them close to your body. Make sure your hands remain in line with your lower arm all along and you don't bend your wrist while pulling. Keep your head in line with your back all the time. Return the weight in slow, controlled movement and don't let it jerk you back! For men 8-10, whereas for women 12-15 reps are recommended.

Seated machine rows

5 Reverse snow angels

Everybody knows how to make snow angels - you just lie flat on your back in the fresh snow and move your arms and legs to draw an angel. The good news is that this exercise doesn't need any snow, and you don't even need to move your legs. However, you need to lie face-down on the floor, with your head in line with your back, that is, facing downwards all the time. Extend your arms to your sides. Bring your arms up to your head, and then back down to your hips, in a large curve, still extended. Then bring them back to your sides and lower them back on the floor. You may as well use smaller weights for this exercise, e.g. a 1 kg dumbbell. Do 10-15 reps. Besides the entire trapezius, this exercise also works the lats, the rhomboids and the spinal erectors. Make sure you keep your elbows extended all the time.

6 Superman exercise

It's an exercise that works the deep back muscles and the spinal erectors, as well the trapezius and the glutes. It doesn't need require any equipment. You can as well do it at home, on a rug. Lie face-down on the floor. Keep your arms extended next to your head, palms facing down. Throughout the exercise, your head should be in line with your back, that is, facing down all the time. Lift your arms and legs at the same time, but make sure your knees remain extended throughout the exercise. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly return your arms and legs on the floor. Hold the uppermost position as long as you can - even as long as 30 seconds. A great variation of this exercise is when you only raise and hold one arm and the opposite leg. It's called the aquaman exercise. Make sure you alternate sides!

7 Lying ball pass

It's a great exercise to strengthen your back muscles and improve your posture. It's very simple to do, but it needs adequate shoulder mobility. If the mobility of your shoulders allows, lie face-down on the floor and hold a small ball - one which you can hold in one hand - above your head. A softball will be perfect. You don't need heavy weights - increase the reps instead. From the starting position, raise your extended arms and bring them down to your hips on both sides, and then pass the ball from one hand to the other above your hips (butt). Then bring your arms up again to your sides and on to your head, and pass the ball from one hand to the other again. Do 10-10 reps in both directions, but the goal is to increase the reps to at least 15-15. If you have shoulder pain, you can do this exercise in sitting position, instead of lying, bent over, or on a bench with chest support.

Don't forget: strengthening your back muscles is not only important for aesthetic reasons. You should also regularly training your back muscles to improve your posture, and prevent and overcome back pain.

Home exercises
can be done 3-4 times a week, but you should also train the other core muscles to be really effective. Machine, weight and barbell exercises should be done once or twice a week.

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