As many set new goals and attempt to achieve their dream bodies, back training comes into question. Do I have to do it? It’s so difficult! Do we really use those muscles?!? Well I’m here to tell you back training is extremely important. Your back is one of the largest muscle groups in the body and training those muscles has many real world applications. If you consistently train your back you will unlock crazy strength, increase your core stability, correct your posture, and never have to worry about throwing out your back. In this blog I have compiled a list of 7 back workouts you can do using our Adjustable Dumbbells which will help you improve your back strength and physique.
The lat pullover is a fantastic exercise for the back, chest, shoulders, and core. The main muscle group targeted however, is the latissimus dorsi or the “lats” hence “lat pullovers”. This exercise is so great because it puts your lats in an unfamiliar position which many people have never trained in. This means you can use a lower weight to feel the burn, and there’s lots of room for progression. The lat pullover can also work to increase lat and shoulder mobility since many do not stretch their lats/shoulders the way this exercise will. Complete the lat pullover by:
Step 1: Lie on a bench with your feet on the ground, your core tight and your back flat. Hold a dumbbell over your chest so the dumbbell is vertical and your hands are under the top of the weight.
Step 2: With your elbows slightly bent, lower the weight overhead until your upper arms are in line with your body. Don't lower any further if you feel your back begin to arch.
Step 3: Pull the dumbbell over your chest to return to the starting position.
The single arm dumbbell row is another great exercise for growing your wings (lats)! This movement mainly targets the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, biceps, and is great for increasing core stability. This exercise is so good for producing back muscle growth because of the full range of motion you hit doing this movement single arm. You can let your arm retreat all the way to a dead hang before pulling the weight all the way up, as close to your body as possible, squeezing the hypertrophy into the muscle. This exercise is completed by:
Step 1: Take one step back into a lunging position (or go to a kneeling position with one knee on a stable surface like a bench). Keep a soft bend in your front leg with the knee in line with your ankle and back leg straight. Lean slightly forward, and rest your free hand on your front thigh (or the front of the bench). Tighten your core by squeezing your belly button in towards your spine. This will give you a good base of support.
Step 2: Lower the dumbbell toward the floor until you have a full extension at the elbow. Maintain proper posture through your shoulders, hips, and lower back. Avoid rounding or arching the lumbar spine.
Step 3: Begin the upward motion of the dumbbell by first sliding your shoulder blade toward your spine and then lifting the weight up toward your torso by driving your elbow to the ceiling. Keep your elbow close to your body as it passes the ribs.
Step 4: Squeeze your shoulder blade in toward the center of back (contracting the rhomboids). At the end of the movement, the dumbbell should be in line with your chest and your elbow should be pointing up toward the ceiling. Be sure to maintain good posture through your spine, shoulders, and hips.
The single arm incline row is extremely similar to the single arm row. The only two differences are the angle at which the back muscles are being used and that you will need an inclined surface to complete this exercise. This movement is done the same way as the single arm dumbbell row instructions detail, but you will have your chest flat on an incline bench (any inclined surface works) to target the upper muscle fibers in the lats and rhomboids. This is a great exercise for the same reasons as the single arm dumbbell row, but emphasis is taken off of the weight you can pull, and is more focused on technique and isolating those upper back muscles.
The high chest row is used to target the rhomboids minor and major, while incorporating the trapezius. The exercise is similar to other variations of the dumbbell row, the main differences being the angle your back is hinged at, your grip, and the muscles you’re pulling with. This exercise has a few different names, but the technique remains consistent, being as follows:
Step 1: Bend your back to a 80-90 degree angle with the floor, or lie flat on the bench with your back to the ceiling. Hang the dumbbells directly below your shoulders in a pronated grip.
Step 2: Lift the chest up and pull the elbows back until the hands are right in front of the shoulders, then pause for 2-3 seconds. Slowly straighten the arms to return the weight to the starting position.
Deadlifts are a great exercise for increasing overall strength and power output. The main muscle groups targeted with deadlifts are the lumbar (lower back), glutes, and hamstrings. This is a great move for many reasons including: increasing explosive power, increasing core stability, and gaining strength and muscle. Deadlifts are also a compound movement, meaning multiple muscle groups need to be involved to complete a repetition. Also meaning that this is a great exercise for fat burning! Deadlifts are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym, but if done with improper form you could be putting yourself at risk of serious injury. I suggest further inquiry regarding the precise technique needed to complete the deadlift, but the basic instructions are as follows:
Step 1: With your feet flat beneath the barbell, squat down and grasp it with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back and look straight ahead rather than up or down.
Step 3: Lift the bar, keeping it close to your legs and focus on taking the weight back onto your heels (rather than your toes). Think about pulling the weight towards you on the way up. Lift to thigh level, pause, then return under control to the start position.
Step 4: Let the weight come to a complete rest between each rep. While it's on the floor, take a second or two to make sure your body is in the correct position – chest up, upper back tight and eyes looking forward – before lifting it up again.
Upright rows are a great movement which mainly targets your trapezius, rhomboids minor, and scapulae. This movement will help you build the muscles of your upper back and increase the overall performance of those muscle groups, which will carry over to other exercises. Upright rows are completed by:
Step 1: Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart.
Step 2: Grasp a barbell with your palms facing downward and your hands closer than shoulder width apart.
Step 3: Keep your arms extended downward with your elbows slightly bent so that the barbell is touching your upper legs. This is your starting position.
Step 4: Keeping the barbell close to your body, exhale and raise the barbell straight up to your chest.
Rear deltoid flys are a phenomenal isolation exercise which mainly targets the rear deltoids and trapezius. The deltoids and trapezius are not considered your “back” but these muscle groups are located near the top-back side of your torso which overlaps with other muscles of the back. Building these muscle groups which are close in proximity will only build the “full back” you’re looking for. With this isolation exercise, along with others I recommend incorporating drop sets and supersets to increase muscle fatigue, hypertrophy, and to ensure good form is not being compromised by fatigue. Rear deltoid flys are done by:
Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Hinge at your waist and bring your chest forward and down. Ideally, you would want your chest to be parallel to the floor, but not everybody has the flexibility for that. You may also bend your knees slightly to maintain a neutral spine.
Step 3: Allow the dumbbells to hang straight down and maintain a neutral grip.
Inhale. Maintaining tightness in your core and keeping your back neutral, raise your arms out and to the side. Exhale as you lift the weight. Squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top, but don’t hunch your shoulders up.
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