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5 Best Exercises for Your Back

back muscles

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If you have back pain, it can seem nearly impossible to find the right exercises to help relieve it.

Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that can give your back the attention it needs without causing further injury to your spine or other supporting muscles in your back. Here are five of the best exercises for your back that won’t cause you more problems in the long run.

What is your back made of?

The back is a complex structure made up of bones, ligaments, and joints, which support most of your body’s weight. There are three types of muscle fibers that make up your back: Type I (slow-twitch), Type IIA (fast-twitch A), and Type IIB (fast-twitch B). For all intents and purposes though, we’re just going to focus on your Type I and Type IIA fibers here. To understand how to target them with specific exercises, let’s look at their characteristics.

First, type I muscle fibers are good at resisting fatigue—meaning they can go longer before you need to take a break—but they aren’t very powerful or fast twitch.

On the other hand, fast-twitch fibers contract more quickly but they’re not as resistant to fatigue. What’s interesting about these two types of muscle fiber is that they work in opposition to each other.

Whenever you perform a back exercise that is especially strength-based, like one of these five core movements, you’re targeting your fast-twitch muscles. That’s because exercises that require greater stability need to be fueled by strong fast-twitch fibers. As you become stronger and more stable, your body will start to recruit more slow-twitch fibers to aid in lifting heavier weights. This is why you’ll notice there’s some overlap between our targeted moves and other overall back exercises like chin ups or rows.

Here are 5 best exercises for strengthening your back

Bent Over Barbell Row

The bent over barbell row is a compound, upper body strength exercise that targets your back muscles and is considered by many to be one of the best exercises for building muscle and shaping up your back.

This movement primarily targets your latissimus dorsi (lats) but also works your rhomboids, traps, and biceps as secondary muscles.

The bent over barbell row begins with you gripping a weight bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width apart. From there, keep your back straight and bend at your waist until it’s almost parallel to the floor while keeping a flat back; that means no rounding! With no hips or knees moving, lift the weight up toward your chest. Lower it down under control and repeat reps until you’ve completed all sets.


Another great read: The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Muscular Endurance

Seated Row

Pulling exercises are great for strengthening your upper back and shoulders, and they can also improve your posture.

There are many different versions of a seated row—you can do it on a machine at the gym or using a resistance band—but no matter which type you choose, you’ll feel that burn in your back and arms.

Sit with your feet hip-width apart on top of a padded mat or cushion, knees bent so that your thighs aren’t parallel to each other. Grasp handles of resistance band with each hand; keeping them close to sides of body, extend arms overhead until hands touch behind head. Bend elbows 90 degrees so that hands move toward ears; then slowly return to starting position.



The pull-up is widely considered one of the best back exercises you can do. It works more than just your lats—it engages your shoulders, biceps, traps, and core. The key is to squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as possible at the top of each rep. If you can’t do one rep with good form, use a band or raise the weights on the assisted pull up machine so that you don’t have to get all of your body weight up. As you get stronger, build up to being able to do five sets of five reps.


Another great read: 6 Moves to Tone Your Abs and Obliques

Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown is one of the best exercises for building a solid back.

To perform this exercise, sit up a pull down machine and grab the barbell above your head with an overhead grip. Sit with your back straight and pull down the barbell towards your chest. Make sure to keep a straight back at all times. If you find that it starts to curl in at the end of each rep, lower the weights. A proper form is more important than the number of kilograms or pounds that you use.



To strengthen your back, perform a deadlift exercise. This exercise is perfect for strengthening your back and hamstrings. Perform by standing with your feet about hip-width apart, grasping a barbell or dumbbells at arms’ length in front of you. Slowly bend at your knees, lowering your hips and straightening your back; slowly return to an upright position. Try three sets of 10 repetitions two times per week to start.


Sample back workout

ExerciseSets x reps
Pull Ups
Seated Rows
Bent Over Rows
Lateral Pull Down
5 x 8
3 x 12
3 x 12
3 x 12
4 x 10

Another great read: High Intensity Interval Training-What You Need to Know


Back injuries are very common. But if you want to keep your back strong and healthy, there are plenty of simple things you can do, from strengthening your back muscles to lifting with proper form.

If you’d like to know learn more about exercise and workouts then be sure to enrol into the Nutrition2change ‘How to build effective workout programs‘ online curse.

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