Our backs are our powerhouses, they’re what help us maintain our posture and allow us to walk with a sense of equilibrium. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that we need to maintain our back muscles with back exercises. If you’re not too familiar with what your back muscles are called or how to work them the correct way, then you’re in the right place.
Back Muscle Groups
The trapezius, or traps get their name from their trapezoid-shape. These muscles extend lengthwise from the occipital bone to the lowest thoracic vertebrae of your spine. If you slide your hand up the back of your neck and find the base of your skull, this is where your occipital bone is located. If you’ve ever had an x-ray or other medical imagery done, this is the vertebrae closest to the end of your rib cage in most cases. It gets its trapezoidal shape by extending out from this vertical line to the scapula. This is the “wing shaped” bone located on your back right next to your shoulder.
This part of your back muscles need to be exercised as a way to aid with supporting the weight of your arm, supporting the scapula, and rotation or movement of the scapula.
3 Best Back Exercises for Traps
- Farmer’s Carry: A farmer’s carry is a variation of exercise that helps build muscle both within the upper body as well as the lower body. This back exercise works the trapezius muscles because of the vital role that your scapulas play. The traps stabilize your scapulas in an effort to maintain both tension and stability in the upper back during this upper back exercise variation.
- The first step is to choose appropriate weights. Meaning you don’t want them to be too heavy, but having them be too light will do very little for you.
- Once you have your chosen weights (recommended to be in the form of kettlebells or dumbbells) you’ll squat down and grab a weight in each hand.
- Lifting with your knees first you’ll engage your core all while pulling your shoulder blades back and down. Standing up to a full upright posture. Remember to maintain a straight posture so that all parts are engaged throughout the exercise.
- Next you’ll walk, this can be for any amount of time. However, a good starting point is walking for 60 seconds and doing so for 3 to 5 repetitions. Making sure to rest between repetitions.
- Dumbbell Row: For the dumbbell row, you’re not only working your trapezius muscles, you’re also working several other muscle groups in your back including your latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoids, teres major and rhomboid. One muscle group in which we cover later in this article. These variations of rows essentially work your entire back/upper body. Again, much like the farmer’s carry, you’ll need weights. This can be either a dumbbell or kettlebell. Most individuals actually do this exercise inaccurately.
- To do these correctly you’ll want to stand on the side of a bench, whether that be a bench at home or a gym bench.
- Facing the bench, you’ll lean forward with one hand braced on the top of the bench.
- Keeping your back straight you’ll lift your weight straight up, essentially creating a chicken wing looking form.
Note that with this exercise you don’t want to swing your arm back. You’ll want to lift straight up in a controlled manner.
- Dumbbell Shrug: The dumbbell shrug is a sweet and simple exercise; however, don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This exercise is able to hit multiple muscle groups. It primarily works the traps. But it is also effective at working your shoulders, upper back, and forearms as well. Again, for this back exercise you’ll need a set of dumbbells or kettlebells.
- Holding your dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing inwards you’ll want to keep your feet shoulder width apart and engage your core.
- Once you have your stance correct, you’ll want to raise your shoulders and shoulders only as high as you can. You’ll do this by contracting your trap muscles.
- Lower your shoulders down and repeat this for as many repetitions and sets as you’d like.
Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
For those that haven’t taken anatomy since high school or just generally don’t have a clue where this muscle group is. Fear not! The latissimus dorsi muscle groups reside on either side of the spine. These muscles are large, flat muscles that stretch toward your sides. They partially cover your traps and extend to the midline of your back. It derived its name for the fact that it is the broadest muscle of the back. So what can you do to strengthen these muscles with back exercises? Let’s go over the top 3 best back exercises for your lats.
Top Exercises for Lats
- Barbell Deadlifts: On the one hand, these are one of the best exercises you can possibly do to work your lats. However, on the other they can be deemed both complicated and dangerous. The truth of the matter is, as long as you’re doing them properly, you’re more likely to build muscle and less likely to cause injury. But before we get into how to, you’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment. This means a loaded barbell with equal weight on both sides.
- Place your feet under the barbell, taking care that the bar is about an inch or so away from your shins. Ensure your feet are hip width apart.
- Grip your barbell slightly wider than where your legs are located.
- Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar, making sure not to move the bar away from you and its initial spot.
- Keep your hips where they are, squeeze your back flat and lift. Make sure to stand tall and keep a good posture. Then lower and repeat.
- Landmine Rows: Much like the other exercises listed above, landmine rows don’t just work your lats. In fact, they work your deltoids, traps, erector spinae, and glutes all in one. For this variation of rows, you’ll need a barbell and weights for one side only.
- Once you have your weights on, you stand with your body to one side. This could be either the right or left side of the barbell.
- The side you’re standing on is the arm you’ll be using. For example, if you’re on the right side of the bar you’ll be using your right hand. Bend at your hips and hold the bar in one hand.
- Keep your back straight by elongating your spine and engaging your core all while keeping a slight bend in your knees.
- Bed your elbow and pull the weight towards your chest, lower and repeat.
- Once you finish your reps and sets for the one side of your body, switch to the other side and repeat.
- Decline Dumbbell Pull-Overs: For the decline dumbbell pull-overs the muscle groups you work are primarily your lats. However, you get the added benefits of working your chest muscle as well. So let’s learn how to do one of the best back exercises for your lats.
- Sit on a weight bench, place your feet on the floor slightly wider than the bench width. Hold your dumbbell with both hands while you roll back onto the back. (Note: Your neck, back and head should be supported by the bench.)
- On an exhale, extend your arms toward the ceiling making sure to hold tight to the dumbbell so as not to drop it on your face. Elbows should be slightly bent.
- On your inhale, lower the weight back over your head.
- Repeat for as many reps and sets as needed.
Faster Recovery Times
Now of course, our bodies need rest days between workouts or at least every few days. But if you go a little too hard, then you may need more than just rest days. That extra help would be peptides. More specifically BPC-157. This hard hitting peptide helps with healing, reducing down time significantly. That means you can get back into the gym and continue on with your training that much faster.
Paradigm Peptides is a leading peptide, SARM, and nootropic manufacturing specialist located in the Midwestern United States. We have all of your high quality research chemical needs. To learn more head to our about us section on the site. Or, if you’re ready to take the steps needed to keep yourself healthy and moving our peptides page is for you.