Back Workout Routine: See the Best Back Workouts for Developing Muscle, Strength & Tone!

If you want your physique to have a nice V-taper, a great sideview and a great rearview, developing your back muscles is super critical! Whether man or woman, a nice back can round out your total body appearance to look much better.

Since the back is a HUGE muscle, its important to know the different segments of it, how each segment functions, and the best ways to train them for fast, massive results. There are basically 3 different regions that need to be developed, the upper(traps), middle(lats) & lower, all of them needing unique exercises and training strategies.

From a better posture to better athletic performance, having strong back muscles offers a host of benefits that can improve the quality of your life. Many issues related to back pain can be corrected or minimized with the correct approaches to training.

Keep in mind that really focusing & specializing on the Back muscles should only be done after you've reached a certain strength level and only after you've been training consistently for a good period of time...

Quick Tip: The best approach to training your Back is to include them in a well-structured, total body workout program that scientifically plans all of these things for you: 1) volume, 2) intensity, 3) frequency, 4) progression, 5) exercise selection, 6) periodization & MUCH more...

 Discover the Secrets to Developing a Perfectly Balanced, Ripped Physique (95% of Gym Rats Have No Clue About This)

Here's an outline of the rest of this page:

1) Introduction of the Back muscle
2) Back exercises
3) Quick training tips
4) Sample Back workout

Introduction & Basic Anatomy

These muscles lay in the area between your neck and shoulder blades, forming a triangle shape and known as the trapezius, or "traps". When you shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, the traps are the muscles that pop out.

The lattissium dorsi is a huge muscle starting at the armpits all the way down to about the waist. Developing this segment is critical to adding that "wing" and "V" effect to your physique. Their main function is to pull your arms back towards the body when you extend your arms in front or above.

Known as the erector spinae, think of them as two muscles on both sides of your spine above your butt (this is an over-simplification of anatomy). Their main function is to help you bend at the waist, and these are the babies that get injured or cause pain much too often.

Back Exercises

Dumbbell Upright Rows

- Stand with weight in hands in front of hips, elbows straight.
- Lift weight upward toward chin, bending elbows.
- Keep hands close to chest.
- Lower and repeat.

 Barbell Bent Over Rows

- Begin with barbell on floor in front.
- Stand with knees slightly bent and feet about hip distance apart.
- Bend forward at hips, keeping low back straight.
- Lift barbell up to abdomen.
- Lower and repeat.

Dumbbell Pullover

- Lie on back on bench.
- Hold weight in hands with arms over head.
- Keep elbows slightly bent.
- Pull weight over head to chest.
- Raise back over head and repeat.

Partial Kneel Row

- Begin in position shown. Right leg bent, toes forward, right arm on right thigh, left leg straight and extended back, toes pointed to left. Keep back straight, parallel to floor, with shoulders squared.
- Begin with weight on floor.
- Raise it up to abdomen, keeping elbow close to side.

Lat Pulldown

- Sit at pulley system with lat bar.
- Grasp bar, hands shoulder distance apart, palms facing away from chest.
- Pull bar down to chest,
- Return to start position and repeat

Barbell Shrugs

- Stand and hold barbell in hands as shown.
- Keep elbows straight.
- Shrug shoulders up.
- Lower and repeat

Pulley Rows

- Sit with straight legs at pulley system.
- Grasp row handle with both hands.
- Pull handles to mid chest keeping elbows close to body.
- Return to start position and repeat


- Place hands on pull-up bar, palms out.
- Slowly pull chin up to bar and lower back down.
- Repeat

See More Back Exercises, Videos & Training Tutorials

Quick Training Tips

  • For optimal back development, the upper, middle and lower portions need equal emphasis. For the upper portion, shrugging motions are best to develop the traps, but there's no need to "roll" the shoulder backwards when you shrug.
  • For the middle portion(rhomboids and lats), the training needs to be geared towards achieving thickness and width. All types of rowing motions add thickness while vertical pulling motions add width.
  • For the lower portion, stiff-legged deadlifts and good mornings are good exercises, as well as hyperextensions. However, only use hyperextensions in moderation and with lower weight to prevent lower back problems.
  • Use different types of grips, from wide to narrow, and different attachments when doing Rows & Pulldowns to keep exercise variety high.
  • Treat your arms as hooks when performing a Row. Pull with back and feel it, squeezing your back muscles at the top of each rep to maximize the contraction.
  • Before doing barbell bent rows and partial kneel dumbbell rows, you should have sufficent strength and technique on the chest-supported machine rowing or pulley rows.
  • Pullups are foundation of good back development, so do assisted pullups on a machine if you're not able to lift your bodyweight.

Sample Back Workout

As we mentioned on the top of this page, its better to train your Back with a well-structured, total body workout program...

But, if you feel that you've been training long enough and have decent strength in the major upper body compound lifts, then you can try the sample Back workout below to further specialize on that region:

Normal Grip Pullups: after warming up, 2-3 sets to failure (aim for a minimum of 6 reps)
Machine Rows: 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell Shrugs: 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Partial Kneel Dumbbell Rows: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell Pullover: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps (focus on the lats by not bending your elbows too much)
Dumbbell Upright Row: 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps (maintain a shoulder-width grip and pull high)
Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps (avoid going to failure)
*the number of sets that you choose to complete in this workout depend on your level of experience. If you're a beginner, 1-2 quality sets per exercise should be more than enough for awesome growth.

Depending on your full weekly routine and how frequently you train, this Back workout can be done once a week and no more than twice. Rest times should be between 90-120 seconds between sets if your goal is to maximize growth.

 Discover the Secrets to Developing a Perfectly Balanced, Ripped Physique (95% of Gym Rats Have No Clue About This)


Upper: Abs | ArmsBack | Chest | Shoulders | Forearms | Biceps | Triceps | Lats | Full Upper
Lower: Quadriceps | Hamstring | Glutes | Calves | Full Lower