5 best back exercisesBy Linda Ericson // Personal Trainer and Operations Manager at RCSN Fitness April 2018
Since they together make up such a big part of our rear sides, hard work at the gym pays off pretty well visually. Whether your goal is to speed up your metabolism, build an impressive pack of muscles, improve posture, or functional strength, you can hardly fail if you just give it enough attention. Depending on what goals you have the intensity with which you should take on these muscles varies, of course. If you want to improve your posture or just get rid of back pain it is recommended that you stay away from heavy weights, which instead should be left for those who seek to build more muscle mass.
In this article, we will assume that you are free from injury and simply interested in developing strength and a good looking back. The exercises mentioned in the article will, properly executed and with increased intensity, help you to achieve your goals in record time. All exercises are meant for a workout at the gym.
Mainly activated muscle groups: M. erector spinae, gluteus
The deadlift is not just an all-around exercise and one of the best back exercises, in particular, it is also one of the best exercises for both strength and explosiveness. However, this is at the same time a very stressful activity which puts high demands not only on the muscles themselves but also on the central nervous system. Therefore, you should always be cautious while lifting and make sure that your technique is proper.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab the bar in front of you with the same width. Get down into a squat with your eyes directed straight forward and your chest held high. This is your starting position and you should here be leaned forward enough for your shoulders to be positioned in front of your hands. From the starting position, straighten your legs and raise your upper body in one single movement. Once you have completed the movement, the bar should rest on the front of your thighs as you keep looking straight forward. During the second part of the exercise, when you slowly return the weight to starting position, you will keep the same interaction between the upper and lower body as you fold your hip and lower the weight along your legs.
2. Lat pulldown
Mainly activated muscle groups: Latissimus dorsi, biceps
Unlike classic pull-ups where you pull your entire body weight upward, lat pulldowns performed in a machine is an exercise where you can easily isolate the lat muscle and parts of the shoulder as you control the weight load in a completely different way.
Take position by grabbing the bar with about 70-80 cm width between your hands in an upper hand grip and place your thighs under the pad. Keep your arms fully extended, tighten the lumbar muscles and start the exercise by pulling the bar against the chest. During this movement, you gradually contract the upper back muscles until they are properly tightened once you’ve pulled the bar all the way down. Let go of the bar just as controlled without any sudden movements and return to starting position. Avoid tilting backward too much as this will have a negative impact on the effect you want from the exercise. Keep your upper body upright and chest high throughout the whole movement.
3. Barbell row
Mainly activated muscle groups: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, biceps
This is perhaps the number one exercise if you want to build a thick back. It could completely replace all isolating exercises for lats, trapezius and rear deltoids as it properly executed takes on the entire package all at once. Change your grip between reversed and upper hand grip to vary the impact on biceps and rear deltoids.
Stand with slightly bended knees, tightening the lumbar muscles and hold the chest high. Let the bar rest against the front of the thighs and hold it with a grip along the sides of the body. Pull the bar towards you in a rowing motion with your elbows along the sides of the body the whole time, make sure to avoid pushing them outwards, and press the shoulders together in the end. Pull the weight toward the belly button without any swinging movements. Always keep your knees bent to maintain balance and good form.
Mainly activated muscle groups: M. erector spinae, gluteus
This is probably the most well-known exercise for the lower back. Perform it on a bench, with or without additional weight.
Stand with your feet fixed under the pads and the hip resting against the edge of the bench. If you perform this exercise without any additional weight you can simply just cross your hands over your chest. Lower the upper body down to the floor by folding the hip, keeping your back straight. Avoid any abnormal movements in the spine. Return to the starting position in the same way and slightly contract the lumbar muscles at the end for full contact.
5. Seated row, tight grip
Mainly activated muscle groups: M. erector spinae, rhomboideus, trapezius
Grab the handle with fully extended arms and place the soles firmly on the intended footrest with slightly bended knees. As in the case with barbell rows you work the weight backward by slowly pressing your shoulders together, without swinging the upper body. The elbows should constantly be kept close to the sides of the upper body throughout the whole exercise. Pull the weight towards you at varying heights to feel the difference in activation of trapezius and the middle part of the back muscles.
The dream of a sculpted and firm butt is nowadays shared by both men and women. Mother nature seems to have blessed some individuals with a stunning backside more or less for free, while others must dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to get that booty they're dreaming of.
Coconut oil is one of the quite few foods that can rightfully be included in the "superfoods" category. Its unique combination of fatty acids has a number of positive health effects, not least because of the fatty acid called lauric acid which is the most important fatty acid for humans and our general well-being. It is mainly thanks to this that coconut oil has gotten its reputation of being something as close to nature's gold since this fatty acid gives the oil its antibacterial properties and its ability to fight bacteria.
After our leg muscles, one of the largest groups of muscle is our back. The back can be divided into deep and superficial muscles where the deep muscles consist of those who move and stabilize the spine. The superficial ones are most commonly referred to as m. latissimus dorsi, m. trapezius, and the shoulder blade muscles m. rhomboideus minor, m. rhomboideus major, as well as the long, straight muscle m. erector spinae. These are the ones mentioned in daily speech and are what we usually target in the world of bodybuilding.