Our backs are one of the harder body parts to train simply because we can’t see them ‘grow’ in the mirror. While one can ‘feel the pump’ of a bicep curl or a bench press, it is much harder to ‘feel’ back movements. But this doesn’t mean that men and women don’t want to build a nice sculpted back. Nutrition is integral to any sort of physique goals—whether it’s to gain muscle or lose fat—but here are 7 effective exercises that can help sculpt the back.
1. Barbell Deadlift. In an article done by bodybuilding.com, they listed the barbell deadlift as the number one back exercise since it hits the entire back, from the upper traps all the way down to the lower back and even the hamstrings and calves. The conventional deadlift is an integral part of any back workout since it is considered a ‘compound exercise’ (uses multiple body parts) and burns a ton of calories.
2. The Weighted Pull-Up. According to Men’s Journal, the weighted pull-up is a great exercise to add muscle and burn fat on the posterior chain. The pull-up is a great exercise because it too is a compound exercise and offers a wide range of movement. Start off with your bodyweight and then gradually move up either with a belt or with a dumbbell between your legs.
3 & 4. The Overhand and Underhand Barbell Row. The barbell row is another great exercise that targets the back and requires a lot of energy from the body. The barbell row can be done either overhand or underhand and it involves pulling the barbell towards the hip area in order to activate the back muscles. A bodybuilding.com article revealed that EMG research suggested that bent over barbell rows help hit the larger muscle groups in the upper and lower back equally.
5. Lat pulldown. In a Men’s Health article, writer Tony Gentilcore said: ‘You’ll rev your metabolism when you concentrate on your back. That’s because your posterior chain contains big muscle groups. And the more muscles you train, the more calories you burn.’ He suggested the use of a lat pulldown machine where someone grabs the bar with a wide grip and pulls the bar (focusing on their elbows) towards their chest.
6. Side Bends. But sculpting and toning our backs isn’t just adding pounds of muscle. Sometimes we need to employ the use of high reps and light weights. In a Brightside article, they advocated the use of side bends whereby a person holds onto a weight on one side and bends towards that side. This type of exercise will work on your obliques and give you that nice sculpted line on the side of your midsection.
7. Chin-ups. Another great exercise for the back is the chin-up. Extremely similar to a pull-up, the chin-up is essentially the same movement albeit with an underhand grip. Grab a bar with an underhand grip and pull your body towards the bar, make sure you are not jerking yourself upwards and swinging your body to get there and make sure that your chin reaches or is above the bar.
Remember that proper nutrition is just as important as compound exercises. Finally, and probably the most important element of any fitness goal, there’s nutrition. Whether you want to get rid of those folds in your back or build a wide and massive v-taper, nutrition is essential to reaching those goals. Ensure that you’re eating adequate protein and healthy fats and make sure that the carbs you are consuming are getting you closer to your goal. Eat more calories in order to gain weight and muscle and eat fewer calories to burn fat and lose weight.