The back muscles don’t usually get as much attention and glory as their more visible counterparts. After all, most people have a tendency to concentrate on the obvious. Still, good back strength is essential for the health of your spine and the straightness of your posture.
There are a huge number of exercises that are intended to create a big, ripped back. Our team of expert researchers has taken the time to look through this list so as to save you the trouble of doing so. Here is our list of the ten best exercises to get a ripped back.
1. Barbell Deadlift
The deadlift involves bending down and grabbing a weighted barbell that is sitting on the floor. Bend at the waist and slightly bend the knees as you lean down and grasp the bar with both hands. Make sure that you don’t make the mistake of turning it into a “squat” motion. If you don’t bend your knees enough, you are also making a mistake. It’s best to watch a more experienced person do this so that you can be sure you are doing it correctly.
2. Pull-Ups With A Wide Grip
Wide-grip pull-ups are some of the best things you can do to work your upper lats. This one is a very focused exercise that mainly works the upper part of the back. Stand in front of the bar, then reach up and grab it with both hands. Your palms should be facing outward. The width of your hands should be as wide as you can reasonably make them.
3. Standing T-Bar Rowing
This one is a little more uncommon. However, it is a great way to work on a wide variety of back muscles at one time. To do this exercise, take a wide stance with your knees bent. Don’t fully squat, as this will put stress on the wrong muscles. You should have a weighted bar laying longwise in front of you, with the bar running between your feet. Reach down and grab the bar just below the plates. While bending your back as little as possible, lift the weight up and down. You can vary your grip for different results. A narrow grip will focus on the traps, teres, and rhomboids while a wide grip will work the lats.
4. Seated Cable Rowing With A Wide Grip
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Sit down at your weight machine and use a bar on the end of a weighted cable. Holding your hands in a very wide grip, pull up and back on the bar with a rowing motion. Return to start and repeat.
You can opt for a straight-back kind of motion or a circular motion such as that which you would use for rowing a boat. Reversing your grip from time to time can also help you to target different muscles in your back.
5. Smith Machine Rowing
The Smith Machine is a very specific type of workout machine that is very well-suited for rowing exercises. The technique is very similar to a barbell deadlift. However, because the barbell is anchored to the machine, a perfectly smooth motion can be attained. By reversing your hands from the usual rowing grip, the lower lats will be targeted more effectively.
The Smith Machine can also be combined with some of the other exercises on this list. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit and see which of your exercises can be improved in this way.
6. Pull-Downs With A Narrow Grip
Pull-downs are also simple and common, though they do require a weight machine. These machines will usually take the form of a bar on the end of a cable, and in this case, you need to have your hands as close together as possible. This is not done to target a specific muscle group. It is intended to increase the range of motion so that you get more pump for each rep.
There are many variations you can do, such as a kneeling pull-down. This enables you to get an even wider range of motion so that you can really put the efficiency factor through the roof.
7. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
This is an old standby for building the lats and lower back. It is usually done from a bent-over position, with your hand and knee resting on a raised bench. The other hand holds a dumbbell which is raised and rowed. It is acceptable to twist the trunk a little bit, which can be helpful in developing better core strength.
One great thing about this exercise is the fact that your back is supported. Unlike some of the more common back exercises, you don’t have to worry too much about keeping your back straight. The positioning makes your back want to align in this way.
8. Dumbbell Pull-Over On A Decline Bench
This exercise seems a little awkward at first, but it does a great job. Use a decline bench with padded bars on one end to lock your legs in place. Once you are laying backward, raise a dumbbell over your head. You start with your arms all the way back and the dumbbell resting on the floor. You end the motion at the point when the dumbbell is perfectly vertical. Although you want to be a little careful with this one because of the awkward positioning, it will light your back muscles on fire.
9. The Renegade Row
This is a combination of two well-proven exercises: the push-up and the plank. You start in a push-up position, but with a dumbbell in each hand. Bring your body down to the floor, and raise yourself back up. As you come up, do a rowing lift with one of the dumbbells. Now repeat the motion, but this time raise the dumbbell on the other side.
It is very important to maintain proper spinal alignment during this exercise. Both push-ups and planks can be spoiled through a lack of keeping your back straight, so this exercise is no different.
10. Inverted Rowing
This might well be described as an upside-down row. Because of its relative strangeness, it works muscles that are less likely to be targeted. This exercise really lights a fire on your upper back, making it a great choice if you want to isolate those muscles. You start by taking a “limbo” position underneath a low bar. Reach up and grab the bars with your palms down. Now pull yourself up, using only your arms. Keep going until your chest touches the bar, then lower yourself and repeat.
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