Muscle Sport Magazine

Basic Back Exercises

There are a few basic exercises that should be a part of every back regimen and being fancy is certainly not necessary. By separating the back exercises into upper and lower, you can concentrate on isolating the areas that need to be worked to give you a wide lat spread that you’ll be proud to look for in your reflection.




SEATED CABLE ROWS – Nothing will give you a wingspan like this exercise. The key to them is to keep you back straight when pulling the handle towards you and having the seat and your feet adjusted properly so that you can get a full stretch on the ‘out’ portion of the rep. If the weight stack touches bottom, you’re not utilizing the full range of motion.

There are numerous handles that you can use with this movement. Basically, you can take either a close or wide grip and there are both devices and bars that will all give you a great pump on this machine.


ONE-ARMED DUMBBELL ROWS – Another exercise that you should be using frequently, you can really concentrate on getting a long stretch by letting the weight go down slowly and as close to the floor without touching it. Keeping your back straight and having a tight grip with your free hand will go a long way in keeping proper form. Too many people move their hips and actually swing the weight up and down, which takes the lat out of the movement.


BENT OVER ROWS – Most people prefer to do this movement with a barbell, but it’s also effective when using a pair of dumbbells. You can get creative doing these, with options of standing on the end of a bench, a small platform or just on the floor. If you choose the latter, make sure you keep your body arched slightly higher so you can bring the bar all the way down.

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Using a moderate weight that you can handle takes on extra importance when doing this exercise. You can injure yourself very easy by jerking the weight up, so slipping on that additional plate you know you can’t handle is a bad idea.


LAT PULLDOWNS – A versatile machine, you can use a similar variety of handles on this like the seated cable rows. The wide grip bar usually takes care of behind-the-neck and front pull downs. You can also use the bar for the reverse close grip movement.


Using a close grip device here will really give you a great mid-line down your entire back and holding it at the bottom of the rep for a second or two only enhances that.




DEADLIFTS – One of the older exercises, it hasn’t stuck around for this long because it does not work. These will give you an overall boost in strength and work the hamstrings as a bonus when doing the straight leg variety.


Just like bent over rows, trying to go too heavy and jerking the weight up will only cause you problems. Go as heavy as you can handle, but keep in mind that form matters here, too.


HYPEREXTENSIONS – These are great to get a good, deep stretch on your aching lower back and will come in handy as you get older. You can do them holding a plate for added resistance, but they do a good enough job just using your body weight.


They really concentrate on your lower back and if you have a tendency to wake up with aches and pains, making this exercise a regular part of your routine should alleviate some of that.

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