How to Strengthen Back Muscles

strong back muscle

Taking a break from delving in to the specifics of the different supplements that you can take to help you along your path to physical perfection, we’re going to be talking about some of the exercises that you can do to really solidify an area of the body that you often take for granted… your back.  The back muscles do more than just support your shoulders, neck, and spine, keeping you from becoming a limp noodle.  The various muscles in your back actually support a large variety of other muscles in your body and without strengthening them properly, you’re far more likely to be injured and almost definitely going to prevent the kind of growth that you want to see from your other muscles [1].  For example, your abdominal muscles.  Go grab that ab wheel and continuously roll out until you aren’t able to do it any longer.  Whether this is 40 reps or 400 reps, you’re almost definitely going to have to quit because of your back muscles, not because of your ab muscles. Here are five back muscle exercises that will show you how to strengthen back muscles.

The Top 5 Back Muscle Exercises

Number One – The bent-over barbell deadlift.  Simply figure out how much weight you’re comfortable lifting on a regular barbell deadlift, then reduce that by about 25%.  This will give you a safe starting point for the bent over barbell deadlift.  Stay hunched with your back perfectly straight at a 45 degree angle, lift the barbell 10 times for three sets.  Your back should start to give up before your arms do, verifying the exercise is working as intended.

Number Two – Pull ups.  You probably haven’t considered doing pullups to help your back muscles, but that’s because you’ve always been focusing on your arms.  To focus on your back, keep your arms as far apart as you dare to go when grabbing the bar.  Pull up.  You’ll most definitely feel it on your upper back [2].

Number Three – To work out the lower back, try doing normal barbell deadlifts.  They’ll work out both your legs and your lower back.  Technique can be difficult.  I recommend you watch some instructional videos because the last thing you want to do is get hurt.  The deadlift is perfect for capitalizing on the beta-alanine that you keep in your macro, releasing muscle-building hormones and really enhancing your lower back and legs simultaneously.

Number Four – Single arm dumbbell row.  Put the knee and hand from the same side of the body on the bench for support.  Now pick up the dumbbell and pull like you’re starting a lawn mower.  Keep doing this while keeping your core as level as possible, encouraging use of the back and shoulder muscles.

Number Five – Row Machine(s).  Similar to number four, rowing machines will work out the back and shoulders.  The reason it’s separate from the previous listing is because it is slightly less effective as you’re also working out your legs and doing some cardio as well.  The row machine is a popular choice for people who are in a time pinch and need to work out multiple areas of the body at the same time, rather than just focusing on single sets of muscles and moving on.


  1. Susan H. Jeno; Matthew Varacallo.
    Anatomy, Back, Latissimus Dorsi
    Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan-.
  2. Rebecca Gordon* and Saul Bloxham
    A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain
    Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Jun; 4(2): 22.
    Published online 2016 Apr 25. doi: 10.3390/healthcare4020022
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