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A List of the 5 Best Exercises for the Back Muscles


What are the five best exercises for the back?” Training small muscles like the bicep and tricep is easy enough. Do a bunch of curls and extensions, and call it a workout. But, when it comes to developing more massive and complex muscle groups like the back, most people find it difficult.

One significant roadblock is exercise selection. With so many muscles to account for and numerous exercises to choose from, finding the right combination of movements can be challenging. To that end, we’ve put together this post to answer the question:

Muscular,Man,Pulls,A,Dumbbell,Towards,His,Stomach.,Bodybuilding,And back row
Muscular man pulls a dumbbell towards his stomach. Bodybuilding and powerlifting concept. Mixed media

“What are the five best exercises for the back?”

Back Training: What Makes It So Complex?

Though it may seem simple enough, the back comprises over ten different muscles. The ones we focus on with our training are:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Rhomboid major & minor
  • Erector spinae
  • Trapezius
  • Rear deltoids
  • Teres major & minor

We must carefully pick our exercises and avoid making too many similar movement patterns while disregarding the rest.

For the most part, to train these muscles adequately, we need to perform three movements patterns:

  • A vertical pull (such as a pull-up)
  • A horizontal pull (such as a barbell row)
  • A hip hinge pattern (such as a deadlift)

Now, let’s look at the best exercises for the back.

The 5 Best Exercises For The Back

Without further ado, here are five of the most productive exercises you should do:

  1. Pull-Ups

Pull-ups and chin-ups are two fantastic bodyweight exercises for the back. Both of them do an excellent job of training your lats, and they also help stabilize your core and strengthen your biceps and grip.

Plus, a significant advantage of these exercises is that you don’t have to worry about having equipment. You need a pull-up bar, and you’re set – you can even do this at home.

  1. Deadlifts

When it comes to strengthening the back, few exercises work as effectively as the deadlift.

Deadlifts do a great job of building our back strength and involve other muscles like our glutes, hamstrings, biceps, and forearms.

Plus, there are many variations you can use. Some popular ones include conventional, sumo, trap bar, rack pull, and deficit deadlifts.

  1. Barbell Rows

Like the deadlift, barbell rows are another fantastic movement for the back. They do a great job of training our overall back musculature, and the overloading potential is incredible.

Plus, because you must keep your torso rigid and the barbell off the floor at all times, you also train your lower back muscles quite well.

  1. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows

Single-arm dumbbell rows are fantastic for two reasons:

First, they do a great job of emphasizing our lats and helping us develop them. Thanks to the extended range of motion and fantastic overload potential, we can use this movement for a long time as an accessory for the back.

Second, single-arm work is vital because it helps prevent side-to-side muscle imbalances.

  1. Lat Pulldowns

Like pull-ups, the lat pulldown is another excellent exercise for overall back strength and width.

This is a great movement because it closely mimics the pull-up movement pattern and emphasizes our lats. The best part is, that you can adjust the resistance based on your current strength.


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