Build Strong Back Muscles with Weight Training

How to Get Strong Back Muscles with Specialty Exercises

Woman doing deadlift
Deadlift. RyanJLane/E+/Getty Images

Your back muscles are large and important, providing functional strength and stabilizing the skeleton for every day and intense movement and exercise. The back muscles include the Latissimus dorsi (lats), the rhomboids, the teres, and quite a few others.

Strong back muscles help protect you against musculoskeletal back injury, which is rife in the modern world. For that reason alone, building and maintaining strong back muscles is important.

Targeted Exercises for the Back

Here are my top targeted exercises for the back. Add these to your workouts to build back strength.

  • The Deadlift: This classic compound lift exercise uses a barbell or dumbbells. It works the lower back as well as the quads and hamstrings.
  • Bent Over Row: Use dumbbells to work the back and shoulders with this great exercise.
  • Lat Pulldown: This seated pulldown uses a cable pulley machine to work the latissimus dorsi of the middle and upper back.
  • Seated Cable Row: For this exercise, you need a horizontal cable machine, It's a compound exercise for the middle back and will also work the arms.
  • Back Extension: This exercise targets the lower back muscles, especially the erector spinae, and requires a back extension station or a Roman chair.
  • 12 Great Exercises for Back and Shoulder Strength: My favorite moves to build strength and conditioning for the back muscles.

Workouts to Build the Back Muscles

  • Your Best Back: Set your goals for a strong and fit back, and know how to train without hurting it.

    Workouts for Back Pain and Rehabilitation

    See a more detailed guide to weight training practices and procedures here.

    What are the Back Muscles?

    The V-shaped muscles that you see when you look at the back of an athlete or bodybuilder are the superficial extrinsic muscles. The lats, traps, rhomboids and levator scapulae are in this group and they are often the muscles you think about when you want to build the back muscles for display. Intermediate extrinsic muscles, the serratus posterior muscles, acts as respiratory muscles.

    The intrinsic muscles of the back extend, bend and rotate the neck, head, trunk and vertebrae. They help you maintain your posture. While you may not be trying to build them for appearance, you need them to be strong for function and to prevent pain.

    They include muscles all along the back, from the cranium to the pelvis. The superficial layer include the splenius capitis and spenius cervicis. The intermediate layer are the erector spinae muscles, including the iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis muscles. The deep layer include the semispinalis, multifidus, and rotatores muscles.

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