Back Exercises

Back Muscle Groups

Muscles in the back are generally the second most common muscles used in day to day activities The most used muscle group would be the legs. For this reason, it is extremely important to engage in ample back exercises. Not only will you be less prone to injury but less prone to back pain and other related symptoms. Ranging from the base of the neck to the top of the buttocks, back muscles account for about half of all muscles on upper torso. There are 4 designated categories for the back's muscle groups:

A list of back exercises:

Australian Pull-Up
This exercise incorporates several back muscles while using one's body weight for resistance.
Back Extensions Image
Great for isolating the lower back, back extensions use a roman chair apparatus to support the body and provide solid focus on the spinal erectors.
Bent-Over Rows (Barbell) Image
Bent-over barbell rows is a great exercise that engages the upper back, outer back, lats, and rear shoulders in one powerful motion.
Close Grip Pull-Downs Image
Designed to specifically target the lower aspect of the lats, close grip pull-downs are a great variation of the classic lat pull-down exercise.
Close Grip Reverse Pull-Up / Reverse Chin-Up (Calisthenics) Image
A minor variation on the standard reverse pull-up / chin up exercise, this version allows for greater emphasis on the outer head of the biceps brachii while still working the inner bicep head as well as the lats and outer back muscles.
Deadlifts Barbell Image
Quite simply, deadlifts are the ultimate power exercise; they blast the majority of the body's muscles (especially the quads, glutes, lats, and traps).
External Arm Rotations (Cable) Image
Similar to rear deltoid laterals, external arm rotations are a more challenging way to primarily target the rear deltoids, as well as the outer and upper back.
Good Mornings Image
Able to be performed anywhere (when not using weights), good mornings put focus on the lower back and require a great deal of focus and balance.
L Pull-Up Image
A challenging exercise, L pull-ups literally require one to form an "L" shape with their body, and hold it while doing pull-ups.
Lat Pull-Downs
The machine version of pull-ups, lat pull-downs are an excellent mass building exercise that also help to widen/broaden the back (giving a v-taper appearance).
One-Arm Rows / Bent-Over Rows (Dumbbell) Image
Working a single side of the back at a time, one-arm rows is a great way to focus on the lats, upper back, outer back, and rear deltoids.
Pull-Up / Chin-Up (Calisthenics) Image
Pull-ups, also known as chin-ups, are a superb strength and mass building back exercise that also are also useful to widen/broaden the back (thus giving a v-taper appearance).
Pullovers Barbell Image
Pullovers utilizing a barbell are a unique exercise that--in addition to expanding the rib cage--provide the pectorals, lats, triceps, and serratus (anterior) with an intense workout.
Pullovers (Dumbbell) Image
Pullovers utilizing a dumbbell are an interesting exercise that expand the rib cage--they also target the pectorals, lats, triceps, and serratus (anterior), resulting in an intense workout.
Pullovers (Machine) Image
Machine pullovers, which target the lats and serratus, is among the best of machine exercises for the back. This exercise involves moving through a half-circle arc that results in a great stretch and rib cage expansion.
Rear Pull-Ups (Calisthenics) Image
A (somewhat unnatural) variation of traditional pull-ups, rear pull-ups involve pulling "up" to the base of the neck, which puts more emphasis on the upper back (rhomboids and trapezius) than traditional pull-ups.
Reverse Lat Pull-Downs (Machine)
Similar to reverse pull-ups, reverse lat pull downs not only emphasize the lats and outer back but they target the biceps as well.
Reverse Pull-Up / Reverse Chin-Up (Calisthenics) Image
Reverse pull-ups, also known as reverse chin-ups, are a nice variation to traditional pull-ups that, like pull-ups, promote substantial strength and mass building, with particular emphasis on the biceps (biceps brachii and brachialis)--in addition to the usual lats and teres major muscle groups.
Seated Rows Image
Seated rows are an excellent back bulk builder. They are a particularly useful exercise for hitting the lower lats.
Shrugs (Barbell) Image
Barbell shrugs are the classic upper back (trapezius) builder but care must be taken while performing this exercise.
Shrugs (Dumbbell) Image
Dumbbell shrugs are a wonderful alternative the classic barbell shrugs for upper back (trapezius) building.
Straight Leg Deadlifts (Barbell) Image
Reducing the amount of focus on the quadriceps from standard deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts concentrate on the hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back as primary muscles.
T-Bar Rows Image
A phenomenal exercise that allows for power lifting, the t-bar row focuses primarily on the muscles of the back with emphasis placed on the lower aspect of the trapezius.
T-Bar Rows with Chest Support Image
Useful for targeting the lower aspect of the trapezius, t-bar rows with chest support allow for this exercise to be performed without requiring the use of the lower back to support the rest of the body.
Upright Rows (Barbell) Image
Upright rows are a classic exercise that primarily works the shoulder and upper back muscles.
Upright Rows (Cable) Image
Upright rows are a classic exercise that primarily work the shoulder and upper back muscles.
V-Pull-Up Image
An extremely challenging exercise, V pull-ups literally require one to form an "V" shape with their body, and hold it while doing pull-ups.
Wide-Grip Pull-Downs (Machine) Image
The machine version of pull-ups, wide-grip lat pull-downs specifically aim to widen/broaden the back (giving a v-taper appearance), while at the same time are an excellent mass building exercise.