Outer Back Exercises

Back Muscle Groups

The outer back consists of five muscles, four of which are found on the scapula (shoulder blade) that comprise the rotator cuff. These four muscles are the infraspinatus, subscapularis, supraspinatus, and teres minor. The fifth muscle of the outer back is the teres major.

Many of the outer back exercises listed below require rowing or pulling motions to target the muscles.

A list of outer back exercises:

This exercise incorporates several back muscles while using one's body weight for resistance.
Bent-over barbell rows is a great exercise that engages the upper back, outer back, lats, and rear shoulders in one powerful motion.
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.
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.
Quite simply, deadlifts are the ultimate power exercise; they blast the majority of the body's muscles (especially the quads, glutes, lats, and traps).
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.
A challenging exercise, L pull-ups literally require one to form an "L" shape with their body, and hold it while doing pull-ups.
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-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 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 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.
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.
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.
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-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 are an excellent back bulk builder. They are a particularly useful exercise for hitting the lower lats.
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.
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.
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.
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.