When you look for the options for your back workout at the gym, you have an almost limitless number of motions to choose from. Consider this list of the best back exercises if you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of row variations or can't think of any new workouts to do.

We considered science, as well as other factors. Research on head-to-head workout comparisons is scarce and frequently inaccurate. Rather than relying solely on electromyography (EMG) to determine the greatest muscle-building workouts, we chose the ones below based on a variety of characteristics, including:

  • Ease of doing
  • Total muscular stimulation and intensity 
  • Popularity among dedicated lifters and bodybuilders
  • Equipment availability in commercial gyms

Here are the best back exercises for muscular growth, as well as full-back workouts that can be incorporated into your split right away.

Table Of Contents

  1. All About Back Muscles
  2. 20 Best Back Workouts At Gym And Its Benefits
  3. Importance Of Back Workouts 
  4. Which Machines At The Gym Work Your Back?
  5. Precautions To Be Taken While Doing Back Workouts At Gym
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. The Bottom Line

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All About Back Muscles 

The back is made up of several muscles that cover a large area of your body, from the base of your skull to your hips/glutes (posterior region), and all of your movements are completely reliant on the strength and agility of your back muscles. We all need a strong back because if it breaks or is injured, we'll be flat on our backs until we recuperate. The back muscles are made up of –

  • Lattissimus Dorsi - also known as the lats or wings in general gym jargon.
  • Trapezius - sometimes known as the traps and mistaken for a shoulder muscle group. It's shaped like a kite and runs from the base of your skull to your mid-back. The Lats/wings appear to be linked to the traps.
  • Teres Major and Minor are close by, and the Lats are supporting it in its travels.
  • Rhomboids Major and Minor - these muscles are located beneath the traps and aid in back mobility.
  • Levator Scapulae - lifts the scapula (shoulder bone/shoulder blade) from the back and sides of the neck.
  • Erector Spinae Muscles - The erector spinae muscles are responsible for maintaining the natural curvature of the spinal cord, forward bending, sideways bending, and rotation. Erector spinae are strengthened with deadlifts.

When it comes to the back, these are the most important muscles to consider. These have sub-components that all work together to help us operate and move properly. Any weakening in any of these muscles will have an impact on your way of life, and any back injury must be treated seriously to recover properly.

20 Best Back Workouts at Gym & Their Benefits

1. Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the most effective back workouts at the gym for beginners for increasing back strength and muscular growth. With your feet shoulder-width apart, hips back, and back flat, stand in front of a weighted barbell. Knees should be slightly bent to allow you to grab the bar tightly at a width somewhat broader than shoulder width. As you load the pull, keep your back flat and your chest high. Tighten your back muscles and straighten your arms. Push your legs into the floor as hard as you can while simultaneously pulling your torso and shoulders upwards, elevating the bar to your hip.

Benefits of the Deadlift

  • It provides strength to your back, hamstrings, glutes, and hips.
  • Increasing the weight helps to elicit major strength gains.
  • It is both an upper and lower back workout.

2. Pull-Up

When you pull your body weight, you create a level of instability that forces your core muscles to work harder to keep you stable. Also, if you're a heavy person, you're still carrying a lot of weight. Take a little wider-than-shoulder-width overhead hold on the bar. As you begin the pull-up, relax your arms and raise your shoulders to your ears. Contract your core and upper back. Drive your shoulders away from your ears and pull your chin to or above the bar level.

Benefits of the Pull-Up

  • No major equipment required except a simple pull-up bar.
  • Helps you to stabilize the muscles in your core. 

3. Bent-Over Row

The bent-over row provides a great deal of exercise variety. Set up in front of a heavy barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart, just like you would for a deadlift. Hinge your hips until your body is nearly parallel to the ground. Grab the barbell with a little wider grip than you would for a deadlift. Row the barbell, leading the pull with your elbow until it touches around your abdominal button, leaning back so your weight is on your heels.

Benefits of the Bent-Over Row

  • Can be performed with various tools such as kettlebells, dumbbells, or even on a cable machine.
  • Allows to move extra weights in a seamless manner. 

4. Chest Supported Row

The chest support is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of this row variant. It eliminates momentum from the equation and forces you to move the weight entirely with your muscles. Set a 45-degree inclination on a gym bench and lie face down on it to support your chest and stomach. Row a dumbbell to your side with each hand until your elbows pass your torso. Reduce the weight gradually and steadily. 

Benefits of the Chest Supported Row

  • Isolates your back muscles to activate them to the fullest.
  • It is the best lower back workout as it relieves low back pressure.

5. Single-Arm Row

The single-arm dumbbell row is the most effective back workout with dumbbells that can help you to strengthen the upper back, promote hypertrophy, and address muscular imbalances. It can also aid in the development of arm and grip strength. Place yourself next to a bench that is parallel to you. Place your second foot firmly on the floor and place your same-side hand and knee on it. With your free hand, reach down and grab a dumbbell. Maintain a flat back and a neutral head position. Row the dumbbell to your side until your elbow reaches the top of your torso. Finish all of your reps on one side before switching.

Benefits of the Single-Arm Row

  • Helps to easily address muscular imbalances.
  • Helps to increase grip strength. 

6. Inverted Row

The inverted row is a bodyweight exercise that builds back, arm, and grip strength in the same way as the pull-up does. Place a bar in a rack to keep it steady and supported. Your hands should just reach the bar when you lie down underneath it. As needed, adjust the height. Set the body in a stiff plank stance by firmly grasping the bar. Keep your elbows from flaring out as you pull your chest to the bar.

Benefits of the Inverted Row

  • Helps in the muscle activation of arms and back while improving the grip. 
  • A great exercise for novice to progress to advance exercises.

7. TRX Suspension Row

The TRX suspension row is a bodyweight exercise that builds back, arm, and grip strength in the same way as the pull-up or inverted row does. Grab the handles and lean back into position with your feet at shoulder width. Set the intensity level by adjusting your body position – the more upright your torso is, the easier the workout will be. Pull yourself toward the handles with your feet on the ground and your body in a plank position, keeping your elbows from flaring out and your shoulders from slumping forwards.

Benefits of the TRX Suspension Row

  • Helps to build the muscles of the arms and the back by maintaining a superior grip.
  • A great exercise for novice to progress to advance exercises.
  • It allows a less restrictive arm path.

8. Lat Pulldown

The continual strain of the cable extends your time under tension, providing additional stimulation and growth. Set yourself up with your knees under the pad and your hands holding the bar attachment with a pronated (palms facing away) grip somewhat wider than shoulder-width. Pull the bar down to your chin with your core firm and your torso upright — or even slightly arched — trying to drive your shoulder blades together at the end. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Lat Pulldown

  • The constant tension creates more muscular activation. 
  • It is a great exercise to help you improve pull-ups.
  • Its pronated grip helps you to target the upper back, biceps, and lats.

9. Neutral Grip Pulldown

Another cable-based exercise that allows you to benefit from continual resistance. Set yourself up in the cable pulldown with your legs under the pad and your hands in a neutral hold on the attachment. Pull the attachment down to your chin while keeping your core taut and your torso upright. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Neutral Grip Pulldown

  • The constant tension creates even resistance for the back muscles.
  • It is a great exercise to start with your first chin-up.
  • The neutral grip helps you to target lats and biceps.

10. Seated Cable Row (for Lats)

You pull a shoulder-width neutral grip cable attachment to your body in this rowing variation. Set up in the cable row with your feet on the foot platform and your hands in a neutral grip on the attachment. Pull the attachment toward the top of the abdomen with the core taut and the torso slightly bent forward at the hip (do not round the back). As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Seated Cable Row (for Lats)

  • The constant tension creates even resistance for the back muscles.
  • It builds the overall muscle and strength in the back.
  • The neutral grip helps you to target lats and biceps.

11. Seated Cable Row (for Upper Back)

During back exercises, the position of your grip will have a considerable impact on how the muscles are biassed. Set up your feet on the foot platform and your hands on the attachment with an overhand grip in the cable rowing region. Pull the attachment toward the top of the chest, extending the arms back behind you, with the core tight and the torso upright — or slightly tilted back at the hips. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Seated Cable Row (for Upper Back)

  • The constant tension creates even resistance for the back muscles.
  • It builds up the overall muscle and strength in the upper and mid-back.
  • The higher arm path and semi-pronated grip build rear delts and upper back.

12. Cable Trap Shrug

While most shrugs are done with a dumbbell or barbell, the cable pulley can be more effective since the resistance from the cables fits the fibre alignment of the upper traps. Position yourself in the middle of two wires, feet level on the ground and hands gripping the handles. Shrug the weight up, driving your shoulders up and in toward your ears, with your core tight and body upright. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Cable Trap Shrug

  • The constant tension creates even resistance for the upper back.
  • It lines up the resistance with the muscle fibres around the shoulder.
  • It limits the stress in the joints.

13. Cable Rope Pullover

You pull a rope or strap attachment tied to a cable pulley from above your head down toward your hips in this standing variation. This exercise is a great alternate — or substitute — for the dumbbell pullover for putting strain on the lats. Place your feet flat on the ground in front of the cable pulley and your hands on the rope or strap attachment. Drive the upper arm down as you pull the attachment down and back toward your hips with a slight lean forward, core tight, and torso rigid. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Cable Rope Pullover

  • The constant tension creates an even resistance for the lats. 
  • This exercise can be done anywhere if you have a cable and rope attachment.
  • It provides a better resistance for the lats.

14. Landmine Row

Grab a handle attached to, or around, a barbell to do this free-weight variant. It tests core stability and lower back strength, and it may be done in a variety of rep ranges based on your objectives. Set up your barbell by slipping it into the landmine attachment sleeve or wedged it into a wall corner. With one foot on each side, stand atop the barbell. Attach the barbell to the connection and grab the handles. Pull the weight up toward your chest with a small forward lean, a tight core, and a rigid torso. As you return to the starting position, slowly resist the weight.

Benefits of the Landmine Row

  • This exercise can be done anywhere if you have a barbell.
  • It builds core stability and strength by placing tension on the back muscles.

15. Farmer’s Carry

The farmer's carry is a weighted carry variation that enhances grip strength, core stability, and postural strength and control. Find an open area and get a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a trap bar. Slowly and steadily walk in a straight line, concentrating on stability and distance travelled. The problem when walking with weights in hand is to keep a constant, upright position and not allow the weight to slide laterally or favour one side over the other. The idea is to keep a straight, narrow walking path with the load held close to the body. 

Benefits of the Farmer’s Carry

  • It can be done anywhere if you have access to weight and some space.
  • It builds grip strength, core strength, and postural control.

16. Towel Chin-Up

Wrap a longer bath towel or two smaller hand towels around a power rack or chin-up bar in this variation. Wrap a longer bath towel or two smaller hand towels around a power rack or chin-up bar to get started. Assume a neutral grip (palms facing each other), evenly grabbing both sides of the towels. Using your forearms, biceps, and lats, pull your chin to or above the bar level while engaging your core and upper back.

Benefits of the Towel Chin-Up

  • Stabilizes your body weight. 
  • It leads to an improvement in grip strength.

17. Superman Holds

Make sure you go slowly because the simple movement can be more difficult than you think. Lie down on your stomach on the floor. Compress your glutes to lift your feet and knees, engage your mid-back, and squeeze your shoulder blades to stretch your arms off the ground. To begin the activity, focus on igniting your entire posterior chain—your lower back shouldn't bear all of the weight. Avoid gazing up and keep your neck in a neutral position. Before lowering back to the ground, hold the highest position for two counts. 

Benefits of Superman Holds

  • It strengthens the erector spinae muscles and prevents postural deviations. 
  • It reduces the strain on the lower back.
  • It targets the glutes and hamstrings.

18. Renegade Rows

The renegade row is another effective back workout with a dumbbell where you start in a plank position with your feet spread wide and your palms facing each other, grasping the dumbbells with your palms facing each other. Maintain a solid spinal alignment by squeezing your glutes and core while looking at the floor ahead of you. Row one of the dumbbells to chest height with your lats, then return the weight to the ground while maintaining the rest of your body balanced. 

Benefits of Renegade Rows

  • It builds deep intra-abdominal stability and control. 
  • It improves unilateral strength and balance.
  • It improves the metabolic movement.

19. Bear Row to Gorilla Rows

This animalistic compound workout combines two back-building rows into one, as well as an opportunity to train your core and agility to an unexpected degree. Begin in a bear plank stance with your hands on kettlebells set close together and your abs and glutes taut. Activate your abs by clenching your fists. One kettlebell should be rowed upwards. At the peak, pause and keep your hips square to the ground. Lower yourself and repeat on the opposite side. Along with the kettlebells, jump your feet. Activate your abs by clenching your fists. Row both bells up twice without shifting your torso. Return to the bear plank position by lowering the bells to the ground and tightening your core.

Benefits of Bear Row to Gorilla Rows

  • It is a versatile back move to add to your routine.
  • It is perfect for your back, biceps, and abs.
  • It works well in any upper-body or push-pull session. 

20. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings target not only your back's posterior chain but also the front of your core. Begin by placing a kettlebell in front of you on the ground. Stand shoulder-width apart with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees slightly to grab the weight in an overhand grip with both hands, but don't squat. Maintain a straight spine and a tight core. As if you were snapping a football, pull the weight back between your knees. By exploding through your hips, straightening your knees, and compressing your back, swing the kettlebell up.

Benefits of Kettlebell Swings

  • This exercise is a total body movement. 
  • It raises your heart rate and breathing. 
  • It improves balance and posture.
  • It enhances flexibility.

Importance Of Back Workouts 

Apart from all the benefits that specific exercises provides, in this section, we will be mentioning some general benefits of training your back muscles:

  • The Central Nervous System (CNS) is made up of the spinal cord and your brain, and it must be safeguarded at all times. To do so, your back muscles must be strong, since they are the armour that protects your spinal cord.
  • The spine and spinal cord have a natural curvature that allows humans to operate, move, and maintain balance. It is capable of bearing load/weight in its natural curvature, and our movement and performance are entirely reliant on it.
  • To avoid degenerative disorders such as lumbar lordosis, kyphosis, slipped discs, postural issues, and cervical spondylosis, among others.
  • To increase performance both in and out of the gym - all of our activities, whether pulling or lifting objects, pushing or reaching or grabbing objects, are dependent on the health and power of our back muscles.
  • A strong back and good posture are essential for athletes to flourish in their sport.
  • A well-developed back is attractive to both men and women; it gives you a confident appearance and positive body language.
  • A strong back can also help you lift more effectively in all areas. Even if you aren't actively working your back, it is still important for weight training. Your lats' strength will aid in giving your chest the stability it needs to maintain a high level of strain.
  • Back training benefits you in more ways than merely improving your ability to complete other activities. A well-developed posterior chain has a direct impact on your posture because most of the musculature of the back is directly responsible for influencing the spine.

Which Machines At The Gym Work Your Back?

Barbell rows, pull-ups, and deadlifts are all excellent ways to strengthen your back, but they're not the only ones. Back machines abound in most gyms, but which ones get the best results? We've compiled a list of our top five machines to assist you in transforming your back from excellent to amazing!

1. Assisted Pull-Up Machine

The pull-ups machine helps you pull yourself up, so you can concentrate on perfecting your form and finishing reps. As you gain strength, gradually reduce the amount of support. You'll eventually be able to complete full pull-ups on your own.

2. Pull-Over Machine

Every rep, use the pull-over machine to develop flexibility, achieve a deep stretch, and squeeze the lats hard. Try it and you'll see for yourself.

3. T-Bar Row

A T-bar row is a great exercise to do with a lot of weight. Your lower back will benefit as well as your lats if you use the free-standing version without the pad to lean on. The rhomboids, teres major, mid traps, and rear delts are also targeted while using a horizontal grip.

4. Low Seated Row

The Low Seated Row machine can be utilised with a variety of attachments to meet a variety of needs. The rope can assist you to pull in tighter and get a better contraction, while the wide handle develops the upper back and the close-grip handle concentrates on the lats.

5. Back Extension Machine

This machine can also assist you in strengthening your lower back while keeping you secure in a fixed line of motion. Although you won't receive the same enormous muscle pump as you would from strengthening your other major back muscles, the lower back should not be overlooked. This area can aid you in achieving your body and performance goals.

Precautions To Be Taken While Doing Back Workouts At Gym

It's not uncommon for people to get injured or have back discomfort when they first begin a strength training workout routine. Are you looking for a way to get rid of that nagging backache? Here are six excellent workout strategies for keeping your back safe while lifting weights.

  • Whatever you're lifting, keep your back straight at all times. You can bend at the hips while keeping your back upright. This allows you to utilise the supporting muscles in your core and legs, lowering your chance of injury and muscular strain.
  • It's tempting to hold your breath as you lift. Why? Because it makes each lift feel more effective or gives you the impression that you can lift the greater weight. You may not even be aware that you are holding your breath. Holding your breath, unfortunately, will not benefit your workout. It hurts it! Your muscles rely on oxygen to function properly.
  • Your back determines how strong you are. And it takes time to develop such strength. Start with lesser weights rather than trying to lift as much as you can. Lightweights and higher repetitions work your muscles just as effectively as heavyweights, but without the danger of injury.
  • The key to any successful training plan is to pay attention to your body's signals. Stop what you're doing if it hurts and thinks about what happened. Stop and let your body recuperate if you need to take a break. When you're working out with a hurting back, it's easy to fall into negative habits.
  • Tight muscles, as previously said, are more prone to damage. Stretching both before and after your workout is the easiest approach to avoid this. Warm up your muscles before you begin your workout. To get the blood flowing, go for a five- or ten-minute treadmill walk or ten minutes on the stationary bike.
  • Working exercise too frequently, like lifting too much weight, puts undue strain on your back, joints, and muscles. After a workout, you need time to recover. Lifting weights causes small rips in your muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to workout for back at home? 

Bodyweight exercises often require a lot of core stability. There are several exercises which you can perform at your home to build your back like:-

  • Low Plank
  • High Plank
  • Bridge
  • Superman 
  • Quadruped Limb Raises
  • Push-Ups

2. How many times should I work out for back? 

Back exercises can be done three times a week on non-consecutive days, just like any other muscle in your body. If you're lifting large weights and can only finish six to eight repetitions, you'll need two or more days to recover before repeating the exercise. As a result, you may only need to work your back once or twice a week.

3. What exercises burn back fat?

All the 20 exercises listed above are equally good and effective to burn back fat. Choose the one with which you are most comfortable. But, beware of the various precautions also, as stated above.

The Bottom Line

We hope the above article would help you to train your back muscles better. However, our experts also recommend you consult your trainer before starting these or any other exercises. Once you get their approval, you can start exercising as instructed. Begin a healthier lifestyle today!

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