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Back Exercises

Why is it important to train your back?

It’s important to strengthen your back to help improve your functioning in daily activities and for performance in the gym or in sports. Your latissimus dorsi (back) is the second most biggest muscle in your body. Training this muscle and the muscles around it can help to support your posture, prevent lower back pain, and allow you to carry out daily activities like standing and lifting objects with more ease. It can also help you to improve performance in sports and improve your strength in the gym.

If you tend to hunch your shoulders forward when you're working at your desk or using your phone, your chest can could get tight, and over time, you may find yourself rounding your back and experiencing back or neck soreness. Training your back can help negate this and help prevent poor posture, which is important an important part of wellbeing.

When training it’s important to consider training all muscle groups to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

  • To tone (i.e. build muscle) on your back, you will need to include exercises which targets the back muscles, and provide the muscles with enough stimulus for it to adapt and get stronger. As a general guideline, if you want to tone an area, you probably want to workout the body part at least 2-3 per week, consistently.

  • If you’re experiencing lower back pain, please speak to a qualified professional like a Doctor or physiotherapist for advice. Lower back pain can be caused by a number of factors, such as poor posture, a weak core and so on, so exercises to fix the pain should be dealt with individually.

  • To build back muscle in a relatively short amount of time, it’s important to incorporate back training into your weekly workouts. Focus on performing a mix of compound and isolation exercises targeting different back muscles, using a challenging weight with good technique to help improve overall size and strength.

Lat pull down exercise

Develop your upper back muscles with lat pulldowns, which target your latissimus dorsi, the largest muscle in the upper body.

Main muscles worked:

  • latissmiss dorsi (also known as lats)
  • rhomboids 
  • trapezius (also known as traps)
  • the teres major
  • teres mino
  • infraspinatus
 See all lat pulldown exercises
Cable row exercise

Build and strengthen your back muscle with some rows, which is performed with a horizontal pulling motion.

Main muscles worked:

  • latissimus dorsi 
  • rhomboids
  • trapezius 
  • biceps brachii
 See all row exercises

Your back is the main support structure for your entire body. It plays a role in every compound movement we do. You can help reduce the risk of injury, as well as improve your posture by incorporating a back focused workout into your training. You'll also find everyday tasks much easier, such as having to bend down to pick something up off the floor.

Steve Ung, Personal Trainer at PureGym Leeds City Centre North

If you’re not sure whether a work out is suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. If you're unsure of how to perform any of the above exercises, please ask help from a PT at your gym.