How To Choose The Best Back Exercises

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

So you want to pick the perfect exercises for your back. Well, first thing's first- what kind of back do you have? Ectomorphs (those with naturally skinny builds) will have the kind of back that shows toned and lean muscle all over the place. Mesomorphs (the naturally muscular) will have backs that stretch out wide and boast large muscular shapes. And Endomorphs (the naturally burly fellas) are going to have big, powerful backs. Know your body type and how it corresponds to your back muscles, then go ahead and check out the following exercises.

Step 2

Pull-ups (all) Pull-ups are an exercise that should be done by every person with any body type. They're the staple exercise in any back workout and they will give you the best results guaranteed. Make sure to do them with a wide grip and your palms facing away from your body. Hang all the way down to start and bring your chin all the way above the bar to end; full range of motion on every single rep.

Step 3

Lat pulldowns (Ectomorphs) Lat pulldowns are essentially the same as pull-ups except using a cable setup. By using cables, this movement isolates the muscles in the back and forces them to contract fully. The reason it is one of the best exercises for ectomorphs is that it requires all the muscles of the back to operate at once, which increases overall tone and lean physique.

Step 4

Seated machine rows (Ectomorphs) Seated machine rows are great for ectomorphs because, like lat pulldowns, they isolate the muscles of the back. The difference is that seated machine rows will focus primarily on the middle portion of your back, which will create a width that ectomorphs desperately need in order to compliment their natural physique.

Step 5

Bent over dumbbell rows (Mesomorphs) Bent over dumbbell rows will tax your back to the limit. They're a big muscle lift and they provide beautiful muscular development for the lower back, trap, and entire lat area. This exercise should be a staple in any mesomorph's back routine, as it demands the muscles of your back to work hard and grow large.

Step 6

Seated cable rows (Mesomorphs) Seated cable rows are the harder version of seated machine rows. The reason they are better for mesomorphs than any other body type is that they require the muscles of the back to actively operate in order to lift maximum weight. What do I mean by actively operate? Well, for a seated machine row the body is held still and isolated so that only the back muscles work. For a seated cable row, the body is subjected to forces that attempt to pull it forward, which causes the mesomorphic back to respond with an increased resistance in the opposite direction. This sort of resistance promotes massive muscular growth.

Step 7

Deadlifts (Endomorphs) Deadlifts are one of the biggest, baddest exercises you can do. They will push your entire body to its limit and the result will be spectacular. The reason these are especially effective for endomorphs is that they both require and promote brute strength, which is an endomorph's main trait. Doing deadlifts will force your back muscles to put on their big-boy pants and will make you feel like an absolute beast.

Step 8

Bent over barbell rows (Endomorphs) Bent over barbell rows are the crazy lovechild of bent over dumbbell rows and deadlifts. Maybe that's all I have to say, but it wouldn't hurt to continue by letting you know that endomorphs will excel with this exercise. They will put on a ton of usable muscle in their back and the power that this exercise will cause you to gain is ridiculous.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Like I mentioned above, the difficulty in choosing the best back exercises comes with knowing your body type. If you've got a naturally skinny frame, you're going to want to compliment that by doing a myriad of toning exercises. If you're naturally very muscular, stick to bodybuilding lifts that will continue popping out your back muscles. And if you're a burly build, big powerlifts are essential to growing your back the way it was meant to grow. Knowing your body and knowing the above exercises, then combining them accordingly will make your back a shield of strength no matter which body-type you are. That being said, all of these exercises are going to benefit any person in some way or another. There's no reason you can't incorporate them all here and there, as they are all stellar exercises and they will all lead to a back that you can be proud of.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

I train a lot of people, and when I do, I always force them to do pull-ups. Pull-ups are the pinnacle of back exercises. And however true that is, people for some reason REALLY don't like to do pull-ups. They always complain or get discouraged because of the difficulty. And when they do, I can't help but think back to the first time I walked into a gym with my dad. He said to me, "Jer, you will rarely see somebody walk into the gym and go straight to the pull-up bar. But I promise they are the best exercise your back can get." And he was right, nobody likes walking straight to that pull-up bar. But he was also right that it's the best exercise, which is exactly why I always make my clients walk to that bar first thing. Hopefully you'll choose to do the same- you won't regret it.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

The very first workout I ever did with my dad was a back workout. The very first exercise I ever did was pull-ups. I've always had a naturally wide back, so it was no problem for me to focus on perfecting it through a variance of different exercises.

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