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Building a Sculpted Back

The back is basically made up of three parts: the upper, middle, and lower back. To completely train the back you must perform exercises that develop each of these parts. The upper back includes the trapezius muscles (or traps) and the rear deltoids while the middle back is primarily comprised of the latissimus dorsi (or lats) and the rhomboids. Finally, the lower back is made up of several muscles collectively referred to as the erector spinae and is the most mobile part of the back allowing movements such as turning, twisting, or bending.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Rid Your Body of Stubborn Back Fat

Obviously, with so many different muscles, the back workout should indeed be one of the most extensive during weight training yet many people, especially women, only work a small fraction of their back. In addition, with so many individuals sitting in chairs and in front of computers these days, the back, particularly the lower back, has become one of the most vulnerable areas to chronic pain and injury.

Related Article: Causes of Low Back Pain: Can Exercise Help? 

Strong and well-developed back muscles are critical for good posture and overall balance. From a ‘vanity’ standpoint, toned and sculpted back muscles look fabulous in backless dresses and bathing suits.

Personally, I am pretty serious about my back workout. Here are five weight training exercises that I perform in order to fully develop my back muscles:

1. One-Arm Dumbbell Rows (pictured above)
Set #1: 12 reps (each side)
Set #2: 10 reps
Set #3: 8 reps
Set #4: 6 reps
 
2. Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
Set #1: 12 reps
Set #2: 10 reps
Set #3: 8 reps
Set #4: 6 reps
 
3. Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns
Set #1: 12 reps
Set #2: 10 reps
Set #3: 8 reps
Set #4: 6 reps
 
4. Seated Rows
Set #1: 12 reps
Set #2: 10 reps
Set #3: 8 reps
Set #4: 6 reps
 
5. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
Set #1: 12 reps
Set #2: 10 reps
Set #3: 8 reps
Set #4: 6 reps
 

I perform all my back exercises once a week. For each of these exercises I use a light to heavy progression. In other words, I increase the amount of weight that I lift during each set with a goal of fatiguing my muscles within the allotted number repetitions. Additionally, I perform all my exercises back to back with minimal rest between the sets.

Related Article: Weight Training 101: What You Need To Know Before You Lift

In general, my workout plan is pretty intense but hopefully I’ve provided you with some good information and valuable strategies for incorporating back exercises into your own routine.

For more of the latest and greatest in health, fitness, and nutrition, “Like” me on Facebook at Nina Cherie, PhD of Complete Health Solutions and follow me on Twitter at @NinaCheriePhD.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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