Exercises for upper back

A bodybuilder doing wide-grip chinsWide Grip Chins Behind The Neck

Exercises for upper back: 

Purpose: To widen the upper back and create a full sweep in the lats. Wide-Grip Chins widen the lats and develop the entire shoulder girdle. This exercise is primarily for the upper and outer regions of the lats and also spreads the scapula, making it easier to flare the lats. 

Execution: 1) Take ahold of the chinning bar with an overhand grip, hands as wide apart as practicable. 2) Hang from the bar, then pull yourself up so that the back of your neck touches the bar. This is as strict exercise, so try not to help your back by kicking up with the legs. At the top of the movement hold for a brief moment, then lower yourself slowly back to the starting position. Chins involve your entire body weight, so some beginners may not be able to do 10 reps at a time. If you can't, do as many reps as you can each set until you hit a total of 50 reps. The stronger you get, the fewer sets it will take to get to 50 reps and the shorter the time it will take to do it. 

Bodybuilder doing wide grip chins to the frontWide Grip Chins To The Front (Optional)

Exercises for upper back: 

Purpose: To widen the upper back and create a full sweep in the lats. Chinning yourself so that you can touch your chest to the bar rather than the back of the neck gives you slightly longer range of motion and is less strict, allowing you to cheat slightly so you can continue your reps even after you are tired. 

Execution: 1) Take hold of the chinning bar with an overhand grip, hands as wide apart as practicable. 2) Hang from the bar, then pull yourself up, trying to touch the top of your chest to the bar. At the top of the movement, hold for a brief moment, then lower yourself back to the starting position. 

Bodybuilder doing lat machine pulldownsLat Machine Pulldowns

Exercises for upper back: 

Purpose: To widen the upper lats. This exercise allows you to do Chins with less than your total body weight, so you can do a lot of extra reps for the upper back if you feel you need more work in that area (but it should not replace Chins as the standard exercise for widening the upper lats). 

Execution: 1) Using a long bar, grasp it with a wide, overhand grip and sit on the seat with your knees hooked under the support. 2) Pull the bar down smoothly until it touches the top of your chest, making the upper back do the work and not swaying back to involve the lower back. Release, extend the arms again, and feel the lats fully stretch. 

Variation: Try doing lat pulldowns behind the neck instead of in front. 

More exercises for upper back

Schwarzenegger doing bent over barbell rowsBent Over Barbell Rows


Exercises for upper back:

Purpose: To thicken the upper back. This exercise also helps widen the upper back and, to a lesser degree, adds density to the lower back. 

Execution: 1) Standing with feet a few inches apart, grasp the bar with a wide, overhand grip. With your knees slightly bent, bend forward until your upper body is about parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, head up, and let the bar hang at arm's length below you, almost touching the shinbone. 2) Using primarily the muscles of the back, lift the bar upward until it touches the upper abdominals, then lower it again, under control, back to the starting position; then immediately start your next rep. It is important to make the back work so as not to make this a biceps exercise. Think of the arms and hands as hooks, a way of transmitting the contraction of the lats to the bar. Don't bring the bar up to the chest area itself; bringing it only to the abdomen reduces the role of the arms. Make sure your first set of any rowing exercise is relatively light to let your back get warmed up. By the time you get to your last set, a little bit of cheating is all right to get you through it, but keep it to a minimum. 

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows

Exercises for upper back:

Purpose: To work each side of the upper back independently. You can still work heavy and give your back a good workout using dumbbells, but by using them you force each side of the body to work up to its own capacity, rather than running the risk of having the stronger side help out the weaker one. This is a good exercise to develop one side or the other if it is weaker. 

Execution: 1) Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly then bend forward from the waist, keeping your head up and your back straight. Let the weights hang at arm's length below the shoulders. 2) Simultaneously lift both weights up as far as possible to your sides, holding your upper body steady to avoid involving the lower back (the weights should come up to your sides, not your chest, in order to keep biceps involvement to a minimum). Then lower the weights again, slowly. 


› Exercises For Upper Back
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