Upper Back

Upper back exercises

A strong back is the foundation of your upper body and can improve your posture. **Exercises become more advanced as you scroll down**

Whether you have yet to do your first pull up or you're doing 20 at once, there are dozens of videos below to help you build a strong upper back, including your traps, lats, and more. Improve your posture and turn heads at the same time!

Assisted pull ups - lats

If you can't YET get a pull up, the assisted machine is one way to build your back strength quickly.

Cable pull downs - lats

Builds your lat muscles, think of them as your wings.

Chin ups - lats and biceps

Slightly easier than pull ups because they allow for more biceps involvement.

Pull ups - lats

The classic. More challenging than a chin up.

Seated cable rows - lats, mid traps, rear delts, rhomboids, etc

One of the best exercises for isolating and building a strong back.

Straight arm cable pull down - lats, triceps

Isolates your lats while providing some core work as well.

Dumbbell row - lats, mid traps, rhomboids, rear delts

A good variation of row. Puts more stress on the lower back than seated varieties though.

Single arm dumbbell row

Helps you to isolate one side of your back, while also providing a little core work.

Bent over barbell row

One of the best ways to build a strong back. This also works your glutes and hamstrings when done properly.

Rear delt machine

Helps you to isolate your rear delts. This is safer than the standing varieties as it puts less stress on your back.

Flare out band pull apart

Flaring out allows for more muscle recruitment across the upper back. Performing these on a bench keeps your head and spine stable.

Neck bridge

It's important to strengthen your neck. Start with a pillow rather than a bench if this bothers your neck.

Trap stretch

The upper traps are a commonly sticky area for people. Performing this weighted stretch, mixed with a few reps of rows, can provide relief.

Dumbbell trap stretch into row

Stretching under weights and finishing with a contraction can provide relief to your muscles that are often tight and over-worked.

Dumbbell trap stretch

An additional view of the dumbbell trap stretch.

Two-way band work

A variation of our micro band work for your upper back and rear delts.

3 position band pull aparts

Demonstrating how different angles of the same exercise can impact different areas of your muscles. Apologies for the sound quality.

3 angle band pull

Similar to the 3 angle band fly, this exercise can easily be done anywhere you have a band and a wall.

Smith machine inverted row

A bodyweight way to challenge your upper back. Keeping your glutes tight will also work your core.

TRX inverted row

The TRX straps allow for more variations in your grip, while breaking and re-engaging at the hips brings your glutes into it as well.

Inverted barbell row

A great exercise to strengthen your entire posterior chain.

Weighted inverted barbell row dropset

Good for developing strength and explosiveness. This was my last set, so I finished with the drop set you see here. Otherwise, you'd only lift 5-8 reps with the weight then stop.

Chaos inverted banded row

And a great way to shake up the standard inverted row.

Weighted chaos pull ups

Making the pull up just a tad more difficult.

3 variations of band pull aparts

The standard 3 variations of hand positioning for your pull aparts. Each emphasizes your back and rear delts differently.

4-way micro band pull apart

The standard micro band combo for upper back and rear delts.

Micro band snow angels

Great for a strong and mobile back and shoulders. Keep your glutes engaged as you go slowly through a full range of motion.

Micro band 3 direction exercise

Providing some different variations of micro band work on the upper back and rear delts.

Micro band static walk backs

Keeping isometric tension on the muscles as you engage the lower body as well.

3-way cable pulldown

Emphasizing one side at a time. Great for adding some variety.

How to set up chaos exercises

For those still unsure of how to set up chaos exercises.

Chaos pull ups

Adding chaos to your pull ups. Perfect if you're looking for a new pull up challenge.

Mini bands pull up

These add a whole new level of difficulty to your pull ups or chin ups. Not for the faint of heart.

Single arm eccentric cable pulldown

These are a great way to build size in your back. Pull down strong, lower the weight slowly, repeat.

Isometric cable rows

Isometrics are good for developing strong, dense muscle mass. Rows are great for building a strong back. Put the two together and good things happen.

Isometric dumbbell rows

Change the angle of the row while also taking the stress off your lower back.

Isometric barbell rows

Also called barbell row pull throughs, these are similar to the isometric cable row while also reducing the stress on your lower back.

T-bar row isometric for time

The t-bar row engages more of the lower body than the seated cable version. We started this set with 3 x 20 seconds, 4 x 15s, and 5 x 10s as we increased the weight.

Hip supported victory raise

These hit almost every muscle from your shoulder blades down to your glutes. Keep a rigid body, glutes tight, spine tall, and move slow. These can be performed face down on an incline bench if the bar hurts your hips.

Around the world mini band rows

A good way to emphasize multiple areas of your upper back musculature in one set. Go slow and focus on the contraction.

New Exercises Coming Soon!


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