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.
Dumbbell row - lats, mid traps, rhomboids, rear delts
A good variation of row. Puts more stress on the lower back than seated varieties though.
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.
It's important to strengthen your neck. Start with a pillow rather than a bench if this bothers your neck.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.