These upper back strengthening exercises will help strengthen the muscles and help prevent back injury and minimize back pain.
The back muscles are critical for everyday tasks such as lifting, twisting and general movement.
There are various muscles in the upper back that you want to ensure you strengthen. The two larger upper back muscles are the Lattissimus Doris, or your Lats, and the Trapezious muscle.
When planning for your strength training exercises be sure to save enough time to also strengthen both the upper and lower back muscles.
Although it is primarily the lower back that is more prone to injuries you also want to strengthen the upper back for complete core training and stability.
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The upper back is comprised many different muscles. The major muscles include the Latissimus Dorsi, the Trapezius an the Rhombiods.
This muscle, more commonly known simply as Lats, is the largest muscle in our backs. The main function of this muscle is to move our upper arms down and to the side. It also pulls your upper arms down and in front of your body--with help from your lower pecs--and rotates your upper arms inward.
There are 2 rhomboid muscles - the major and minor Rhomboid. The rhomboids connect your thoracic spine to your shoulder blades. The main function is to pull the shoulder blade, shoulders (as well as your shoulder and arm) back and inwards toward the midline of your body, toward your spine.
This diamond-shaped muscle lies on top of the rhomboids and part of the lats. There are upper and lower fibers to this muscle. The primary actions of this muscle includes pulling the shoulder blades together (retracting the scapula), depressing the scapula and elevating the scapula. Because the trapezius runs in different directions, it is involved in all the above mentioned movements.
Other Back Muscles
Other muscles associated with the upper back are the Deltoids, Scapula, Infraspinatus Teres Major and Minor muscles.The Deltoids, Scapula and Infraspinatus are associated more with the shoulder exercises when talking about strengthening than they are with the upper back. The Teres Major and Minor support arm movement and rotation and are smaller upper back muscles.
This move focuses primarily on the upper back. The latissimus dorsi muscles, or your lats, are the main muscles targeted for this upper back strengthening exercise. Additional muscles that are engaged during this workout include the trapezius, the rhomboid muscles, biceps and Erector Spinae.
You can do this workout with a resistance band or dumbbell weights. If using a band, make sure it is not loose otherwise you have no additional resistance. To do this, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart to bring up any slack in the resistance band. The instructions below are for using dumbbell weights.
For this bent over row, you can row back with both hands at one time using a resistance band or dumbbell weights. You can also perform this doing just one side at a time by either standing or supporting yourself on a bench.
The main muscle target in this exercise is the pectoralis major, or the chest muscles. While the primary muscles target in this are not the back, they are the opposing muscles which help strengthen the back. Even though the primary muscle mover is not the back, this exercise uses most of the major back muscles for assistance.
This workout is best done with dumbbell weights, but you can use resistance bands. To do this same workout with resistance bands, you can either lay down on the floor or kneel. You would then anchor the bands behind and above you to get the resistance you need for this upper back strengthening exercise.
This upper back strengthening exercise targets the rear shoulders (deltoids). It will also work the muscles of the upper and middle back, particularly the rhomboids and traps.
Don't let momentum do the work. Instead move in a slow and deliberate motion on the way up and down. Keep back straight while doing this upper back strengthening exercise. Rounding the back will place too much stress on your lower back.
The movement in this upper back strengthening exercise contracts the upper back muscles as you bring your arms up. It is a slow and controlled movement to help strengthen the muscles. This is both an isotonic workout (movers) and an isometric workout (static). At the top of the movement in this exercise, you will hold for a few seconds. The hold is the isometric portion of this upper back workout.
When doing this exercise, squeeze your shoulders back and down when reaching your arms behind you. You can also do this with an exercise ball. Place your torso on the ball with toes on the ground and chest off the ball.
The lat pulldown will work primarily your latissimus dorsi, better known as the lats. These are the broadest muscles in your back. The biceps and muscles of the forearm act as helpers for this upper back strengthening exercise. The best way to do this exercise is at a gym with the proper equipment, however you can do this from home using resistance bands.
If you are using dumbbell weights, simply stand with feet slightly apart. Reach out and up in front of you where your hands are above your head and slightly forward. Bring both arms down by your side until your elbows are slightly behind your middle back area.
In addition to these upper back strengthening exercises, be sure to check out the lower back strengthening exercises to strengthen your entire back.
For a full list of all exercises and instructions on this site, visit the Exercise Instructions page.
Check out the fitness video series for working on your obliques. These are the side muscles of your abdominal and help us twist and turn our bodies.
This is yet another series of videos to strengthen and tone your stomach muscles. The transverse abdominal is one of the most under worked muscles in our bodies.
Lose Belly Fat
When you are done giving your stomach a complete workout, check out this article. To really lose belly fat you will need to put away the exercise mat and grab your running shoes.