Want to be able to lift, bench press, or dead lift more weight? You’ll need to build back muscles that can carry any weights thrown at them. Contrary to popular belief, the power to bear great load doesn’t all come from massive forearms, shoulders or biceps; the back muscles play a big part as well. Need proof? Take a look at all of the strongest athletes and bodybuilders, and the competitors in Strongman competitions—you’ll never see any of them without broad, powerful backs.
As much as many people hit the gym with the aim of carving out the muscles and getting some definition, the back is often left unattended. The reason is quite simple; it’s hard to pay attention to something you can’t see. And we have to rely on others to tell us when we’re making progress. Here are five effective ways of quickly building powerful back muscles.
1. Reverse Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row
- Select the size of dumbbells you’re comfortable lifting without a risk of injury or poor form, and place them at your feet.
- Adopt a stance with feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees slightly and with a straight back, reach down for both dumbbells with a grip that has your palms facing away from your body.
- Pull the dumbbells up as close to your chest as possible and drop them down to around knee height for one rep.
- To execute proper form, be sure to tuck your elbows in to the side as much as possible, keeping your eyes ahead and your head straight.
- Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of each rep.
2. Palm-In Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
This is similar to the reverse grip bent-over dumbbell row but differs because of the grip of the dumbbells.
- Again, place your dumbbells at your feet.
- Bend your knees slightly while keeping your back straight and pick up the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
- To perform a rep, let both dumbbells slide down your thighs until they’re about knee level; then pull the dumbbells back up as close to your chest as possible.
- Hold the dumbbells at your chest for about two seconds then drop back to knee level.
3. Palm Rotational Row
Start this row like the other dumbbell rows.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- With knees slightly bent and with a straight back, pick up the dumbbells.
- Pull the dumbbells to your chest, hold them at the top of the movement for two seconds and let the dumbbells almost roll down your thighs to about knee level to complete one rep.
- The key to the palm rotational is turning the palms outward at the top of the rep.
4. Reverse Grip Incline Bench Double-Arm Dumbbell Row
You’ll need an incline bench for this workout.
Set the incline bench to about a 60-degree incline angle, and grab the pair of dumbbells and place them at the high end of the incline bench.
- Lie face-down on the bench so that your chest is on the high end of the bench.
- Pick the dumbbells slightly off the floor with a grip that has your palms facing away from your body.
- Slightly raise the dumbbells to your chest with your elbows forming 90-degree angles to your body.
- Hold the position for two seconds and bring the dumbbells back to the starting position for one rep.
5. Incline Bench Two-Arm Dumbbell Row
The incline bench two-arm dumbbell row is almost identical to its reverse grip incline bench counterpart. The difference between both lies in the grip.
- The incline bench two-arm dumbbell row uses a grip that has the palms facing the body instead of away from the body like in the other version.