The 5 Best Exercises For a Massive Upper Back

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

| Last updated on

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These days if you pick a random guy off the street typically he won’t have very strong postural muscles.

Given that we spend all of our time slouching in front of a computer or phone we rarely actually need to sit or stand up straight to communicate with people.

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While your upper back muscles might not be important for browsing Youtube they definitely play a key role when it comes to working out.

They provide the base for your bench press and they help keep your body straight during a squat.

Additionally, having thick upper and mid back muscles is crucial for moving some serious weight when benching, squatting or deadlifting.

While most people neglect these muscles until they have a severe forward slouch and expensive chiropractic visits are needed, you can avoid this.

Check out some of the exercises below to help strengthen and build up the muscles of your back.

upper-back2

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Back

1 – It looks bad.

This one is pretty straightforward.

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Simply put, having a slouched physique doesn’t look good.

Having great body language is essential to success with women and career and if your back muscles aren’t strong enough to hold you up then you can forget about impressing anyone.

2 – It weakens your rotator cuffs.

If you are constantly slouching forward your rotator cuff muscles will not develop properly.

As a result, you will have a harder time increasing your weight on the bench press – not to mention you will be more likely to injure the rotator cuff.

3 – It’s important for leg day.

We know we know, most people skip leg day.

But if you are in the minority of people actually doing it (as you should) you will need strong upper back muscles to keep your spine straight.

If your back muscles are weak you will be more likely to lean forward which will result in weaker performance and greater chance of injury.

4 – It keeps your joints aligned.

In order for your muscles and stabilizers to grow sustainably the joints need to be properly lined up.

If your posture is bad you can expect to build an unbalanced physique which will ultimately increase your risk of injury.

upper-back

Top Back Exercises

1 – Pull-Aparts.

This is one of the most popular exercises for powerlifters.

They are simple to perform and require minimal equipment or strength.

Essentially you are grabbing a band and pulling it apart while your arms are straight.

The most common variations are T, Y and A.

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When performing these you want to really focus on squeezing the shoulder blades.

You should feel both the arms and shoulder blades moving.

Alternatively, hold one arm straight and perform the variation with the other arm alone. This will increase the tension on that side making it more difficult.

2 – Moving Blackburns.

This exercise will teach you how to move your arms while keeping your shoulder in proper alignment.

Lie on the floor face down and lift your chest up like you are doing a superman pose.

Then bend your elbows and pull your arms back. You should feel the shoulders moving with the arms.

Check on youtube for some of the variations you can do on this one.

3 – No Money.

To do this exercise grab a band and hold it in front of you with your palms facing up.

Your goal here is to pull it apart without moving the elbows.

Focus on bringing the shoulder-blades back.

When done properly you can really feel it in the external rotator cuf.

These don’t take long and will definitely improve your posture!

4 – A-Triangle.

With this exercise you will need a large band and a solid object to link them to such as a squat rack.

Grab the band with both hands and pull it apart and backwards.

This helps people who tend to shrug while performing the other exercises as it forces you to keep the shoulders down.

5 – Chain Exercises.

The great thing about doing exercises like lateral raises with chains is that provide resistance training as well as forcing the body to stabilize the weight as it swings around.

Each of these exercises can be done for 15-20 reps for 3-5 sets.

They work great between sets as an active set, or before your main lifts as a warm-up or even as a cool down.

Given that all you need is a band for most of them they can easily be performed at home.

Remember – poor posture can be a gains and attraction killer.

If you have a tendency to slouch use these exercises both to improve your posture and to build upper back strength – you’ll be glad you did!

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