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Back Exercises with Weights. My Top Recommendations

Back Exercises with Weights. My Top Recommendations

In my previous articles, I have shared my top exercises with weights for LEGS and ARMS. Today I want to share my favorite Back Exercises With Weights.

Back exercises are very important to our overall physic and size because it is the second largest muscle group after legs. Training your back is great if you want to lose weight, burn more calories and increase your overall muscle mass.

I will to do the same with what I did in my article about the best leg exercises with weights and encourage you to never skip a back day. If you can’t work out all your body parts that week, better skip small muscle groups such as biceps, triceps, and shoulders but always do back and legs workouts.

By doing a cardio workout, most likely you won’t burn as many calories what you can burn while training your back, because when you lift weights and train your muscles your body still burns calories around 24 hours after your workout and doing cardio your body stops burning calories after a couple of hours of your workout. Training your back will help you to increase your muscle mass as well.

So let’s have a look what my best back exercises with weights are:

 

Weighted pull up variations

This exercise primarily focuses on your lats and traps and secondary on your middle back, biceps, core, forearms, and deltoids.

There are so many pull up variations you can do, such as:

  • Close grip overhand or underhand pull up – palms facing you or away from you, narrower than shoulder width grip.
  • Neutral grip pull up – palms facing each other, shoulder width grip.
  • Wide grip pull up – palms facing away from you, wider than shoulder width grip.
  • Underhand grip pull up – palms facing you, shoulder width or narrower grip.
  • Overhand grip pull up – palms facing away from you, narrow, shoulder width or wide grip.

 

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Take a pull up bar with your preferred grip.
  • Grab the dumbbell with your feet and slightly bend your legs back, so they are not touching the ground. (you can use a special belt with chain and attach weight to it).
  • Pull yourself up using your back and arm muscles until your chin is at the same level as the bar. Keep your back straight, do not lean your body or legs in front of you.
  • Stop for a second at the top and squeeze your back muscles.
  • Controlling your weight slowly lover your body down at the starting point.
  • Repeat between 6 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.

 

 

If it is too hard for you to execute pull up with extra weight, you can do it without weight or with resistance band help or with pull up machine.


Barbell deadlift

This exercise primarily focuses on your lower back, glutes and hamstrings and secondary on your lats, traps, middle and upper back, deltoids, core, and arms.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Load a barbell and roll it against your shins.
  • Bend at your knees and hips.
  • Grab the bar with palms facing your body and your hands just beyond shoulder width.
  • Keeping your lower back naturally arched and rest of the back straight, pull your torso up and thrust your hips forward as you stand up with the barbell.
  • Lower the bar to the floor and repeat between 5 -10 repetitions, 3 – 5 sets.

 


Barbell bent over row

This exercise primarily focuses on your lower back, glutes and hamstrings and secondary on your lats, traps, middle and upper back, deltoids, core, and arms.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Grab the barbell with palms facing you (you can use both overhand and underhand grips).
  • Hold your hands about shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your hips and knees and lower your torso until it’s around 30 degrees to the floor (if your torso is more parallel to the floor, it is harder to execute the exercise).
  • Keep your lower back naturally arched and rest of the back straight (do not bend your back as it can cause an injury).
  • Pull the bar to your lower abs and squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other.
  • Pause at the top, then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position controlling the negative. Do not drop your weight too fast.
  • · Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.

 


Dumbbell single arm row

This exercise primarily focuses on your mid back and secondary on your lats, traps, biceps, and shoulders.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Take the dumbbell of a suitable weight (do not take the too heavy weight, because this exercise is hard to execute correctly).
  • Place one knee on a flat bench, with the arm closest to the bench supporting your body as you lean forward.
  • Your torso should be at ninety degrees to the bench, back straight and supported by none working arm.
  • Hold the dumbbell with your other arm and pull towards your abdomen whilst maintaining good posture.
  • Pull weight from the elbow and once it passed the body and it is at the highest point, stop for a second and squeeze your back.
  • Slowly reverse the movement back to the starting position controlling the negative.
  • · Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions for each arm. 3 – 5 sets.

 


Lat pulldown

This exercise primarily focuses on your lats and secondary on your deltoids, biceps, and forearms.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Grab the bar wider than shoulder width, palms facing away from you (there is close grip lat pulldown variation, where you grab the bar at shoulders width).
  • Sit on the bench and make sure your legs are under the support.
  • Keep your back straight and do not lean back when pulling the bar.
  • Pull the bar until it touches your upper chest, stop for a second and squeeze your back muscles in this position.
  • After contracting your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position until your arms are fully extended and the back muscles are fully stretched. Control the negative movement and do not drop the weight too fast.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.

 

Seated cable row with pause

This exercise primarily focuses on your mid back and lats and secondary on traps, rear deltoids, biceps, forearms.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Sit upright on the bench, facing the low pulley row machine with a V-bar.
  • Keep your feet up on the front platform, making sure your knees are slightly bent but not locked.
  • Slightly lean over, keeping your back straight, and grab the V-bar.
  • At your starting position keep your arms extended and your lower back slightly arched, chest out, and shoulders relaxed, do not lean back too much, keep your upper back straight.
  • Pull the handles of the V-bar back towards upper abs until your thumbs touch your abs. Stop for a second and squeeze your back muscles at that point.
  • Slowly release the contraction and go back to the starting position while your arms are fully extended and back stretched.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.

 

 

These are my top back exercises with weights. They are great because most of them engage multiple muscle groups and will help you to lose weight quicker, get leaner and more athletic.

Don’t forget to always keep your form, don’t rush through exercises and try to choose the right weight so you could execute exercises with the correct form, controlling your negative movement and would be able to do somewhere in between target repetition range.

If you can do more repetitions, just do it, don’t’ stop once reached your repetition target if you can do more. Do as many repetitions as you can, but for the next set use a heavier weight. If you can’t hit your minimum repetition range, do the opposite and for next set take the lighter weight. Follow my, advice, be patient and you will start seeing results very quickly.

As always, if you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Marius Mickevicius

Founder of ihealthylifestyle

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10 thoughts on “Back Exercises with Weights. My Top Recommendations”

  • At 52 yo, I like mixing up my workouts that occur at least 4 days a week. I find that a good back workout can be difficult at times and is the one muscle group people forget to hit. One key to working your back is the obvious, good form. Without good form, while working your back you can very easily injure yourself. Going too heavy too soon will result in permanent and painful back problems.

    Be careful while doing back workouts. This can be done properly.

    • It is very true Ken, working out back good form is very important, especially doing exercise like dead lift. It’s incredible exercise which works nearly all muscle of your body, but at the same time it can be very dangerous if people do it wrong or with too heavy weight. All the best in your training Ken and never stop and keep moving!

  • I really am into working out. I focus more on the core than I do the back, but it seems you have some really good recommendations. I will need to employ these into my routine. I think my “back” day is going to get better. Thank you

    • It is very important to train back, it is second largest muscle group after legs and just can’t be forgotten, it actually has to be one of the top priorities. Strengthening back muscles can help avoid injury, if you have to do physical job, or reduce back pains, it will help to have straight spine as well. I’m glad that you decided work on your back more, well done!

  • wow this couldn’t come at a better time to be honest. I have decided as my age is advancing and my work load has increased to keep myself in shape. I have joined the gym and started doing some stuff at home too. Great article and amazing info which I have bookmarked for later reading and reminder as I am a bit of a novice. Many thanks

    • Your welcome Adam, happy that my article can help you. Well done that you decided to join gym and start working out. Remember be consistent and persistent, step by step and soon you will notice positive results! All the best!

  • Training the back is important for maintaining a healthy back.

    Really good article. I saw you posted photos of the exercises. Would you consider updating the article by posting videos?
    Videos show proper form and that is especially important for the back.

    All in all I love the format, design, and content of this article!

    • Thank you Bob, glad you enjoyed my article, yes the work is on going to make videos how to perform exercises correctly, I totally agree that videos would be so much better guidance for beginners.

  • Great tips. I have really started to enjoy the dead lift. Something about a lift like that really gets the blood pumping for me. Its nice that some of these exercises can be done at my house as well if I can’t make it to the gym.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Yes Camden, dead lift is The King of all exercises, if someone would tell me that I can choose and do just one exercises, that would be a dead lift without a doubt. And yes many of those exercises can be done at home, people saying that they don’t have time go to the gym, just using excuses, because you always can workout at home when you don’t have enough time.

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