The best exercises for back muscles

Nancy Heijnis
12 May 2022
Reading time: 5 minutes

Never skip back day! Men have often focused entirely on pecs, triceps and biceps, and for women, this mainly applies to the buttocks and legs. But meanwhile, we forget the importance of training your back. The back is a large body part with many muscles and muscle fibers. You can stimulate all these muscle fibers with different exercises.

Best back exercises

It is important to use a good mix of back exercises in your training plan. The back consists of four muscle groups: lats, trapezius, rhomboid and the lower back. With some back exercises you train multiple back muscle groups at the same time. We have listed the best back exercises for you that you can implement in your training schedule in no time!


The king of exercises or the deadlift. In addition to multiple back muscle groups, the deadlift also targets other muscle groups such as legs, buttocks, abdomen and calves. The deadlift is a great way to strengthen your lower back muscles. In addition, you place tension on all muscles in the upper back. Start your training with this exercise, because it requires a lot of energy and effort. The barbell deadlift is very prone to injury. Therefore, do not pack too much weight, but build it up slowly and build it up slowly. Below we tell you what the perfect performance should look like:

  1. Push your heels into the floor to lift yourself up. The barbell should go as close to your shins as possible.
  2. Rise until you are almost straight and your back is straight with a natural curve. ATTENTION: Do not pull yourself too far back, which creates a hollow back.
  3. Push your butt back to make room for the bar and bend your knees in a controlled manner. Your torso should move naturally until the barbell comes back to the floor. PLEASE NOTE: Your back should not bulge.
  4. Repeat 1 to 3.


Looking for the perfect exercise for your lats? Then you are looking for the dumbbell row. You can perform this in several ways. You can grab two dumbbells at the same time, bend over and pull your elbows out to your sides, or perform it with one arm. In that case, you can rest your body on a bench. This means you don’t have to focus as much on your balance and your lower back is much less stressed.

The perfect execution:

  1. Place your hand and knee on a bench.
  2. Place your other foot firmly on the floor and grasp the dumbbell with your free hand. Start with your arm in a straight position.
  3. Pull your elbow close to your side. You are actually now making a kind of rowing movement, hence the name.
  4. Squeeze your shoulder blade together when you are on top.
  5. Then lower in a controlled manner and repeat the movement.


An exercise that we would all like to be able to do and which is also very good for training your back is the pull up. This is a perfect exercise to widen your back. It is a very heavy exercise, so not everyone can perform it. With your own body weight. Most gyms also have an assisted pull up machine so that you gradually master the back exercise.

The perfect execution:

  1. Grab the handles you are going to pull up at shoulder width.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, inhale and pull yourself up until your chin is past the bar.
  3. Then lower in a controlled manner until you are back in the starting position.
  4. Repeat this move!


You perform the cable seated row on a device. It is a very suitable exercise to target multiple muscle groups in the back. You can also perform these exercises in different ways. Want to focus on your lats? Then you have to grab the bar with your hands close together. Want to target the rhomboid? Then place your hands further apart. You can also use other accessories instead of the bar to trigger other muscle groups in the back.

The perfect execution:

  1. Place your feet on the supports, grab the bar, keep your back straight and your arms straight.
  2. Pull the weight back, pushing your elbows back while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. As you lower the weight, your shoulder blades relax. Continue until your arms are straight again.
  4. Repeat this move!


The lat pull down is an effective exercise to train the lats. This exercise is also often used in beginner fitness schedules and is a good exercise to eventually do pull ups. You basically make the same move. You can also perform this exercise in several ways. With the classic lat pull down, you pull the bar up to your chest, but you could also move the bar behind your neck. Furthermore, you can of course use different accessories to trigger different back muscles. In any case, we will tell you how to properly perform a classic lat pull down.

The perfect execution:

  1. Grab the bar and sit directly under it. Keep your hands shoulder width apart.
  2. In the starting position, extend your arms fully. Then lean back slightly and push your chest forward.
  3. Move the bar toward your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together. When you feel that your shoulder blades are maximally squeezed, return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the move!

Make the most progress by training each muscle group twice a week. Because the back muscles belong to a large muscle group, it is best to combine them with a smaller muscle group such as the biceps. Good luck!

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