Continuing our series by Jonathon Lomax, this week we’re looking at building a strong, sexy back. Here’s our guide to the best gym machines to use for that perfect V shape. Good luck - we’re right behind you!
It helps to know your back muscles. The trapezius and the rhomboids work the upper back. The Lasissimus dorsi help the rotators in the middle, and the Erector Spinae work along the spine. Building power in your back, shoulders and triceps improves your physique, boosts posture and prevents injury.
So what gym equipment should you head for?
Great for beginners, chin ups and pulls up are the king of back exercises. Using your own bodyweight building your back naturally as well as building grip strength. Best results are gained by focussing on squeezing all your back muscles as you pull your shoulder blades down. Find some great ideas here. Aim for 2 sets of 25.
Basically like a machine version of chin ups, this primarily works muscles in the upper back. A bar is pulled down to the chin and then released, as demonstrated here. The Lat machine is a great starting exercise for those who can’t do pull-ups.
Rowing builds strong back muscles (particularly upper back) as well as providing one of the best full-body low-impact workouts. Proper form is the most efficient way to a strong back, and avoiding lower-back injuries. Start on a low resistance and build up to between 6 and 10. Vary between interval-based workouts, pyramid training and longer distances.
As demonstrated here, this equipment focuses on developing the upper back. Keep your abs tight as you pull the bar towards your chest. Keep your elbows in and remain bent-over throughout. If you have back issues, choose a pulley row instead.
An advanced, but highly effective exercise for building the large back muscles. Correct technique is crucial, as demonstrated here. Palms should face you. Be sure to touch the bar to the chest and place back on the floor each time. Pull your elbows towards the ceiling to target your upper back rather than using your biceps.
Support your back. Use the gym!
I personally find a toned back very, very attractive in a man - much more so than a six-pack. Somthing to consider, all you blokes who've never given your back a second thought...
I just assume my back looks ok, but I must admit it's probably the last place I think about. Considering we're all hunching over more as a nation perhaps this is a good idea.
This is fab stuff to show my desk-bound husband! Personally I can't even do one pull-up. It's definitely the rower for me!
Does anyone really look at their back? I suppose if you're aiming for a sculpted body overall you should but I've never given it much though - I'll have to go and check in the mirror now.
It took me awhile to perfect my rowing machine form but it's now my favourite piece of kit. I prefer interval training with quick bursts when training as it really pushes me but I'll definitely try your other suggestions.
Like James, I really don't think about my back. Now I will start giving it some consideration!
Never really thought about my back muscles and whether they're attractive before. Suppose it makes a change from focusing on my abs...
useful to have a path to pull-ups, as like many people I cannot lift myself by my arms. Any ideas for lower back strengthening, or is that all in the stomach?
This is really helpful. It;s easy to forget about your back as you can't see it but a good back is very sexy!