There are an array of large and small back muscles in your body, but the most worked are the trapezius, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids. Keeping these muscles flexible and in shape is essential to fluid, pain-free movement. Below are some workout suggestions on how to keep your back muscles strong and in optimal working order. It is best to approach a back workout with pulling exercises one day and pushing another. This way the muscles will have enough time to recover and repair. Working out this area must be done with caution. If you have any serious chronic or acute back issues, either skeletal or muscular, a workout program should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.
1. Lat Row Pulls
The latissimus dorsi are the large back muscle group that is located below your arms. They are like a muscular set of wings and are referred to as "lats." Lat row pulls are done by bending forward 90 degrees at the waist. Slightly bend the knees. Grab either a single bar or dumbbells with your choice of weight and pull up toward your chest. Bring your elbows as far back as they can go, keeping your neck and torso straight. If using a bar, touching it to your chest is okay. If using dumbbells, you can enhance the lift by twisting inward as you lift and then twist back to the way you started on the way down. Don't let any weight touch the ground during this exercise.
2. Lower Back Flies
Lie on your stomach. Put your palms over your ears and lift your chest as high as it can go bending at your lower back. To intensify this exercise, lift the legs at the same time and extend your arms as if you are flying.
3. Tri-Trap Push
Choose a dumbbell with a challenging weight. Bend your elbows and hold the dumbbell with two hands on one end at the back of your head. Let the other end hang. Push the dumbbell up over your head, opening your arms into a full extension. Drop back down to the first position and repeat. This will work your triceps and trapezius (upper back) muscles.
4. Pull Ups
These are one of the hardest and most successful upper back exercises. Grab a chin up bar with your palms facing forward or facing you. When you pull yourself up, cross your feet over one another to prevent swinging. This will work the rhomboids and lats. Enhance your pull ups by holding your position at the top and then dropping slowly down before pulling up again.
5. Push Ups
Push ups may be considered a chest exercise, but the back muscle groups are worked when doing them as well. Start with your hands shoulder width apart with your legs extended and your knees locked. Be sure not to arch your back, and bring your chest down within an inch or two of the floor. Enhance your push ups by putting weights on your back or having someone create resistance as you rise. You can also experiment by moving your hands closer together or further apart.