Yes, building a strong upper back is key to filling out your tee-shirts, but it's also crucial for maintaining proper posture and shoulder health. Here's how to build a big upper back and the best exercises and workout to do it.
The Importance of a Strong Upper Back
The upper back muscles, including the trapezius, rhomboids, rear delts, and latissimus dorsi, play a crucial role in many daily activities and athletic skills. They help stabilize the shoulder joints, support the spine, and enable movements like pulling and lifting.
They also help balance the strength of your pectorals, preventing rounding of the shoulders and upper back.
Some of the benefits of a big upper back, include:
- Improving your posture
- Preventing back pain and spinal injuries
- Enhancing athletic performance
- Boosting overall strength and stability of the upper body
- Making your shirt look like you are about to burst out of it.
Best Exercises for a Bigger Upper Back
Here are our top exercises that target the upper back muscles:
Barbell Deadlifts: This compound exercise engages your entire back, hamstrings, and glutes, promoting overall muscle growth.
Bent-Over Rows: A classic upper back exercise, bent-over rows target the lats, rhomboids, and traps.
Pull-ups/Chin-ups: Pull-ups and chin-ups are excellent for targeting the lats and improving upper body strength.
Lat Pulldowns: This exercise isolates the lats, helping to widen and strengthen the upper back.
Seated Cable Rows: Seated cable rows engage the entire back and help improve posture by strengthening the muscles that retract the shoulder blades.
Band Pull Apart: Band pull aparts target the muscles of the upper back and promote better posture by strengthening the muscles responsible for retracting the shoulder blades.
Reverse Shoulder Flies: Reverse shoulder fly exercises target and strengthen the muscles responsible for retracting the shoulder blades, including the traps. This helps improve posture and engages the entire back.
Sample Upper Back Workout
Here's a sample workout to get you started:
- Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Bent-Over Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Pull-ups: 3 sets of as many reps as possible
- Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Band Pull Aparts: 3 sets of 15-25 reps
- Reverse Flies: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Remember to start with weights that are challenging but manageable, and gradually increase the weight as your strength improves.
In summary, building a big upper back takes time, consistency, and a focus on performing exercises and workouts that target these muscles regularly (and with intensity). Many workouts focus only on the lats, leading to a wide back, but flat traps and weak looking upper body.
Make sure all of your back training incorporates at least some of these exercises to ensure shoulder health and joint integrity.