One of the hardest things for any bodybuilder to achieve is building a strong back. Because we can’t really see the muscles we’re working, it’s hard to establish a strong mind-muscle connection, and many lifters say they can’t really “feel” their backs engaged. This can be partially accounted for by the fact that many lifters begin their workouts with back exercises in the gym, which can be challenging to master without the necessary background knowledge. As you can see, the majority of people begin their back exercises with pull-ups, hard pulls, and barbell rows.
Workout machines that target the back are usually those that involve pulling, whether it’s rowing or pulling up. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll notice that most facilities put them together to facilitate your workout.
Below you will find a few gym machines that work out your back, so read on.
Muscles of the Back
Your back muscles enable you to move your body, stoop, turn your trunk, and stand tall. In addition to aiding in breathing, they also support your spine.
Your trunk’s (torso’s) primary structural support comes from your back muscles. Your head, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs can all be moved with the aid of these muscles. You can bend over, twist, turn your head, and extend your back thanks to the coordinated action of your back muscles.
You can sit and stand up straighter thanks to these muscles. They are crucial for supporting your spine and facilitating breathing. Their jobs include:
Superficial muscles: Your arms can move, your shoulders can shrug, and your spine stays straight thanks to these muscles. Superficial muscles include:
- Latissimus dorsi (lats), which helps you extend and rotate your shoulder and arm.
- Levator scapulae, which raises your scapula (shoulder blade).
- Rhomboids, two muscles (the rhomboid major and minor) that work together to pull the scapula inward toward the spine.
- Trapezius (traps), which helps you move your body, raise your arms and have good posture.
Intermediate: The breathing is assisted by the intermediary muscles. When you inhale and exhale, they assist your chest in expanding and contracting by attaching to the ribs.
Intrinsic: These muscles aid in back bending, rotation, flexion, and extension while also helping to stabilize your spine. They also aid in maintaining control over your head, neck, and trunk.
The Benefits of Back Exercise
The main advantage of back exercises is better posture. A cycle is created whereby good posture reinforces back strength and back strength reinforces good posture as a result of strengthening your back muscles. Yoga and other low-intensity stretching exercises are especially beneficial for improving spinal posture.
Stabilize the Spine
The more you strengthen the muscles around your back, the less pressure you exert on your spine. Spinal stability is the spine’s capacity to withstand physiological stress without shifting. Your body can handle lifting weights in your daily life more easily as your spinal stability improves through exercises like weightlifting and yoga.
Relieve and Prevent Back Pain
Even though it might seem counterintuitive, doing some light exercise can help you get rid of your back pain. Your first inclination may be to lie down when you have back pain, but doing so can make your pain worse by promoting poor posture and muscle atrophy. Light exercises that help to improve spinal stability and relieve pressure on your spinal discs and cord can help to reduce back pain.
Gym Machines for Back: 7 Recommended
Although not all gyms have assisted pull-up machines, if you do, using one is a great way to improve your pull-up technique. The towering machine has steps leading to a platform that, depending on the model, you stand or kneel on. Climb up and grasp the handles with a classic overhand wide grip, or choose one of the other options, such as chin-up or narrow grip. Just as you would without the assistance of the machine, perform a pull-up.
Lat Pull Down
A free-standing lat pull-down machine is made by numerous manufacturers, and each model’s specifications vary slightly. However, all share the same basic gist that targets the latissimus dorsi, the broad muscle of the back that covers the backs of the ribs. As you sit with your legs locked under a supportive pad, you pull handles or a bar down to your collarbones. Similar to a pull-up, the downward movement targets the back.
Not all gyms offer the same array of machines. Less commonly found machines that work your back include:
The Iron Cross: You’re standing on a platform with handles that are placed next to your hips. As you follow the machine’s track to work your lats, grab the handles and raise your arms straight up and out to the sides.
The Shrug: Alongside your hips are the weight handles as you stand on a platform. To exercise your trapezius muscle, which is situated in the upper and middle back region, hold a handle in each hand and lift your shoulders toward your ears.
Pullover: A backrest and padded seat are features of this machine. You grab a bar by reaching up and slightly behind your head, pulling it down and in front of your torso. The motion looks like you’re securing an amusement park ride safety bar.
Rowing machines come in a variety of styles that all work your back from different angles and directions. Working all of the back muscles is a traditional seated rowing machine with a chest support pad. The standard model places levels at your mid-chest, but you can also find versions of this machine with levers that are angled up high, requiring you to pull back and down, or down low, requiring you to pull back and up.
On an upholstered bench, you lie forward on an inclined rowing machine rather than sitting upright. With your elbows bent, you can now grab the levers and pull them back. They should not be confused with the T-bar rowing machine. In order to use this machine, you must stand and straddle a lever. You then lean forward from your hips and take an overhand grip on the wide handles. To form a T-shape with your body, pull the levers back while using wide elbows.
Because the back supports our spine, it is crucial to use the right equipment when working out on it in the gym. For back pain relief, try doing some back exercises.