English: an exercise of upper back

English: an exercise of upper back (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The theme of quick body part workouts in 30 minutes or less has thus far included workouts for the shoulders, legs, and arms. The theme will continue in this post with a focus on the back, an often neglected and injured area of the body.

 Having a muscular backside not only looks great, but also it can plan a vital role in injury prevention and proper posture. In addition, have a muscular back, specifically the lats, will create the coveted V-Taper look. In both males and females this makes the waist appear smaller and the shoulders wider.  

 The back is an extremely large area to hit, with muscle fibers running in multiple different directions. The muscles of the upper back typically run horizontal, which leads rowing to be a great exercise. The lats run more vertical, meaning vertical pulling hits the lats better. The low back muscles and those closely surrounding the spine serve the purpose of supporting the spine and maintaining posture and are composed of primarily slow twitch muscle fibers.

 The exercises in this workout will improve posture, muscle definition, size, and strength.

 Superset 1:

 Perform pull-ups or chin ups for 4 sets of 5 reps. If needed add weight. If you cannot perform pull pull-ups or chin ups check out elitefts for a long back, these are awesome for assisted pull-ups and chin-ups! After each set of pull-ups perform rope face pulls on a cable stack. Use lightweight and row the rope high towards your eyes and squeeze the shoulders. Rope face pulls should be performed slow and controlled with a fairly lightweight, go for 4 sets of 10-15 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between exercises and repeat.

1a. Pull-Up/ Chin Up 4×5

1b. Rope Face Pull 4×10-15

 Superset 2:

Perform DB 1 arm rows for 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Each rep should be performed under control, much like this. Avoid rotating the body and cheating the weight up. Superset 1-arm rows with light DB scarecrows, a phenomenal exercise for building stability in the shoulder. Scarecrows should be performed slow and under control with body weight or light weight (5lbs) for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.  Rest 30 seconds max between exercises and repeat.

            2a. DB 1 arm Row 3×10-12

            2b. Dumbbell Scarecrow 3×10-15

 Superset 3:

Perform body weight side-to-side rows using a bar in a power rack; here is a short clip on side-to-side rows. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps per side, or 2 sets of 20 total reps. Superset side-to-side rows with 1 arm Lat Pull downs at a 45 degree angle. To set up the 1 arm lat pull down at a 45 degree angle assume a linebacker stance (bent over at a 45 degree angle) and pull a high pulley from a cable machine. Pull down for 15-20 reps on each arm. This exercise will give your lats an awesome stretch and work the muscle through a full range of motion. Aim for 15-20 reps on two sets. No rest between exercises hit them hard and go home.

            3a. Side-To-Side Row 2×10/side

            3b. 45 Degree 1 arm Pull down 2×15-20/side

 To decrease injuries, increase definition, increase size, and increase the strength or your back add this workout into your current routine if performing a body part split. The workout should take no longer than 30 minutes and ideally could be performed in 20-25 minutes.  

Copyright 2012 by Eric R Bach.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be duplicated or distributed without written consent from the author.

About Eric Bach Performance

Eric Bach is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Precision Nutrition Level 1 (PN1) with a degree in Kinesiology Concentrated in Human Performance and Emphasizing Sports Performance from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. A former collegiate Strength Coach Eric now resides in Denver, Colorado. Eric coaches clients at Forza Fitness and Performance Center and trains everyone from weekend warriors and post rehabilitation patients to professional athletes. Eric developed his passion for fitness through a competitive sports career which included competitive Olympic lifting, Football, Track and Field, and Powerlifting. Eric is a self proclaimed fitness nerd who enjoys reading, eating, deadlifting, and living a healthy and fullfilling life while helping others dominant their lives in and out of the gym. Eric can be contacted at ericbachperformance.com for all consultations and questions

2 responses »

  1. Nice selection of exercises for the back musculature. I’ve never seen a “side-to-side row” exercise before. Could you explain the benefits of that exercise compared to an inverted row?

    • bachfitness says:

      The Side to Side Row is an inverted row, just with side to side unilateral action.
      The side to side row challenges the back muscles on each side to work independently and take on more of the loading, forcing the muscles to work harder. Side to side rows also give the grip quite a challenge. Throw them into a workout and let me know how you like them!
      Thanks for you comment,

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