2 Exercises for a Better Back Workout

STACK Expert Robert Taylor brings you two back exercises you need to add to your workout regimen.

There's more to training your back than doing Rows and Deadlifts. To really work and develop all your back muscles, you should also be performing exercises that train the lower trapezius and rhomboid muscles—the back muscles connected to the shoulders.

The rhomboids are the main muscles that squeeze the shoulder blades toward the spine. The lower traps help with raising, lowering and retracting the shoulder blades and arching the upper back.

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Muscular Back

There's more to training your back than doing Rows and Deadlifts. To really work and develop all your back muscles, you should also be performing exercises that train the lower trapezius and rhomboid muscles—the back muscles connected to the shoulders.

The rhomboids are the main muscles that squeeze the shoulder blades toward the spine. The lower traps help with raising, lowering and retracting the shoulder blades and arching the upper back.

Here are two back exercises to add to your training regimen that develop these areas:

Low Trap Press

This exercise maintains the integrity of the shoulder girdle, strengthens the entire trapezius and adds muscle to your back.

  • Assume a dip position on parallel bars.
  • Without bending your elbows, depress your shoulder blades by allowing your shoulders to rise toward your ears.
  • Elevate your shoulder blades by driving your shoulders down. Hold this position for two counts.
  • Repeat for the specified number of reps.

Frequency: Two times per week
Sets/Reps: 1-2/10-15
Progression: Begin with body weight and progress to wearing a weighted belt as you achieve the top of the rep range with good form.

Scapular Shrug

With the prevailing overemphasis on the Bench Press—and pressing movements in general—in most strength training programs, making time to work the muscles on the opposite side of the body is important for minimizing injury risk. Help keep your shoulder, neck and head healthy by adding the Scapular Shrug to your weekly program.

  • Assume a seated row position and hold the cable handle in front of your chest.
  • Without bending your elbows, pinch your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for two counts.
  • Repeat for the specified number of reps.

Frequency: Two times per week
Sets/Reps: 1-2/10-15
Progression: Increase resistance as you reach the top of the rep range with good form.

Editor's Note: Listen to Coach Taylor's SMARTER Team Training podcast.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BACK | CHEST | COACH | EXERCISE | TRAIN | BENCH | PRESS | INJURY | TRAINING PROGRAMS | SHRUG | SPINE | TRAPS | GIRDLE