Your Ultimate Back Workout

When you look at yourself in the mirror, you’re only seeing one side of yourself. And unfortunately, this perspective tends to translate into the gym. We only work one side or one muscle group. We forget that for each muscle group, there is an opposing group. 

Can you guess what the most neglected muscles are? If you guessed the back, you’re right. A lot of people focus on what they can see in the mirror. We can’t see our back, so we often forget about it.

Yet, a strong back – including the lats, trapezius, rhomboids, quadratus lumborum, and more – is important for stability, balance, and overall health. By ensuring you have a balanced fitness routine, you significantly reduce your risk of injury. 

And if you’re looking for a well-rounded back workout, you’ve come to the right place. All you need for this workout is a small space to move, two dumbbells, a mat, and about 30 minutes.  If you don’t have dumbells, you can use a kettlebell – there are many benefits and ways to a kettlebell.  


Take 2-5 minutes to prep your body for your workout. Run on the spot, jump rope, or perform jumping jacks. Get that heart rate up! 


Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend slightly at the knees and bend forward at the waist. Keep your back straight. Allow your arms to hang straight with your dumbbells starting near your shins and knees. Slowly bend your elbows and bring them straight back. At the same time, pinch your shoulder blades down and in. Once your dumbbells reach your belly button, slowly lower them back down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions and do 2-3 sets.


Begin in a full plank. Your hands should be positioned directly under your shoulders. Your body should also form a straight line from your head to your toes. If this is too difficult, you have an option to start from your knees. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor. Lift your arms and legs up and off the floor. Pause, then lower and push yourself back up into your starting position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets. 


This might not seem like a back workout, but it is! Your back works hard to keep your spine straight and stable. Start with your dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. Pick up a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your arms straight, stand up tall and squeeze your glutes when you reach the top. For more of a challenge, do this exercise on one leg at a time. Complete 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. If you do one leg at a time, do this for each leg. 


Begin in a high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight and your body stable, slowly bend your right elbow and bring the dumbbell straight back. Slowly lower and do the same on your left side. Continue to alternate. Perform 16 repetitions for 2-3 sets.


Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Start with your arms at shoulder height and your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Slowly straighten your arms and push the weights up and over your head. Slowly lower and repeat for 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.


If you have access to a lat pulldown machine, perform it on your back session days. Ensure that you’re pinching the shoulder blades down and in as you pull down. And make sure you don’t let the bar go up too quickly. Slow and controlled is always best. 

If a lat pulldown isn’t available, aim to perform a pull-up. This won’t be for everyone and does require quite a bit of strength. Don’t panic or become discouraged if you can’t do one. With time and strength gains, you’ll eventually get there.

Don’t Forget to Cooldown!

After your workout, stretch it out. Perform a child’s pose or two. Stretch out your lats and your rhomboids. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as well as to fuel up afterward!

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