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Best Upper back exercise movements workouts

The back, as a whole, is composed of the following muscle groups: erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids major and minor, teres major, posterior deltoids and trapezius. Some of these muscles are often considered parts of other sections (usually shoulders or core), but they are all technically part of the back. These muscles can be broken up into a few categories for training purposes.

The back can essentially be divided up into three parts: lower, upper and trapezius. The lower back is responsible for the extension of the hips and spine, and is a key component in core thickness. The upper back can be broken up into two categories for training: width (lats) and thickness (posterior deltoids, rhomboids). The trapezius adds neither width nor thickness to the back, and is often trained with the shoulders.

Based off of the information from above, it is clear that the back is a difficult body area to train, especially given the difficulty with visualization and mind-muscle connection present with the back. Thus, the back workout must be comprehensive without leading to overtraining.

In this article we will focus on Upper back

Workout Protocols

There are many ways to develop the upper back musculature, using an assortment of movements/exercises with a variety of overload protocols. I have provided sample exercise that can be used in single workouts along with a few set/rep scripts that can be applied to them.

Upper back exercise movements for single workouts:

Wide grip pulldown
Bent-over row
Upright row

Chin ups
Low row
Face pulls

Seated row
Close grip pulldown
Bicep curl

High row
Rear delt machine
Machine pullover

Set/rep scripts options that can be applied to them:

2 sets of each exercise at 10-14 and 6-10 rep ranges
2 sets of each exercise all at an 8-12 range
3 sets of each exercise all at 12-16, 8-12, and 4-8 rep ranges
3 sets of each exercise all at a 6-10 rep range
1 set of each exercise at a 12-16 rep range

Regarding specific workout days, many options work. Whether you are strength training using a total body workout two or three days per week or using a split routine where your upper body is trained twice per week, incorporate the aforementioned upper back exercises.