Building a Better Back – 5 Unique Back Training Exercises
There is nothing that completes a physique more than a well developed back. It is essential in almost all of the major lifts (bench, deadlift, squat) and the wider your back is – the smaller your waist looks. Not to mention, it is equally as important for maintaining healthy shoulders and balancing out the ridiculous amount of pressing that everyone does. Point being – you need to build a balanced, powerful back for performance, looks and health.
If you’re like me and spend 60-70hrs a week inside of a gym, you’re bound to be looking for some novelty to add to your program. At my facility, I place an emphasis on making sure the posterior side of the body is strong, resilient and presented with new challenges. So take a look at the five exercises I’ve posted below and see how you can fit them into your program.
1.) Low Band Row with Handle Attached
I don’t have a low-row machine at my facility, so I play around with various training angles by using bands and different attachments. For this particular exercise I like the pulley handle and controlled eccentrics.
2.) Reverse Band Bench Row with Isometric Hold
I use this row variation with athletes looking to improve their bench press and have difficulty maintaining proper tension in their upper back. The isometric hold forces you to “own” the position at the bottom of the bench where you’ll see most lifters fail, often due to lack of appropriate lat/scapular tension leading to “pushing” rather than pressing away.
3.) Iso-dynamic seated row (inspired by Buddy Morris)
This one is a killer. Buddy introduced me to iso-dynamic reps and rep schemes years ago and I’ve been using them ever since. This is an iso-dynamic countdown row. Start with a 6 second hold then perform 6 reps, then hold for 5 and perform 5 reps, hold for 4 and perform 4 reps. You will take this all the way to 1 rep. Good luck!!
4.) Band Face Pull with Ez Curl Bar Attached
The facepull is one of the best upper back exercises out there. It’s a versatile movement that can be used in shoulder rehab, as prehab, warm up, activation, or in strength development.
I’ll have athletes perform this with multiple attachments (rope, single arm, TRX, bands, ez curl bar) and from all different angles (low to high). High reps and good tension/form.
5.) Eccentric Single Arm Inverted Row (Inspired by Mike Guadango – Freak Strength)
The traditional inverted row is a staple in my program, so different variations are bound to happen. This is an advanced exercise that I will use with more developed athletes who have the requisite stability and ability to handle eccentric stress.