Working the Entire Upper Back

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A lot of guys tend to skimp on back work. Part of the problem is the location; it’s your back so it can be hard to visually target the muscle unlike every other body part. It is almost impossible to see what you are doing back there and watch the muscles work because your neck muscles are often being used during exercises as well.

So, you are left with working by feel and then checking the results in the mirror. Unfortunately the results aren’t always as good as they should be. Far too many people just focus on the upper trapezius muscles with shrugs, do some quick rows and lots of chin-ups or pull-downs and consider things done. But that really doesn’t do justice to the entire upper back. But this routine sure does:

The Upper Back Blaster

The traps are very big muscles that need to be worked in a variety of ways to hit them working the entire upper backfully. You also have the teres major and the rhomboids. Of course everyone is aware of the lats and lower back muscles. To focus on the upper back more than the rest this program is structured differently. All exercises should be done with good form and a slow pace for reps. It is more important to learn to feel the muscles and hold the contraction for a 2 count rather than hoisting weight around just to show how strong you are.

  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps – Squeeze your shoulders up and slightly back and hold at the top before releasing.
  • Behind the Neck Pull-downs – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps – Elbows should pull down and try and touch the ribs.
  • Single Dumbbell Rows – 2 sets of 6 to 10 reps – Pull the weight to the side of the ribs and get the elbow up.
  • Close-Grip Pull-ups (or pull-downs) – 2 sets of 6 to 10 reps – Pull nice and slow to your lower chest and get a full stretch at the top.
  • Cable Pullovers – 2 sets of 20 reps – Use a high cable and a straight bar. With arms straight at head height pull the bar down to your waist in a smooth arc.
  • Deadlifts – 3 sets of 12 reps – Slow even reps to finish off the routine. Primarily this is a lower back exercise but at the end of the workout it will also burn your traps.

This routine is a bit different with the exercises being used. It really focuses on range of motion, full stretches, and working the entire back from top to bottom. Give it a try and see exactly how brutal is truly is.

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