A ripped back looks good. That's why all of us guys want one. But did you know it can help you feel good, too? Since the back is the starting point for many of the movements you go through in a typical day, strength in the upper, middle and lower back is integral to your overall health. Think about it -- when you push yourself up out of bed you're using your back. When you reach for something on a shelf or bend over to pick up a child you're relying on your center of gravity, your core … your back.
The largest back muscles are the lattissimus dorsi (lats), which enfold your body below the armpits and down your back. The deltoids spread over the outer portion of your shoulders. The trapezius muscles cover the inner portion of the shoulders and extend down into the middle of the back. Finally, your lower back consists of the rectus abdominis and obliques.
Now that you're familiar with the back's major muscle groups and the benefits of a strong core, let's get to sculpting a well-defined and healthy you. We begin by going old-school.