Back Strengthening Exercises


A strong back is essential to good posture, proper balance, and warding off back injuries. In this article, we'll present a variety of exercises designed to strengthen and tone your back muscles, including a bent-over row, a seated row, a reverse fly, a back pulldown, a bent-knee plank, and more.

Each exercise is broken down into simple steps and illustrated with photos that show you the proper form to follow for maximum results. Prevent backaches and decrease back stress by incorporating these back-strengthening exercises into your fitness routine.

The first exercise, a bent-over row, is one of many back strengthening exercises you can do at home. This variation of the bent-over row is performed on a stability ball while holding dumbbells.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by sitting on stability ball and holding your dumbbells on the outside of your calves.

Step 2

Slowly lift both weights by bending your elbows up toward the ceiling while squeezing your shoulder blades.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Single Arm Bent-Over Row on Stability Ball

The single-arm bent-over row on a stability ball focuses on each side of the back separately. Add this super back strengthening move to your workout.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by sitting on stability ball and holding your dumbbells on the outside of your calves.

Step 2

Slowly lift one dumbbell by bending your elbow up toward ceiling. Squeeze your shoulder blade toward your spine.

Step 3

Repeat with other arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Single Arm Row with Stability Ball

There are a variety of ways to do a single arm row. In this variation of the back strengthening exercise, one hand is placed on a stability ball.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by placing your right hand on stability ball, right leg forward. Make sure to keep your back straight.

Step 2

Bend elbow up toward ceiling and squeeze your shoulder blade toward your spine.

Step 3

Repeat with left arm (make sure to switch your legs as well).

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Single Arm Row with Resistance Tube

Get a strong, lean back by doing a single arm row with a resistance tube. This back strengthening exercise works each side of the back equally with the same number of repetitions on both the right and left sides.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by placing resistance tube firmly under your left foot. Make sure to keep your back straight and bring your right leg behind you.

Step 2

Hold handle with left hand and bend elbow up toward ceiling by squeezing your shoulder blade toward your spine.

Step 3

Repeat with right arm (make sure to switch your legs as well).

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Seated Row with Resistance Tube

When doing the seated row with a resistance tube, it's important to sit up straight -- to get the most benefit from this back strengthening move and to avoid injuring your back.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by sitting on floor and wrapping tube around feet. Make sure to sit up as straight as possible.

Step 2

Bend at elbows and pull band toward body.

Step 3

Squeeze shoulder blades.

Step 4

Return to start position.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Reverse Fly with Resistance Tube

This variation of the reverse fly uses a resistance tube, so you can do this back strengthening exercise almost anywhere. For best results, do several repetitions.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by wrapping ends of tube around hands.

Step 2

Keeping arms straight, stretch tube out by pulling arms out to sides.

Step 3

Squeeze shoulder blades.

Step 4

Return to start position.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Back Pulldown with Resistance Tube

Good form is critical when doing a back pulldown with a resistance tube. Follow the directions and mimic the photos below -- which show both front and back views -- to properly execute this back strengthening exercise.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by wrapping tube around wrists and holding arms above head.

Step 2

Keeping arms straight, stretch tube out and pull down towards shoulders.

Step 3

Return to start position.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Bent-Knee Plank with Row

Another excellent back strengthening exercise is the bent-knee plank with row. For this move, all you need is a pair of dumbbells.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by holding dumbbells, and supporting body on knees.

Step 2

Lift right elbow up toward ceiling, squeezing shoulder blade toward your spine.

Step 3

Return to start position.

Step 4

Repeat with left arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Bent-Over Row with Body Bar

Here's another effective back strengthening exercise: the bent-over row with a body bar. You can buy a body bar at most sporting goods or fitness stores. Keep your back straight throughout this move to get the best results.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by bending right knee, keep left leg straight.

Step 2

Hold one end of bar, keep other end on floor.

Step 3

Pull bar up toward shoulders by lifting elbow up toward ceiling.

Step 4

Make sure to keep your back straight.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

How to Do a Medicine Ball Pullover with Stability Ball

You'll need both a medicine ball and a stability ball for this variation of the pullover. Do this back strengthening exercise regularly to get the strong, defined back of your dreams.

Step 1

Assume starting position as shown by lying on stability ball with your upper back, neck, and head fully supported.

Step 2

Keep abs contracted, and lift lower body to form a flat surface with your torso.

Step 3

Stretch medicine ball behind head as far as you comfortably can.

Step 4

Return to start position.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check out:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lottie Olson is a nationally certified personal trainer with 10 years of experience in fitness and personal training. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh with a B.S. in Exercise Science and Fitness Management.