Want a stronger back? Of course you do – even if you don’t know it yet.


Building a strong, muscular back will not only help improve your posture naturally but can also help you prevent injuries, both in the gym and in daily life. A strong, well-built back can also help keep non-specific back pain at bay and may even help lessen your risk of developing degenerative back problems as you age.


But how do you know which back exercises are best, especially if you’re new to working out and are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of exercise information available online?


Good news: We’ve taken the guesswork out of the exercise selection process for you! Here are three of the most effective back movements you can perform to increase your muscle mass and strength.

1. Lat Pulldown

This exercise primarily targets your lat muscles (latissimus dorsi), which are large muscles situated in your mid and lower back on both your left and right sides. It also targets your rhomboids and trapezius (which are both back muscles), as well as your posterior deltoids and rotator cuffs (which are shoulder muscles), and your biceps and forearms. 


You can perform a lat pulldown two ways: either with a cable machine at the gym or, if you’re working out at home, with a long resistance band.


If you’re training at the gym, the cable machine should have a diagram that you can follow to perform the movement correctly. And if you’re getting coaching from a personal trainer, your trainer will guide you through the exercise to ensure you perform each rep with good form.

2. Back Extension

This exercise targets your entire posterior chain or, in layman’s terms, the entire backside of your body. By performing this movement, you’ll strengthen and build your back extensors, as well as your glutes (butt muscles) and hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thighs).


To perform this exercise, you should ideally use a back extension (also called hyperextension) machine; however, you can also perform it at home while lying face-down on an exercise ball.

3. Kettlebell Swing

This exercise will strengthen both your posterior chain and your core, which makes it a highly useful tool for improving your posture and helping reduce your risk of gym-induced and everyday injuries.


To perform the kettlebell swing, you should ideally use a kettlebell (no surprise there), but if you only have a heavy dumbbell, that can work, too. Here’s how to do this exercise:


  1. To set up, place your kettlebell or dumbbell a foot or two in front of you and stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.


  1. Bend your knees to lean forward far enough to grasp the handle of the kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands.


  1. While holding the handle, be sure to keep your back flat and your core engaged.


  1. Engage your lat muscles to lift the weight and pull it backward between your legs.


  1. Avoid swinging too far between your legs toward your behind – you want the weight to just pass through your legs before you swing it forward.


  1. Once you’ve swung the weight a short distance backward through your legs, drive your hips forward explosively to pull the weight back through your legs and to the front of your body.


  1. Let the weight swing forward to the height at which it naturally lands (with propulsion from your hips and glutes) or, if you also want to work your arms and shoulders, you can swing the weight up to shoulder height.


  1. Finally, let the weight swing down naturally, so it swings back through your legs, before performing another rep.

Want a Stronger Back? Get Personal Training From Envision Fitness in Hopkins, MN!

If you’re looking to build a stronger back and stronger body as a whole, get in touch with our team at Envision Fitness to discuss your personal training options! We specialize in gym-based training, online and in-person hybrid health coaching, nutritional coaching, athletic coaching, and more.


We’re proud to have cultivated a supportive gym community, and no matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, we’d love to welcome you to our circle!


To learn more about our training options and how we work, feel free to give us a call today at 952-444-2791 or request a free consultation online, and we’ll get in touch to schedule you!