Back Hacks & Back Exercises to Get Defined Fast
Back strength and definition doesn’t just define how you look, it also defines how you lift, which can impact results. The back can be the most challenging parts of the body to master. Long strong muscle pops, exploding lats, extruding traps, an erected erector spinae.
Ooooh, it’s the only thing that can reverse a gym selfie: a marvelously defined back.
But it’s tough to get. Besides being such a large group comprised of both deep and superficial muscles, a lot of people miss the mark when it comes to exercise type and grip to really bring their back to life.
So, we’re bringing you the back hacks and the back exercises to get your back in line, defined and lookin’ fine shirtless.
Knowing what muscles make up your target can help you visualize exercises, improve form and results. Briefly, here are your targeted back parts:
Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
This is the big one—these extend the length of your back and provide that ‘V” shape. You use them for a lot of movements, but you can really feel them when you pull your arms downward from overhead.
Rhomboideus Major/Minor (Rhomboids)
Runs down your spine. You use them to squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Teres Major & Minor (Teres)
Located underneath the shoulder blade, you use them to pull your arms back.
They look like braids on your lower back. They support the spinal column.
Your wide triangular muscle extending from bottom of the neck and into your back. You use it to raise your shoulders (and turn your head).
Ok, now we’re starting out on a foundation of knowledge. That is the launching pad to success.
Let’s get to the hack:
Back Hacks to Use When Training Your Back
Back Hack: GRIP
On exercises with a pulling motion (like bars) it’s ALL ABOUT GRIP. Grip drives a lot of results and can kill them, too. Don’t ever grip like you’re holding a banana. Grip like you’re cupping the bar, not holding it. Like your hands are hooks. That way you activate your back muscles completely rather than allowing your hands and arms to help with the weight.
Back Hack: SQUEEZE & FREEZE
You can really up the ante on your exercises and improve strength and definition more quickly by squeezing at the end of each set for 10 seconds, and/or squeezing for 3 seconds on each rep.
Back Hack: MIND 2 MUSCLE
Knowing where the muscles are is key to this hack. We tend to lose focus at the gym, sometimes we go through the motions just to get the routine done. This mindset can cut the top off your mountain, leaving you with a plateau. When lifting, VISUALIZE the muscle contracting. Visualize it pulling, pushing, squeezing. It’s putting your mind to the muscle. This generates focus so you can have controlled movements that target the right muscles and the desired results.
Back Exercises that Define Your Muscles
1. Wide Grip Pull-Up
Targeting Lats and Teres, it works your whole back.
This is a classic and it’s necessary for a cut back. Control your assent, squeeze at the top for 3 seconds and control your release.
2. Barbell Deadlift
Targeting whole back.Keep your back flat and straight. Remember your hands should cup the bar-more like hooks as you rise up and control your dissent.
3. Bent-Over Barbell Deadlift
Targeting Lats and Teres, it also works obliques.
Again, keep your back flat and straight. Hook the bar with your hands as you pull the bar upward and squeeze. Control your movements as
4. Renegade Dumbbell Row
Targeting Lats and Teres, it works your whole back and core. Getting in a push-up position with your dumbbells, with one arm at a time, pull back and squeeze.
5. Lat Pull Down
Targeting Lats and Teres, it works your whole back. Hook your hands. Mind to muscle. Squeeze at each rep and between sets.
6. Wide-Grip Seated Cable Row
Targeting Rhomboids and Traps. Control your movements as you pull back and squeeze.
7. Dryland Swimming (Superman)
Targeting Erector Spinae, it works the lower back. Lie on stomach. Raise legs and arms off the ground. Squeeze and hold. Move legs and arms like you’re swimming on dry land. Keep limbs off the ground.
There you go. The top back exercises that target all parts of the back. Now, the exercises aren’t magic–what drives results is how much you put into form and movement. Use the hacks, attack your back. You got this.
You got your brain buff on the blog–now go ahead and reverse that selfie.
Need more help getting results? Go here.