Top 10 Upper back exercises

There are a lot of great Upper Back exercises you can do, and in this blog post, we’re going to share with you our favourites. Whether you’re looking to improve your posture, gain strength or just reduce tension and stress, these exercises will help! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Upper Back Bones

The upper back is made up of the thoracic spine, which comprises the 12 vertebrae in the midsection of your back and is joined to the ribs. The cervical spine is the neck region of your back and consists of the seven vertebrae in your neck.

The Upper back is joined to the lower back by the lumbar spine, which comprises five fused vertebrae.

The Upper Back muscles are connected to the bones of the spine and ribs and allow them to move in all directions.

Upper Back Muscles

The upper back is made up of the following muscles:

– The trapezius extends from the base of the skull to the middle of the back and helps with moving the shoulders

– The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle that runs from the lower back to the upper arm and helps with extending and rotating the arm

– The rhomboid two, which are muscles that run from the spine to the shoulder blade and help with retracting the shoulder blades

– The levator scapulae runs from the cervical spine to the shoulder blade and helps with elevating the shoulder blade

– The erector spinae is a group of muscles that run along the length of the spine and help with extending the spine

Upper Back Range of Motion

Your Upper back has a much greater range of motion than your lower back and can move in the following directions:

– Extension, which is when you arch your back

– Flexion, which is when you round your back

– Lateral flexion, which is when you bend to the side

– Rotation is when you twist your torso

Top 10 Upper Back Exercises

#1 – The Superman

Target muscles: erector spinae

How to:

  • Lie flat on your stomach with arms and legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the ground
  • hold for a few seconds before lowering them back down.

Tip: If this is too difficult, you can start by lifting just your head and chest off the ground.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with one arm, the opposite leg raised, or both arms and legs extended.

#2 – Seated Cable Rows

Target muscles: latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, rhomboids

How to:

  • Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Lean forward slightly and grab the handles of the cable machine with an overhand grip.
  • Keeping your back straight, pull the handles towards you until your hands are next to your stomach.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a single arm or underhand grip.

#3 – Bent Over Barbell Rows

Target muscles: latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, trapezius

How to:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • Hinge at the hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the ground.
  • Keeping your back straight, grab the barbell with an overhand grip.
  • Pull the barbell towards your chest, then lower it back down to the starting position.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a single arm or underhand grip.

#4 – Dumbbell Shrugs

Target muscles: trapezius

How to:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your shoulders down, lift the weights as high as you can towards your ears.
  • Lower the weights back to the starting position.

Tip: Don’t shrug your shoulders as you lift the weights – focus on using your trapezius muscles.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a barbell or kettlebell

Upper Back in contraction

#5 – Pull-Ups

Target muscles: latissimus dorsi, biceps brachii, trapezius

How to:

  • Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip; your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Hang from the bar with your feet off the ground.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lift your legs until your thighs parallel the floor.
  • Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a band or using assisted pull-ups machine.

#6 -Chin-Ups,

Chin-ups are a variation of pull-ups that work the same muscles

Target muscles: biceps brachii, latissimus dorsi, trapezius

How to:

  1. Grab the chin-up bar with an underhand grip; your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your feet off the ground.
  3. Keeping your core engaged, lift your legs until your thighs parallel the floor.
  4. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a band or using assisted chin-ups machine.

#7 – Lat Pulldowns

Target muscles: latissimus dorsi, biceps brachii

How to:

  • Sit on the lat pulldown machine and grab the bar with an overhand grip; your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your core engaged, pull the bar down towards your chest.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Tip: Don’t use your biceps to pull the bar down – use your latissimus dorsi muscles.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a single arm or underhand grip.

#8 – Reverse Flys

Target muscles: posterior deltoid, middle trapezius, rhomboids

How to:

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge at the hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the ground.
  • Keeping your back straight, let the dumbbells hang down in front of you.
  • Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, lift the dumbbells out to the side until they’re level with your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tip: Don’t arch your back as you lift the weights – focus on using your shoulder muscles.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with a single arm or cable machine.

#9 – Push-ups

Target muscles: pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii

How to:

  • Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your core engaged, slowly lower your body towards the ground.
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Variations: You can also do this exercise with your feet elevated, or your hands elevated on a bench.

You can also do this exercise with a medicine ball.

#10 – Plank

Target muscles: transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, external oblique

How to:

  • Start in a push-up position with your feet together.
  • Keeping your core engaged, slowly lower your body towards the ground.
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Top 5 Causes of Upper back injuries

The upper back can be prone to injuries if not treated properly. Some of the most common injuries include:

– Strained muscles

– Herniated discs

– Pinched nerves

– Fractured vertebrae

– Arthritis

How to Stretch the Upper Back

The upper back can be difficult to stretch, but these exercises can help improve flexibility and range of motion.

– Foam rolling: Place a foam roller under your upper back and roll up and down slowly.

– Chest openers: Place your hands on a wall and step forward, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.

– Shoulder shrugs: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your shoulders up to your ears, then release.

– Cat/cow pose: Start on your hands and knees, then arch your back up like a cat, then drop your head and round your spine like a cow. Repeat.

– Camel pose: Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your hands on the heels of your feet and push yourself up so that you’re standing.

– Triangle pose: Stand with your feet three feet apart, turn your right foot out 90 degrees and extend your left arm straight up.

– Extended Triangle pose: From the triangle pose, reach your left hand towards the ground and place it on the inside of your left ankle.

Conclusion

The Upper back is an integral part of the body, and it’s essential to take care of it by including proper exercises in your routine. The above exercises will help you stay healthy and injury-free. Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. I’ll answer as soon as possible. Have a great day!

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