Here’s what you need to know: without a strong back you cannot perform exercises such as the bench press, deadlifts, and squats. You also cannot perform mundane tasks such as lifting furniture and cleaning your house. Long story short, you rely on your back a lot because it stabilises your shoulder joints. This, in turn, allows you to lift hard and heavy. The bottom line? Never take your back for granted! Do what you can to make it stronger!

Not sure where to begin? These 5 barbell exercises for a stronger back might just be what you need.

  1. Front squat

If you want to add variety to your workouts, try the front squat. Trust me, this exercise packs a wallop and then some!

Front squats work your upper back muscles because they need to work harder to maintain the proper form. You need to straighten your back and keep your upper arms parallel to the ground as you execute the movement. Otherwise, you’ll tip your upper body forward, which is a no-no.

Aside from strengthening your upper back, front squats also help improve your flexibility and lifting technique whenever you execute similar squatting exercises.

 How to do it:

  1. Lift the bar off a squat rack and place it on your deltoids. Grip the bar with your arms crossed in front of your chest.
  2. Lower your body as you would in a regular squats exercise. Make sure your hamstrings are parallel to the floor when you reach full extension. Maintain a straight posture and brace your core throughout the movement.
  3. Lift yourself up to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions.
  1. Deadlift

The deadlift is a classic compound exercise: it hits just about every muscle group except your chest and arms. As for your back, the deadlift works your trapezius (commonly known as traps in bodybuilding lingo) muscles, which extend from the base of your neck all the way to your upper back. This exercise also targets your lats (the v-shaped muscles which connect your arms to your vertebrae). So, if you want prominent traps and lats, deadlifts are the way to go!

Here’s another reason why you should add deadlifts to your workout: they trigger a heap of muscle-building testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH)! These will not only help you build more muscle but also help you lean out, improve your mood, and boost your immunity. Plus, regular deadlifts translate to a stronger (and I mean stronger) grip. Not bad at all, if you ask me!

How to do it:

  1. Place the barbell directly over the middle of your feet.
  2. Assume a shoulder-width position with your legs. You can either position your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Choose what works best for you.
  3. Bend your hips and hold the barbell with an overhand grip with your left hand and an underhand grip with your right hand.
  4. Before you execute your first rep, make sure your shins touch the bar.
  5. Place your thighs above your knees in a half squat position.
  6. Inhale as you lift the bar off the ground whilst keeping it close to your shins. Maintain a straight back (looking forward and engaging your lats will help) and brace your core as you lift.
  7. Thrust your hips forward once you reach a standing position. Maintain this position for 1 to 2 seconds.
  8. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position whilst maintaining a straight back. Exhale as you lower the barbell to the ground. Repeat to the desired number of reps.
  1. Bent-Over Overhand Barbell Row

Bent-over overhand barbell rows are a great way of firing up your lats, rhomboids, back deltoids, and middle back, thanks to the rowing movements involved. Aside from its back-muscle-building benefits, this exercise helps increase overall strength and reinforce proper hip flexion.

Whilst the overhand grip helps you handle greater resistance, make sure you don’t go overboard. Doing too much too soon can result in an injury and consequently impede your progress.

How to do it:

  1. Hold the barbell with an overhand grip. Your arms should be placed slightly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your legs as you slowly bend your upper body forward until it is almost parallel to the floor. At this point, place the barbell in front of your shins. Maintain a straight back throughout the movement.
  3. Lift the barbell into the lower portion of your chest. Squeeze your upper back at the top of the movement.
  4. Pause for 1 to 2 seconds, then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. Repeat to the desired number of reps.
  1. Bent-Over Underhand Barbell Row

The bent-over underhand barbell row is another great exercise for your back muscles, particularly your lats, traps, and deltoids. However, with the underhand grip, you place greater emphasis on your rhomboids, biceps, and shoulder blade muscles.

Just like its overhand grip counterpart, the bent-over underhand barbell row helps strengthen your back muscles, which you may compromise especially if you spend long hours sitting in front of your computer. If this applies to you, I suggest incorporating this exercise into your regular fitness routine.

How to do it:

  1. Hold the barbell with an underhand grip, your hands placed shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your legs whilst you bend your upper body forward. Your torso should be parallel to the floor and the barbell in front of your shins as you reach the peak of the movement. Maintain a straight back throughout.
  3. Lift the barbell into your lower chest. Squeeze the upper back at the top of the movement.
  4. Pause for 1 to seconds. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. Repeat to the desired number of reps.
  1. Standing T-Bar Row

What makes the standing t-bar row so great, you ask? Well, it’s a compound exercise which fires up a multitude of your back muscles. These include your posterior deltoids, infraspinatus, Pectoralis major, Tere minor, Teres major, brachialis, trapezius, and Latissimus dorsi. Pretty impressive, if you ask me!

I’m telling you, the standing t-bar row is a great variation from the usual dumbbell rows which so many blokes do at the gym. Not that it’s wrong or anything like that, mind you. Here’s my point: there’s more to life than just dumbbell rows and seated cable rows. Variety is a spice of life, and this one is a great option for those looking for it!

How to do it:

  1. Secure one end of the barbell bar to a landmine station or corner of your gym. Place the desired number of barbell plates on the other end. I repeat: never go overboard if you’re not accustomed to the resistance. Otherwise, you’ll pay a hefty price!
  2. Place a t-bar row handle under the bar as close to the barbell plates as possible. At this point, you should place your legs between the bar with your knees bent and feet placed shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grip the t-bar row handle with both hands. Bend your elbows slightly and keep them close to your sides. Maintain a straight back as you pull the bar up to your chest.
  4. Squeeze your back firmly and brace your core as you reach the top of the movement. Hold the position for 1 to 2 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower the bar to the starting position. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions.
Author's Bio: