Fitness Tips & Workout Tips

Why Back Training Is So Important To Your Health

Back Training Is So Important To Your Health

A trained back improves posture and prevents back pain. We’ll show you exercises that you can do at home

A healthy body is characterized by one thing in particular: good posture. The development of the back muscles plays an extremely relevant role. Here we clarify the most important questions about back training.

Why is back training so important?

“Most back problems and pains can be traced back to weak muscles,” says personal trainer Luisa-Maxime Huss from Gottingen. A small upper body with rounded shoulders and large breasts in particular weakens the stabilizers of the middle back, especially since the upper body center of gravity is generally more in front of the spine in women than in men.

“In addition, there are also stresses such as carrying handbags and high shoes, which promotes back pain,” says sports and physiotherapist Olivia Walus from Cologne.

A consequence of such stress: women have to tense the back muscles more to avoid tilting the upper body forward. “A well-trained back muscles are therefore particularly important for women in order to compensate for the imbalance in the upper body,” says Huss.

Which muscles should I train during a back workout?

First, you should be aware of which muscles in the back are responsible for what exactly. Experts differentiate between 2 different types of muscles in the back – the superficial and the deep muscles:

01 – Superficial back muscles

Superficial back muscles are all back muscles that can be seen from the outside. They move and shape the back. They include the trapezius muscle in the neck area, the broad back muscle latissimus, and the back extensor.

There are also smaller superficial back muscles such as the posterior deltoid muscle of the shoulder or the small and large round muscle, which lie laterally below the deltoid muscle. The surface muscles are trained through muscle building, strength or endurance training.

02 – Lower back muscles

The deep back muscles are located below the surface muscles and are therefore not directly visible in their development during training, but they do have important functions. “The deep muscles are essential for the stability and flexion of the spine,” explains trainer Huss. “ The main functions are the stretching or straightening of the body and sideways tilt and rotation of the spine.”

The deep muscles are trained primarily through complex exercises in which you activate many muscles and by varying the exercises, i.e. doing them standing up, lying down and one-legged. “It is best to start with static holding exercises such as the forearm support. Once you have mastered them, you can strengthen your entire core muscles by moving your arms and legs,” explains sports therapist Walus.


Which exercises are part of back training?

Complex and functional exercises are part of your plan for a strong and healthy back. This is how you train both types of muscles: surface and deep muscles. In addition, the more complex the exercise, the more muscles, and joints are involved.

The 3 most important basic exercises for back training

01 – Deadlift

Deadlifts are particularly complex but, if done correctly, ruthlessly effective.

The exercise, also known as the deadlift, has two main advantages: “On the one hand, you not only train the back, but the entire posterior side, i.e. all muscles that can be involved in pulling movements: upper and lower back, trapezius muscles, and hamstrings even the bottom, “explains Wales.” On the other hand, you can move a lot more weight with the barbell than with dumbbells or kettlebells.”


But be careful with heavy weights: for effective deadlifts, you have to keep your back straight throughout the movement. If you can’t do that, you should reduce the weight and practice the technique until it sits.

This is how it works: Tense your back in the deep position and concentrate on mobilizing the strength of the back muscles. Important: With difficult exercises, you have to create a so-called blockage.

Remember this rule of three: Take a deep breath before lifting the dumbbell – your chest will be inflated like a balloon. Also, tense the stomach – this prevents the upper body from tilting forward. And be careful not to bend your lumbar spine – a must to prevent herniated discs.

02 – Rowing

Another effective exercise for the entire back is rowing. No, not necessarily in the boat! When rowing with weights, the broad back, the back shoulder, and the trapezius muscles are particularly stressed.

Regardless of whether you row with the barbell, 2 dumbbells, or on the cable pull – your back always stays straight. In addition, you should always pull the weight in a controlled manner with the force of your back towards the navel. You should always use the entire range of motion.

Important: tearing is taboo.


Regardless of whether you are rowing on one or both sides, your back must be straight

Tip from expert Huss: “One-armed rowing is good for balancing out muscular imbalances and thereby making exercises with both arms stronger.”

The small psychological trick for rowing: Imagine you want to crack a walnut with your middle back: Pull your back muscles together at the endpoint of the rowing movement and hold this moment briefly at maximum contraction. In this way, the hard-to-reach middle of the back receives an optimal training stimulus.

03 – Pull-ups

While most women have trouble doing a pull-up, that’s no reason to forego this top exercise entirely. On the contrary: by approaching your aids, you get closer and closer to the perfect pull-up.


Many gyms offer appropriate equipment with a supportive platform on which you can rest your knees. Alternatively, there are also resistance bands that you can attach to a pull-up bar and the loop of which you can also put your knees or feet. Or you start from an elevation so that you can pull yourself up with the help of a jump on the bar.

This way you overcome the power-intensive concentric phase and can fully focus on the draining, eccentric movement – this is also how you get closer to the first pull-up.

So, get on with the pull-ups, because they not only train your back but also your biceps. Important: “You should always pull yourself to the bar with your chest and use the full range of motion, in other words: downwards full-extension, upwards your chin up over the bar,” says expert Huss.

Depending on which grip and how wide your grip, the arms, or the back are more demanding. If you grip the bar roughly tight (less than shoulder width) from below, your biceps must give full power. If, on the other hand, you grip the bar a little more than shoulder-width in the overhand grip, you hit the upper back muscles more strongly. Try the different variants, it’s worth it.

Back Training at Home

To work out your back, you don’t necessarily need a gym. Ultimately, you don’t even need dumbbells or equipment. There are also effective back exercises with your own bodyweight: upper body lift on the floor, forearm support, diagonal support, rowing.

Huss says, “You can do rowing exercises with a resistance band or by using a broomstick as a barbell. Tense your entire body and pull your belly button inwards.”

Training plan: back training for women

For training beginners, it is sufficient for the first few weeks to do 1 to 2 back exercises 2 days a week – for example with their own body weight. Or you can dare to do a light deadlift first to learn technique and get a feel for back training.

“Back training should be an integral part of the full-body plan for beginners. Two back exercises per training unit are sufficient, “says trainer Huss.

If you already have training experience, you should adapt the back training to your level. Basically, a maximum of 3 back exercises of 2 to 3 sets per workout are sufficient.

If you train your whole body about twice a week, you can incorporate complex back exercises into your training plan. Suggestion: Deadlifts and pull-ups in the first session, deadlifts and rows in the second session.

If you divide your training according to muscle groups, you can train your entire rear muscle chain in one training session: back, buttocks, hamstrings and calves. Deadlifts and bent-over rows with the barbell are ideal exercises for this.

In addition, you should supplement the training of the surface muscles with exercises for the deep muscles.

According to a study in the US science magazine Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, subjects who trained their deep muscles through balance training had better posture control after a month.

Especially with back problems or poor posture, the training of the deep muscles should be an integral part of the back training.

How many reps should I do in back training?

In principle, the hierarchy applies technology over scope over intensity. Therefore, always choose a weight that you can move cleanly at least 8 to 10 repetitions. Also, make sure you hit the target muscles with each rep.

As soon as the technique is in place and you are controlling the muscles correctly during training, you can start thinking about the number of repetitions.

Heavy exercises like deadlifts and rows can also be trained in the low range of 5 to 10 reps for maximum strength gain. In general, however, when doing back exercises it is worthwhile not to train too hard, as you lose the feeling for the target muscles so quickly and the technique suffers.

What other sports are good for your back?

For back training, however, it doesn’t have to be weight training. “Dancing, rowing, swimming, yoga or gymnastics are great sports to train your back without weights,” says sports therapist Wales.

Rowing on the rowing ergometer, for example, requires little previous knowledge and is both cardiovascular and back training. In addition, rowing on the ergometer is a joint-friendly exercise – ideal for regeneration and rehabilitation.

Swimming is even easier on the joints. Movement in the water, however, requires a higher degree of exercise than other endurance sports, which is why inexperienced swimmers tire faster.

Trainer Huss adds: “Pilates is also a good way to mobilize the back of the spine.” It is best to combine sports such as Pilates, yoga, or swimming with appropriate strength training – the ideal combination for a healthy, strong back.

From a health point of view, a well-trained back can delight. Regardless of whether you train your back with specific exercises or practice a back-friendly sport: You will only benefit from strengthened back muscles. And with our tips, you can get started right away.

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Fitness Tips & Workout Tips