Single-Arm Dumbbell Row: To start this exercise, you need one dumbbell and a flat bench. Place one leg on the bench (the opposite of the arm you will start with). Bend your upper body over the bench until it is parallel and use your other hand as support. Hold the dumbbell in one hand with your palm facing inwards. Pull the dumbbell up towards your torso while keeping your body still and upper arm pulled in close. Stop when the upper part of your arm is in line with your body, pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
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Wide-Grip Lat Pull-down: Using the pull-down machine, attach the wide bar at the highest level and adjust the knee pads to your height. Grab the bar with your palms facing out and arms stretched as far as you can (wider than shoulders-width). Sit and lean your torso back about 30 to 40-degrees to get in starting position. Pull the bar down until it touches your upper chest while concentrating on squeezing your back muscles. (Your back should be doing most of the work, not your arms). Pause for a second, then slowly return back to the starting position.
Seated Cable Row: You will the pulley row machine and V-bar for this exercise. Start by sitting down with your feet shoulders-width apart on the platform, knees slightly bent, your hands holding the V-bar so that your palms face each other, and your arms extended. Pull the handles back towards your body until your hands touch your midsection. Keep your arms in and squeeze your back muscles as much as possible. Hold for a second, then slowly return to the starting position.
For a different variation, you can also use wide bar as with the lat pull-down.
Close-Grip Pull-down: This exercise is kind of like a hybrid of the previous two. On the pull-down machine, attach the V-bar at the highest level and adjust the knee pads. Grab the bar with your palms facing each other, sit, and lean back about 30 to 40-degrees to get into starting position. Pull the bar down until it reaches your chest, pause and hold, then slowly release back to start. The slower you go on the release, the more effective this exercise will be. (I like to count to ten).
I found this video very interesting because it discusses the difference between working your upper and lower back, so if you’re interested too, check it out!
Bent-Over Barbell Row: Start this exercise by holding a barbell a little wider than shoulders-width apart and your palms facing down. Keeps your knees slightly bent and bend at the torso until your upper body is at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your torso still and your back straight and lift the barbell up towards you by pushing the elbows backwards. Lift the barbell until it touches your midsection, then pause and squeeze your back as much as possible. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
I love to work my back on the same day as my shoulders, so be sure to check out my favorite exercises here!