Back Strength Exercises: a Powerful Back Superset
Effective back strength exercises help build a strong back and add definition to the shoulders, but they also provide a wide range of additional benefits for a healthy body. A powerful back means straight posture and excellent spinal alignment, and it also means a wide open chest, better breathing and better oxygen intake. Both of these things—good posture and expansion in the chest—bring a cascade of positive benefits that not only lead to a strong body, but also increase the impact of workouts for every other muscle group.
To build a powerful back, athletes and non-athletes at all fitness levels can start by leveraging their own body weight using the KB Duo suspension training system. Targeted suspension training relies on simple biomechanical principles to create a total workout that relies on only a few lightweight, portable straps and the user’s own body. To complete this strength-building superset, users can simply find some open floor space, attach the straps to a sturdy overhead anchor point, and get started.
Back Strength Exercises: Rows
Once the KB Duo is attached in place and the straps have been adjusted so the handles hang down to about the level of the mid torso, users can start this superset of back strength exercises by holding a handle in each hand and stepping back from the anchor point until the straps are tight.
The feet can then step forward until the body is angled backward and fully supported by the straps. For this exercise, the more angled the body, the more pressure will be placed on the back and the more difficult the exercise will be. Users can feel free to angle the plane of the body as much as they like, but no matter how steep the angle, the back should still be straight.
When in position, the user can bend the arms at the elbow, pull the handles toward the chest, and lift the body upright in a strong rowing motion. Ideally, the user should reach the point of failure between eight and twelve reps of this move. If the move is too easy or too hard (meaning failure comes too quickly or has not happened by rep 12), that means the angle of the body is too slanted or too upright.
Back Strength Exercises: Technique for Rows
During the row, the stomach should kept in alignment with the rest of the spine and should never lead the body forward into the lifting motion. In fact, it’s okay to push the hips back a bit as if the body is sitting in a chair. The straighter the spine during this move, the more the pressure of the lift will be concentrated in the muscles of the upper back and shoulder blades. Again, if the move feels too easy, the feet should walk forward until the move becomes so difficult that failure happens within 12 reps. With both of these powerful back exercises, the secret to success lies in failure; if the failure doesn’t take place, the move won’t be as effective.
After reaching the point of failure, users should let go of the straps and rest the muscles of the arms and back for a full minute to a minute and a half. Stretching can be a good idea during this time. Keeping the elbow straight and pulling each arm flat across the chest can help stretch the muscle fibers of the back and arms and encourage blood flow. So can raising the arm straight up and pulling it toward the body for a few seconds.
Back Strength Exercises: Reverse Flies
After a suitable rest period and a few stretches, the second of these two powerful back exercises can begin. The next move in this superset is called a reverse fly, and it begins in a similar position. The user holds a handle in each hand and steps back from the anchor point until his weight is supported by the straps. In this move, the feet will be slightly further from the anchor point and the body will be slightly more upright, but as in the last move, more advanced athletes will want to slant a little more to get more out of the move.
In this second back strength exercise, the arms stay straight at the elbow and instead of pulling the handles toward the chest, the user pulls them out toward the sides. The pressure of both of these moves should be felt in the shoulder blades. At the height of the lift, the user should actually think about the shoulder blades in order to keep the tension in the right place. If this doesn’t happen, the tension can move forward and the chest can roll inward, which misaligns the body and makes the move less effective.
Back Strength Exercises: Technique for Effective Reverse Flies
As with the rows, the user should complete this move to the point of failure, which should happen between 15 and 30 reps. During every rep from beginning to end, the back should stay straight and the stomach should not come forward. The wrists should also stay straight. If the wrists begin to bend, the tension of the move tends to move toward the forearms, which doesn’t help to build strength in the back.
Also, as this exercise continues, the body will want to pause and rest at the peak of the lift, but this shouldn’t happen. At the top of the lift when the arms are wide, the user should pause for briefly and check the tension to make sure it feels strong in the back. If the body comes too far into an upright position and rests there, the tension will dissipate and failure won’t happen as fast.
Powerful Back Exercises: Final Notes
This entire superset of back strength exercises should include four total rounds of one set of rows followed by a set of reverse flies. With the lightweight, portable KB Duo, these exercises can be completed almost anywhere, and can become a regular part of any effective strength training workout plan. For more information on how the KB Duo works and how to get the most out of this simple but powerful training tool, check out the training tab towards the top of the web site.