15 Best Upper Back Exercises For Muscle Building

Many of us want to have a bigger and muscular back. But to have desired back we have to train each and every part of our back muscles with proper stretch. The upper back muscles are primary back muscles that are quite necessary to train. If you are having neck pain then also upper back exercises are important for you.

In this program, we are going to analyze the 15 best upper back exercises that will help in muscle building. These exercises are really effective and will help you in training your upper back muscles effectively. It also helps in curing back or neck pain. Let’s get started with this upper back program.

Checkout which Workout Split is best for you.

Best Upper Back Workout Program

Best Upper Back Exercises For Muscle Building

  • Face Pull
  • Band Bent-Over Row
  • Renegade Row
  • Dumbbell Single Arm Row
  • Inverted Row
  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Alternating Row
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Pullups
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Neck Side Bend Rotation
  • Shoulder Roll
  • Child’s Pose
  • Cat-Cow
  • Scapular Squeeze

Let’s know about each back workout in brief.

Face Pull

face pull

An effective exercise to train your back muscles. Face pull directly targets your upper back and shoulder muscles. Use a resistance band to perform this back exercise more effectively. Beginners should focus on their posture. Here is a quick tutorial to do this workout.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back and shoulder muscles.

How to do

  • Fix a resistance band to a stable wall or pole at your eye level.
  • Grab each side of the band with an underhand grip.
  • Now pull the band directly towards your face by squeezing your shoulders together.
  • Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.

Complete 2 to 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps each.

Band Bent-Over Row

resistance band bent over rowJPG

This exercise is best for improving your posture. If you are working on your back muscles then this light resistance exercise is beneficial for you. Band bent-over row directly hit your upper and middle back muscles. Perform this back exercise slowly to make it more effective. Look at its quick tutorial.

A resistance band back workout program is one of the best ways to get a bigger and stronger back.

Muscle Targeted- Upper and middle back muscles.

How to do

  • Grab a resistance band and stuck it to the ground by placing your feet over it.
  • Hinge out your hips, bend your knees and make your back straight.
  • Keep your hands to the sides. Now pull the band up by squeezing your back muscles.
  • Pause at the top for a second and then return back to the initial position. Your one rep is completed.

Complete 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

Renegade Row

Renegade rows

Renegade row is about maximizing your muscular strength. It directly hits your upper and middle back muscles. Performing dumbbell reps in the pushup form is one of the best ways to isolate your back muscles. If you are a beginner then perform this exercise with a lower weight. Here is a full tutorial of this back exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper and middle back muscles.

How to do

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie down in the pushup position.
  • Now lift the right dumbbell with your lats to the chest height.
  • Pause and return the weight back to the ground. Repeat the same with another hand.

Complete 10 to 12 reps of 2 sets each.

Dumbbell Single Arm Row

single arm dumbbell row

One of the best classic moves to isolate your back muscles. Dumbbell single-arm row is a favorite workout of the powerlifters. It targets your upper and middle back muscles effectively. To build muscular strength perform more reps with light weights. It allows you to work on both sides separately. here is a quick tutorial for this back exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper and middle back muscles.

How to do

You will need a flat bench to perform this workout.

  • Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and rest the same side leg on the bench.
  • Hinge out your hips and keep your back straight. Make your right hand freely.
  • Now raise the dumbbell up to the top by bending your elbows. Feel the stretch on your back muscles and return back to the starting position.

Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

Inverted Row

inverted row

The easiest movement to train your back muscles more effectively. The inverted row is quite similar to the pullup. This is a killer move that directly hits your upper back muscles. If you are a beginner, try to make a perfect form during the workout. Here is a quick tutorial of this upper back exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back muscles.

How to do

  • Adjust a bar at your hip level on a power rack.
  • Lower down your body to the bar and grab the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Extend your legs completely to the ground.
  • Now lift your chest up to the bar by keeping your back straight.
  • Wait for a second and then return back to the start.

Complete 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

upper back exercises

Another effective upper back dumbbell exercises with dumbbell. The bent-over dumbbell row directly isolates your upper back muscles. It helps in building strength and improving posture. Beginners should focus on their posture while performing this exercise. Have a look at the quick tutorial of this exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back muscles.

How to do

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells in your hands and hinge out your hips.
  • Bend your knees and lower your torso such that it is parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Now, lift the right dumbbell to your side and feel the stretch on your back muscles.
  • Pause and return back to the starting position. Repeat the same with another hand.

Complete 2 to 3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps with each hand.

Seated Cable Row

seated cable row

Seated cable row is a well known upper back exercise. It isolates your upper back muscles more effectively and helps in building v shape back. So if you are a beginner and want to shape your back muscles then this workout is best for you. Perform slow reps to make this exercise more effective.

Muscle Targeted- Upper, middle back, and lats muscles.

How to do

You need a seated cable extension to perform this exercise.

  • Attach a bar to a cable extension machine and sit down.
  • Grab a bar with an underhand grip and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your back straight and pull the bar towards your upper core.
  • Pause and feel the stretch on your back muscles. Release the bar back to the starting position.

Complete 2 to 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps each.

Pullups

Wide grip pullups

We all know about the advantages of pullup exercise. One of the major advantages is that it isolates your upper back muscles and helps in building muscular strength. Beginners may face some difficulty while performing this exercise. If you want to build a V-shape torso then this exercise is beneficial for you. Have a look at how to do this exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back muscles.

How to do

  • Hang on the pullup bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Now pull up your chest towards the bar and feel the stretch on your back muscles.
  • Stop and return back to the starting position.

Complete 2 sets of 5 to 8 reps each.

Lat Pulldown

lat pulldowns

To get a bigger back you must have to train your back muscles more effectively. Lat pulldown is one of the best exercises that directly train your upper, middle back, and lats muscles. It helps in increasing your pulling and muscular strength. Beginners should perform more reps with low weight. Here is a quick tutorial for this upper back workout.

Muscle Targeted- Upper, middle back, and lats muscles.

How to do

  • Sit down at a lat pulldown machine and grab a bar shoulder-width apart with an underhand grip.
  • Keep your back straight and feet stuck on the floor.
  • Now pull down the bar to your chest without moving your torso.
  • Stop and stretch your back muscles. Your one rep is completed.

Complete 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps each with proper rest.

Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swings

To improve your posture and strength of back muscles Kettlebell swings are the ultimate exercise. It directly hits your upper back and core muscles. Perform more reps with a lower weight to make this exercise more effective. Both beginners and professionals can easily perform this exercise. Here is a 1 min tutorial of this back workout.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back, and core muscles.

How to do

  • Keep the kettlebell on the ground in front of you.
  • Hinge your hips and bend your knees with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Tight your core and keep your back straight.
  • Now pull the weight between your knees and swing it to the top using your traps and arms muscles.
  • Don’t swing the weight above your shoulder level. Return back to the starting position.

Complete 3 sets of 12, 10 reps each.

Neck Side Bend Rotation

neck side bend rotation

Neck side bend rotation is a no equipment upper back exercise. It helps you target your upper back and shoulder muscles. If you are suffering from a neck pain problem then this workout is really beneficial for you. Perform maximum reps to make this exercise more effective. Here is the right tutorial for this exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back and shoulder muscles.

How to do

  • Stand straight, facing forward with your hands on the sides.
  • Now tilt your neck to the right side such that you will feel a stretch on your shoulder muscle.
  • Slowly rotate your head in a clockwise direction and pause when you reach the left shoulder.
  • Return back to the starting point by rolling back. Your one rep is completed

Complete 2 sets of this exercise.

Shoulder Roll

upper back exercises

Another effective at-home exercise to train your back muscles easily and effectively. Shoulder roll isolates your upper back and shoulder muscles. It also helps in increasing mobility and improving posture. This easy exercise also cures back or neck pain. Here is a short tutorial for this exercise.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back and shoulder muscles.

How to do

  • Stand straight with your arms on your sides.
  • Now slowly roll your shoulders circularly backward and complete at least 4 to 5 rotations.
  • Switch the direction to forward and repeat the same rotations.

Repeat this exercise 2 times.

Child’s Pose

child pose

Childs pose is another effective exercise that helps in improving posture and back pain. It usually targets your upper and middle back muscles. Also, helps in building muscular strength and endurance. Try this quick tutorial of this back workout.

Muscle Targeted- Upper and middle back muscles.

How to do

  • Get down on the ground on all fours.
  • Bend your knees and sit your butt back on your feet.
  • Spread your hands forward and rest your palms on the ground.
  • Now keep your back straight and touch your head down on the ground.

Hold this position for at least 15 seconds.

Cat-Cow

Cat Cow Stretch

Cat cow helps strengthen your back muscles with more stretch. It improves your body posture and cures back pain. Beginners, as well as professionals, should try this upper back exercise to stretch their back muscles more effectively. Here is a short tutorial of this workout.

Muscle Targeted- Upper back muscles.

How to do

  • Get down on the ground on your hands and knees making a cat position.
  • Keep your palms under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Now round up your middle back as much as you can. Breathe and return back to the neutral position.
  • Repeat this step for 2 to 3 seconds.

Complete this exercise 2 times.

Scapular Squeeze

scapular squeeze

Scapular squeeze targets your upper and middle back muscles. This no-equipment exercise will prevent minor injury during heavy workouts. Also, helps in muscle building. Have a look at its tutorial.

Muscle Targeted- Upper and middle back muscles.

How to do

  • Stand straight with your hands on the sides.
  • Now squeeze your shoulder blades together and clasp them for 10 seconds.
  • Return back to the normal position and repeat.

Repeat the above steps 4 to 5 times.


How Can I Train Upper Back at Home

To train your upper back muscles at home you can follow the no-equipment exercises mentioned above. Also, if you have a dumbbell then go for dumbbell exercises also. Here are some best upper back home exercises.

  • Pullup
  • Cat-Cow
  • Inverted Row
  • Shoulder Roll
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Dumbbell Row
  • Neck Side Bend Rotation

What is the best exercise for upper back pain?

There are many exercises that will help you in avoiding back pain. Here are some effective ones that you should follow.

  • Child’s Pose
  • Cat-Cow
  • Shoulder Roll
  • Neck Side Bend Rotations
  • Scapular Squeeze

How Can I Make Upper Back Wider?

To make your back muscles wider and bigger follow these effective back exercises.

  • Dumbbell Single Arm Row
  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Bent-Over Row
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Inverted Row
  • Wide Pull-Ups

Stretch Before Performing Upper Back Exercises

Before doing any exercises you must stretch your muscles which helps in increasing blood flow and mobility. It also prevents injuries during the workout. Perform low-intensity back exercises or follow the back stretches to start your workout.

You can also try some quick exercises for stretching your muscles.

  • Pullups
  • Shoulder Roll
  • Scapular Squeeze
  • Neck Side Bend Rotation
  • Superman Stretch
  • Pec Stretch

Benefits of Upper Back Exercises

  • Stability

Stability is really necessary for high-intensity workouts. Training your upper back muscles helps you in improving the stability and mobility of your body.

  • Builds Strength

Training your upper back muscles also helps in increasing your muscular strength and makes you more powerful.

  • Prevents Injuries

It increases the blood flow of muscles and helps in preventing injuries during heavy workouts.

  • Improves Neck or Back Pain

Neck or back pain is really terrible. These upper back exercises also help in improving neck pain and stretch muscles.

  • Improves Postures

Proper form is really necessary for bodybuilding. Performing these exercises helps you in improving your body posture and form during the workout.

  • At-Home Exercises

Most of the upper back exercises do not need any equipment. You can easily perform these exercises at home without any equipment.

  • Bigger & Stronger Back

These back exercises also target your other back muscles and help in building a bigger and stronger back.


Conclusion

This upper back exercise will help you build a muscular back. You can easily perform many of these workouts at home without any equipment. Follow this upper back workout program for at least 3 to 4 weeks to get the ultimate results. All the best and stay strong. Buildingbeast.