Gym Back Workout for Women
First, let's talk about the benefits
Many women neglect their back during their gym workouts, favoring legs, glutes, and abs over their upper body. When it comes to creating that ideal tight, toned hourglass figure, the back is a severely underrated key player. Not only that but there are several health benefits to a strong back.
Building an Hourglass Shape
Aesthetically, building the lats is a great way to create an hourglass figure. Building a certain shape is all about playing with your body's proportions. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do to shrink your waist. Some people, genetically, have shorter, blockier torsos. You can do cardio and stick to bodyweight core movements, but it will only take you so far.
Building your lats will widen the upper body to make the waist look even smaller! Working your back helps you to create that upper body "V" shape that can create the illusion of curves on a woman who might naturally not have them.
Health & Fitness Benefits
The lower back makes up some of your body's key stabilizer muscles. What does this mean?
It means that it's important for the back to be strong enough to support the kinetic chain through each exercise movement you're performing. Weak back muscles can actually compromise your form during movements such as the back squat and cause a chain reaction of injuries.
On the flip side, strengthening these muscles is a great way to prevent future injuries and build the rest of your body as effectively as possible. By building your stabilizer muscles, you're ensuring you can perform exercises with proper form and, therefore, target the intended muscle group correctly.
Additionally, it's important to note that the majority of the adult population suffers from lower back pain. Your lower back supports most of your body's weight, so it's under a lot of stress. Add to that the fact that many of us work sedentary jobs and you have a recipe for poor posture and back pain. Your body actually adapts to improper movement if it's your norm.
It learns to use synergist muscles to compensate for under active prime mover muscles. This just means muscles take over movements they shouldn't when the correct muscle is underperforming.
Full body strength and balance is what maintains good posture and correct movement practices. This is why it's beneficial for you to keep your upper and lower back strong even if your main goal is to grow other areas of your body.
And now... onto the workout.
The Back Workout
Onto the exercises! This workout should take you about 30 minutes to complete.
It addresses both the lower and upper back and hits these muscles from several different angles. You will notice that two of the exercises are labeled "A." This means they are meant to be performed as a superset.
This technique involves performing two exercises one after another without rest in between. You will complete each one (to make a set) and then take a 60 second break before repeating the exercises again for the prescribed number of sets.
Using supersets is one way to increase exercise intensity and challenge the muscles in new ways. This is how we prevent training plateaus.
Try to keep all breaks to 60 seconds or less to keep this workout high intensity and in the 30 minute range!
Not at the Gym? Pin the Workout for Later!
1. Back Extensions
1. Lie face down on the hyper extension bench with your legs supported on the pads. Make sure the height of the bench is adjusted so your hips are above the pads and can move freely.
2. Place feet and ankles under the foot pads.3. With your body in a straight line to start, slowly bend forward without rounding your back or raising your legs off the support pads.
4. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back, then return to the starting position.
2. Barbell Good Morning
1. Place a barbell on your upper back with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Feet should be slightly less than shoulder width apart.
2. With your legs straight, bend forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
3. Pause and slowly return to the starting position.
3. Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
1. Sit at a cable station with a straight bar attached to the pulley.
2. Using an overhand grip, hold the bar as wide as you can comfortably. Lean back but don't arch the back.
3. Pull the bar down towards your chest. Your elbows should flare outward.
4. Slowly return to the starting position.
4. Low Cable Back Rows
1. Sit down at the cable station with a v bar attachment on the low pulley. Place your feet on the foot pads with a slight bend in your knees.
2. Leaning forward, grip the v bar attachment with both hands and pull back until your upper body forms a 90 degree angle with your legs. Back should be slightly arched with your chest pushed out.
3. Keep your upper body stationary and pull the attachment back towards you while squeezing your back.
4. When your hands reach your abs, pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.
5. Single Arm Dumbbell Rows
1. Place a knee on the end of a bench and bend forward so your upper body is parallel to the floor. The hand on the same side of your bent knee should rest on the bench for support.
2. With your other hand, pick up the dumbbell with an overhand grip. Keep your back straight.
3. Pull the dumbbell straight up to the side of your chest while keeping your arm close to your side. Squeeze your back muscles and slowly return to the starting position.
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