3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

The back is arguably the most important component of the human body when it comes to exerting force against an object in order to move it in the direction you are intending. For this article, we’ll call your back everything on the posterior side of your body that has an origin or end point somewhere on your trunk. The back is composed of a multitude of different muscles, both large and small, and each one plays a role when it comes to bracing before lifting an object. Unfortunately, because of all day desk-sitting and other forms of poor posture, we live in a society full of people with weak backs, pain, and even injury from overexertion on a workout or even just sneezing while picking up a Kleenex. 

Back Strength Exercises

Here are some different exercises to improve back strength and stability.

Snatch Grip Deadlift Off Podium

This is a great exercise that stimulates the entire body. Do a moderate to heavy set of eight and you will certainly be feeling it after! During this exercise, your traps and upper back are doing their best to prevent your arms from being pulled away from your body and the quads are highly stimulated because of the huge increase in range of motion in the lift.

If you have a weak first pull in your Olympic lifts, this is a good exercise for you, as it overloads your starting position.

Stand on a platform that is 2-4 inches in height; straps are a must for this exercise or your thumbs might be in some serious pain.

GHD Hip Extensions

These are probably not high on many peoples list of top back exercises but these have been a staple of many high level athletes training for a long time. There is a great therapeutic effect that this exercise has on the lower back because of the increase of blood flow to the area, as the low back is not a very vascular part of the human body. These are great for a warm up or cool down exercise or even as a loaded exercise for accessory work. They will also give you the benefit of a stronger back arch in your squats if you have the tendency of rounding the back on back squats.

Supinated Grip Bent-Over Barbell Rows/Pendlay Rows

With all the vertical pulling that CrossFit athletes do (think: muscle-ups and kipping/butterfly pull-ups), it is important for structural balance that horizontal pulling is included into the training programs.

You should aim for a 1:1 ratio between your vertical pushing (press, push press, push/split jerk) and pulling (pull-ups) and the same ratio between your horizontal pushing (bench press, push-ups) and pulling (barbell rows, single arm rows). Balancing these opposing exercises will help protect your shoulders.

Additionally, rows increases your lat strength, which will help you keep the bar closer to your body during Olympic lifting.

Invictus Strength

Want to learn more about which areas of strength you should be working on for both general fitness and to be a more well-rounded athlete? Sign up for Coach Hunter’s next 8-week Strength Cycle that starts September 12! This closed group will focus on building the strength needed in CrossFit. You will work on your squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press, while training your Olympic lifts as well. And there is a dedicated focus to accessory lifts – like the ones above – in each day’s program. The program is 5-days a week and includes video review and feedback weekly from Coach Hunter Britt.