From a bodybuilder’s perspective one of the most important body areas is the back. Not only can it be visually impressive but a strong back is essential for intensive training and day to day living. In bodybuilding you are aiming for three things with regard to developing the back muscles:
- Thickness of the upper back (traps).
- Wide lats.
- Highly defined lower back (spinal erectors and lower lats).
As a beginner there are five essential exercises for developing these muscles quickly:
1. Dumbbell shrugs – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. This exercise will develop the traps.
2. Seated V-bar cable rows – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. This exercise will develop the mid upper back.
3. Bent over barbell rows – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. This exercise will add thickness to the upper back.
4. Pullups – Aim for 25 reps. This exercise will strengthen the entire back.
5. Pulldowns – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. This exercise will define the lats.
As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your back exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:
Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs
For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.