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5 Best Back Exercises for Women: Tone and Sculpt your Back

Best back exercises for women

It’s been a while since the last workout post! Today let’s talk about the best back exercises for women (but also for men) that I include in my upper body workouts and the benefits of training back muscles. 

Why you should sculpt your back

First of all, who doesn’t want a strong and toned back? You don’t need to lift super heavy to see some results. Just make sure to progressively increase the weight to keep challenging your muscles.

The key to the hourglass shape is a strong back. Plus, developing your back muscles will give you a better posture.

Last but not least, a strengthening your back will help you improve your workouts as you’ll have more power to squat, lunge, deadlift…

Don’t know where to start? Here are some of the best back exercises for women.

5 Best Back Exercises for Women

There are of course many more effective back exercises but here are my 5 absolute favourite.
I do 3 to 4 sets of each exercise, performing 8 to 15 reps for each set depending on how challenging the weight is. I usually do 2 sets with low weights and high reps and 1 or 2 sets with higher weights and lower reps.

Because a majority of back exercises also target the arms especially the biceps it makes sense to do a back and biceps session. I often train back for about 30min then I do a few biceps isolation exercises.

I posted a few videos of the below exercises on my Instagram.

Lat pulldown

Ideally you want to start your workout with compound movements that activate several muscles. The lat pulldown is one of them, as it targets your lats but also your arms and shoulders. Both wide and close grips will hit your back muscles but the feeling isn’t the same so it’s good to alternate between both.

Best back exercises for women

Seated Cable Row

This is another compound movement that mainly targets the middle-back and arms. You can do close or medium grip cable rows depending on the attachment you’re using. I prefer the multi-purpose bar over the chinning triangle as I get a wider range of motion and can really feel my back.

Best back exercises for women

Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows

One of the best back exercises to activate your lats. Really focus on pulling your elbows behind you and keeping them tight rather than pulling the bar up. And squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of each rep. I prefer the reverse grip as I feel more tension on my lats and traps. If you prefer you can also perform this exercise with dumbbells.

Best back exercises for women

Dumbbell Single-Arm Row

This one is a good complement to the bent-over row because you’re using one arm at a time so you put more focus on the side of the back you’re targeting. The single-arm row is one of the best back exercises to hit the lats, traps and upper back.

Best back exercises for women

Standing Cable Low Row (with a Rope)

I love to finish my back workout with the cable exercise that targets the middle and lower back as well as the arms and abs (as you’re engaging your core). Keep your back as straight as possible and bend your legs. I bend my legs quite a lot (almost to a squat position) as I feel much more tension on my back this way but everybody is different. To really feel the burn you need to squeeze your shoulder blades together whilst you pull your elbows back.

Best back exercises for women

How often do you train back and what are your go-to exercises? 🙂

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29 thoughts on “5 Best Back Exercises for Women: Tone and Sculpt your Back

  1. Alice Ainsworth

    I’ve just joined a gym for the first time and I had no idea what exercises I should be doing! thank you so much for helping with that, I loved this post!

  2. Anonymous

    I LOVE these exercises girl! I’m really trying to get my back stronger to improve my posture so this is so helpful for me!!! Thank you!!! xoxo

  3. Daphne Berg

    I train my back often, I go bouldering or climbing once a week. And every day I dont do sports, I do yoga to train my climbing muscles. It’s a good back training!

  4. Jesusa Gilliam

    Very interesting read. We used to attend a gym on a regular basis and they would include this for us. We haven’t been going so this is something I need to do more of on my own time.

  5. Summer

    I don’t go to a gym because the machines never fit me haha but I love the dumbell single arm row! That’s something I can do at home!

  6. Christa

    Wednesdays are my lifting days, so this post is perfect timing. I’ve never tried the reverse grip bent-over row. I’ll have to give it a go tomorrow!

  7. Samara

    These are great! I NEVER know what to do for my back when I go to the gym, so this is especially helpful.

  8. melissa cushing

    I love dreading this informative post! Thank you for sharing as I am working out more and more and would love to strengthen my back. As you noted about how great it is for your posture but also just to strengthen the core. Loved it and you look amazing too!

  9. Ron Leyba

    Great tips! Women will surely find these exercises really helpful. Love it!

  10. Elle (CleverlyChanging)

    This is good to know. I don’t have a gym membership, but I need to definitely follow your lead.

  11. Razena

    These exercises look like they will help me get rid of these unsightly ridges as well as strengthen my back muscles. I find that my back muscles tend to stiffen up when I’m tired or have been sitting for too long.

  12. Downtown Money

    Fantastic article! Love all the picture you added. Proper form with any training is extremely important. You can do a lot of damage to your back if the form is wrong.

  13. Aditi

    I recently had a baby so my workout routine is pretty much non-existent except some pram walking to the park. These are some great exercises however to get you back in good shape.

  14. catherine shane

    That is so much fun and have a great healthy lifestyle ., i love your motivation and a nice workout routine .

  15. Kate

    The way your back looks like I do believe that this exercises work very well!

  16. Karen Monica

    Great exercise steps. I need to follow these always wanted to have a strong back. Sitting for long hours in front the computer does give me a back ache at times.

  17. Lyosha

    So true! Back is often ignored by girls yet beautiful and healthy back means toned back so you need to keep an eye on it.

  18. HilLesha

    These exercises are perfect for those who are wanting a stronger and sculpted back. Thank you for sharing these exercise methods!

  19. Azlin Bloor

    Great post, and extremely helpful for many ladies thinking of joining the gym. I’ve had a home gym for over 20 years now, and these are definitely a standard in my workouts. And deadlifts, Ii couldn’t do without them!

  20. Pooja Kumari

    These are some great and most effective exercises that you can do in the gym. But I mostly exercise at home with body weight and some dumbells. So my approach is similar to these ones but in a different manner. Great tips thoguh!

  21. Clarice Lao / Camping for Women

    Great tips! Unfortunately, I am unable to these exercises anymore due to health reasons. Shared your post instead to my sister and she loved it as she is trying to do that fitness routine at home. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Surekha

    These are great exercises! I do lot of free weights. I like to rotate between several exercises. You gave me some great ideas

  23. Surekha Busa

    These are great tips and I think I really need to do some of these as I want to resolve some issue on my back.

  24. joy

    awesome! my mom and i were just talking last night about her needing to get some back exercises. thank you. i will share this with her 😀

    Joy at The Joyous Living

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