T Nation

Good Upper Back Exercises

I know, chins, lat pulldowns, etc. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a pull-up bar or cables at the time. I have dumbbells, barbells and a bench. Oh, and a swiss ball. Are there any other exercises besides bent-over rows that I can do to hit my upper back? Thanks! (Grassy-ass for my Mexican friends)

To-Shin Do

Deadlifts, snatch-grip deadlifts, rack pulls, high pulls, hang cleans

Don’t forget dumbbell rows (chest supported and non-supported), V-Bar rows as described in Mike Robertson’s new article, and pullovers.

Face pulls rock.

Bent over rows.
Man, if you improvise, you can do chins and pull-ups almost anywhere!
They are a must. Hang off a swing set in your local park, or your clothesline, a tree branch, or whatever.

You can do pullups on any door. Open it, throw a towel over the top to save your hands, face the door and pull. Your chest will probably drag on the door but that just increases the resistance.

Be sure you test it with your weight first.

RIT Jared

Secure one end of your Olympic length barbell (or similar) into a corner, allowing it to move upward to ~45 degrees though. Load the free end. Perform bent over rows by straddling the bar.

When you say upper back, are you talking upper lats and rear delts… or traps and rhomboids???

As was mentioned, any type of vertical pull (upright row, cleans) are excellent trap and rhomboid developers. But, you still need your wide/narrow rowing and deadlifts to hit the upper lats, lower lats, and rear delts.

TopSirloin

[quote]FCFighter wrote:
Deadlifts, snatch-grip deadlifts, rack pulls, high pulls, hang cleans[/quote]

DONNING FLAME-PROOF SUIT

What is a “rack pull” exactly?

Thanks

[quote]bandgeek wrote:
FCFighter wrote:
Deadlifts, snatch-grip deadlifts, rack pulls, high pulls, hang cleans

DONNING FLAME-PROOF SUIT

What is a “rack pull” exactly?

Thanks[/quote]

Basically, rack pulls are partial deadlifts done in a power rack. Set the pins in the rack at about knee height, get into deadlift position and pull. They put alot of stress on your upper back and really help strengthen the lockout portion of the deadlift.

[quote]Built Big wrote:
Basically, rack pulls are partial deadlifts done in a power rack. Set the pins in the rack at about knee height, get into deadlift position and pull. They put alot of stress on your upper back and really help strengthen the lockout portion of the deadlift.
[/quote]

That’s kind of what I thought, but I wanted to make sure. I imagine you can use more weight than with a full-range deadlift as well…

Thanks again

bandgeek,

You are absolutely correct. You can use considerably more weight than with regular deads.

[quote]TopSirloin wrote:
Secure one end of your Olympic length barbell (or similar) into a corner, allowing it to move upward to ~45 degrees though. Load the free end. Perform bent over rows by straddling the bar.[/quote]

Cool, I feel dumb for not thinking of that when I’ve seen it done before.

[quote]When you say upper back, are you talking upper lats and rear delts… or traps and rhomboids???

As was mentioned, any type of vertical pull (upright row, cleans) are excellent trap and rhomboid developers. But, you still need your wide/narrow rowing and deadlifts to hit the upper lats, lower lats, and rear delts.

TopSirloin[/quote]

Well, I’m thinking of starting the Shoulders Overhaul setup, and I’m looking for exercises that will go somewhat easy on my shoulders while still hitting my lats, rhomboids and traps. Thanks for the tips everybody!

To-Shin Do

Personnaly one of the best things I’ve found for upper back recently is power cleans. I think these work more of the upper back than do regular hang cleans, too much snap using the lower back there I think. Anyway, these have been blasting my traps.

ToShinDo, you may find many of the exercises suggested in this forum in
CT’s “The Power Look”. This program is highly effective to build huge traps and at the same time it is also a valuable “hamstring day” workout.
CT’s “Shoulders Overhaul” is GREAT ! What I suggest you is to follow exactly what CT prescribes without changing anything.
Ciao
Luca

Reverse flyes on the bench (if it goes on an incline) or over the swiss ball are great. DB rows can also be done on a Swiss ball, but with any stability exercise, force production suffers, so weight has to decrease a bit. Also, make sure your ball is fully inflated, or it’s pretty much just a squishy chair with limited benefit.

Horizontal pulls

set BB at navel’s level. Lay down on your back. Put feet on Swissball. Grab the bar and pull yourself up.

RIT Jared had a great idea to do Pull-ups on a door.

You can also find a tree branch, cieling beam, wall pipe, door molding etc. You can do them if you get creative!

[quote]luca wrote:
CT’s “Shoulders Overhaul” is GREAT ! What I suggest you is to follow exactly what CT prescribes without changing anything.
Ciao
Luca[/quote]

The only thing I thought about adding were some exercises from the “Rotator Cuff Conundrum”. I injured my shoulder a while back, I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Would adding like a Cuban Press be overkill to the Overhaul program? I don’t really want to change anything with CT’s program, I’m just trying to find suitable exercises for the rest of my body parts. Like for Abs, I was going to use the “21st Century Core Training” 1-day workout. Bis/Tris - Conc. Curls, Tate Presses, Brick Curls, Skull Crushers, Kickbacks, etc. For chest I was thinking decline bench and pullovers. It seems it should all fit together, but I could be wrong!

To-Shin Do

I would like to add that overhead squats seem to be very good for upperback development. I myself have shoulder problems, but the overhead squats seem to help keep the shoulders strong yet flexible.

You might also want to think about doing the farmer’s walk. That seems to have slapped some mass on my upper back. I also do reverse farmer’s walk where I hold the dumbells overhead. I do both single dumbbells and 2 dumbbells overhead.

Derick

Figure out your max DL, then add 50 lbs and do rack pulls for time. When your grip is failing, drop the weight and do some more. Repeat until you look like a wuss struggling with light poundage.

If you are really a masochist, then do drop sets of v-handle cable rows (with good form and retract your scapula at the end of the row – the v-handle lets me retract better) until you again look like a wuss due to light poundage.

I’m pulling your leg a bit, it’s not like I do the above exactly, but if you have a lagging part then add volume to it until it lets you know that is has been worked hard enough to force adaptation.

When going for DOMS in your lagging part you may want to reduce work on other areas to keep your total workout at an appropriate length. I do however generally pick one muscle group for heavy volume each trip to the gym, rotating between back, chest and legs.

It works for me, your mileage may vary.