Build back muscles: exercises & tips

Rückenmuskeln aufbauen: Übungen & Tipps

Annoying back pain, who doesn't know it? There are not only ways to prevent such pain(3), but also to strengthen the muscles. It is important to exercise regularly, especially if you sit a lot during the day.

Under certain conditions and stresses, the back muscle can grow. We have the right tips and tricks for you if you want to build up your back muscles.

the essentials in brief

  • Sitting in the office all day or being constantly on your feet can strain your back and lead to pain.
  • It is important to choose the right exercises and to do them enough during the week. However, you should take turns doing this in order to achieve better results.
  • The back ensures upright posture and movement. It should always be well trained and strengthened so that you can lead a good, symptom-free life.

Definition: What exactly are back muscles?

The deltoids and trapezius muscles are located in the upper part of the back. Along the spine is the autochthonous back muscle. In the middle area is the upper serratus, lower serratus and the latissimus dorsi.(4) The muscles of the back are important for every human being and so is muscle building . The trapezius muscle z. B. ensures that we can turn our heads to the left and to the right.

The autochthonous back muscles (5) enable us to straighten and stabilize the spine and are therefore particularly important. In order to be able to rotate the arms in all directions of movement, we need the deltoid muscle.

Lateral inclinations of the torso and stabilization of the spine are possible with the broad back muscle. In addition, the broad back muscles allow the arms to be pulled towards the body and the arms to be drawn back behind the back.

Background: What you should know about building muscle in the back

There are important things to keep in mind when building your back muscles. We show you the most popular exercises and show you what you should consider.

Why are the back muscles important?

When working in the office, back pain can arise from sitting or from standing all the time. Since we cannot avoid working like this, we should pay more attention to our backs. In addition to training, it is also important to eat the right foods that accelerate the build-up.

The back muscles strengthen our spine and posture. The spine provides stabilization of the torso, an upright posture and also enables our mobility. So every single muscle in our back has a different effect on our body and allows us to make certain movements. In this way you can prevent postural damage or other complaints.

About a sixth of those surveyed (15.5%) suffer from chronic back pain .

In 2020, a study from the Journal of Health Monitoring looked at the prevalence of back and neck pain. The 2634 women and 2375 men were interviewed for 12 months. Back pain can occur at any age and is dependent on lifestyle and work.(1)

age of the respondents pain on average
18 - 29 4.4 days per month
from 70 14.8 days per month

In addition, back pain can lead to annoying problems, in the long run lead to certain clinical pictures and consequences(2), such as:

  • lack of exercise
  • muscle tension
  • mental stress
  • incapacity for work

How can I build up my back muscles?

The muscles of the back can be built up with certain exercises and disciplined training. There are enough exercises that train specifically for the back. It is up to you to determine which exercises are best for you. Or with endurance training , the back muscles can be strengthened.

Woman with back muscles Well-trained shoulder and back muscles make our everyday life easier. (Image source: schottwebb / Unsplash)

Hiking, jogging, cycling and swimming are very suitable for this. Yoga, Pilates and water aerobics are also back-friendly sports. Additional back problems can occur from golf, skiing, snowboarding or ball games.

A step count of 10,000 is optimal and healthy for the body.

Pilates and yoga in particular are recommended for back pain that has already occurred, as they not only strengthen the back, but also stretch it and thus alleviate the pain. Cross-country skiing is also good for the whole body, bones and muscles are trained gently and without overloading.

Which exercises are suitable?

Below we show you the ten most popular exercises that will build up your back well (6). You should choose three to five of these exercises and do them at least twice a week. In order to achieve your goals, you should do all exercises within two weeks.

Exercise 1: pull the resistance band apart

Pulling the resistance band apart is a great exercise to start your back workout, simple but effective. Choose a resistance band that allows you to do 2 sets of 15-20 reps with good form.

Exercise 2: Quadruple dumbbell rows

This exercise fixes many form errors, such as B. Over-rowing at the top of the movement, hyperextending the arm at the bottom of the movement, and compensating for the lower back. Perform this exercise calmly and with concentration in front of everyone else.

Exercise 3: Lat pulldown

You can do a lat pulldown on a machine at the gym or with a resistance band. Pulling the weight from overhead to your chest requires work of the lats, biceps, and even your forearms, and strengthens them all.

Exercise 4: Bent-over lateral raises with dumbbells

This exercise can help you correct muscular imbalances on one side versus the other. Start with light to medium weight dumbbells and work your way up from there. If you have a bad lower back, you should be careful with this exercise.

Exercise 5: Barbell Deadlift

This exercise engages the muscles of the buttocks, hamstrings, and back plug. Because the lower back, spinal muscles, and hamstrings are engaged, the barbell deadlift requires back strength to perform effectively.

Exercise 6: hyperextension

You can do this exercise on the floor or on an exercise ball. They target the core and entire posterior row (7), or back of your body. The hyperextensions are great for strengthening the spinal muscles and the entire lower back in general.

Exercise 7: Good mornings

This exercise is more suitable for advanced users. Therefore, start with no weight to make sure you've mastered the movement pattern properly before putting on a barbell. This exercise primarily strengthens the lower back.

Exercise 8: One-arm dumbbell row

Stabilize yourself on a bench to perform the exercises, this allows you to really engage and engage the back muscles. If you add a little more weight here, you can increase the effectiveness. This exercise is good for the latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoid, trapezius, and infraspinatus.

Exercise 9: Superman

The core of the body and especially the lower back is well stressed with the help of the Superman exercise. You can also increase the effectiveness of the exercise with a weight ball.

Exercise 10: Planks

This exercise is one of the most popular exercises and should be part of every workout. Here not only the core is stressed, but the whole body (8). The trunk, the back muscles, the leg and hip muscles, as well as the buttock muscles are primarily trained. Shoulders and chest are also trained effectively.

How often do I have to do the exercises a week?

In order to strengthen your back optimally, you should set aside time for training 2-3 times a week. The training sessions can be carried out between 15-30 minutes. However, you should stretch your back before training, especially as a beginner. Certain stretching exercises, such as side stretches, pelvic tilts or back arches will help you prepare for your training. It also protects against sore muscles .

Man doing pull-ups Through a planned training, goals are achieved. (Image source: amastasemaragos / Unsplash)

Even if you are better at some exercises, you should still alternate the exercises and approach it in a more balanced way. Above all, do endurance training, which is good for strengthening your back.

How useful is it to build up the back muscles?

Movements in everyday life strain our body and especially our back. It's important to incorporate exercise into our routine, stretching and strengthening every part of the body.

The back is a central point, which is particularly important because it determines our posture (9). A non-upright posture can lead to other problems, such as a hunched back. Or even pain that occurs with high stress can be annoying in the long run.

Strengthening the back can help prevent such problems or pain. Therefore, it makes sense to plan enough training sessions for the back to strengthen the back muscles and the shoulder girdle. Also because we all want optimal mobility without tension and pain.


Our body gives us so much and we should give it something back, so we should be aware of signals like back pain. A training routine(10) should be part of our weekly plan, even for people who hardly have time, training should still be considered an important and healthy activity.

There are a variety of exercises that can be performed alternately. In addition, you can increase the weight or resistance over time and thus consistently achieve effective results. These exercises provide everything you need to function better and get stronger. Strengthening your back has so many benefits, the most important being that you can live your everyday life more easily.


  1. Prevalence of back and neck pain in Germany. Results of the Burden of Disease Study BURDEN 2020 Source
  2. Journal of Health Monitoring 2021 6(S3) DOI 10.25646/7854 Robert Koch Institute, Berlin Source
  3. Carpenter DM, Nelson BW. Low back strengthening for the prevention and treatment of low back pain. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jan;31(1):18-24. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199901000-00005. PMID: 9927005. Source
  4. Henson B, Kadiyala B, Edens MA. Anatomy Back Muscles. 2020 Aug 10. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725759. Source
  5. Stark, H., Fröber, R., & Schilling, N. (2013). Intramuscular architecture of the autochthonous back muscles in humans. Journal of anatomy, 222(2), 214-222. Source
  6. Bentsen H, Lindgärde F, Manthorpe R. The effect of dynamic strength back exercise and/or a home training program in 57-year-old women with chronic low back pain. Results of a prospective randomized study with a 3-year follow-up period. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1997 Jul 1;22(13):1494-500. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199707010-00014. PMID: 9231969. Source
  7. Chang, WD, Lin, HY, & Lai, PT (2015). Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(3), 619-622. Source
  8. Blasimann A, Eberle S, Scuderi MM. Effect of Core Muscle Strengthening Exercises (Including Plank and Side Plank) on Injury Rate in Male Adult Soccer Players: A Systematic Review]. Sports Injury Sports Damage. 2018 Mar;32(1):35-46. German. doi: 10.1055/a-0575-2324. Epub 2018 Mar 20. PMID: 29558776. Source
  9. Yaprak Y (2013). The effects of back extension training on back muscle strength and spinal range of motion in young females. Biology of sport, 30(3), 201-206. Source
  10. Sedliak M, Finni T, Cheng S, Lind M, Häkkinen K. Effect of time-of-day-specific strength training on muscular hypertrophy in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2451-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bb7388. PMID: 19910830. Source
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