Over the years I have coached a lot of amazing female athletes in many variety’s of sports, competitions and overall strength and fitness.
Everything from Bikini Competitors, Fitness Competitors, Power Lifters, people over coming lower back injuries and more. What is even cooler is that most of these women never touched a weight in their lives before I started coaching them.
One of my favorite areas to focus on in training is targeting the back.
A strong, lean, toned back speaks volumes about a woman and shows that she is strong and worked hard to build that area. It’s a sign of strength and beauty.
When It Comes To Building a Strong Lean Muscular Back Here Are My Top 5 Exercises.
When possible deadlifts and deadlift variations should be the back bone of your training towards building a strong and muscular back.
My goal coaching women is to always build a strength base first. I always want to get them stronger and build a base of strength on the big lifts. This carries over into everything in the gym and in life.
A strong deadlift makes a women feel amazing, never underestimate the importance of mentally feeling strong .
There are so many variations of these you can do so it’s important to learn which ones work best for you.
Some of my favorites are
Conventional Block Deadlifts
Sumo Block Deadlifts
I find that Conventional Deadlifts will hit the upper back a bit more where as Sumo Deadlifts tend to target the hips and legs a bit more. However both are good.
Note : Keep your form PERFECT on deadlifts. It’s one of the best exercises but done with bad form it can be one of the worst exercises.
2. Pull Ups
The king of all upper body exercises is the pull up. It’s a true test of your upper body strength compared to body weight.
As a female if you can do 1 pull up that is pretty strong.
If you can do 5 pull ups you are very strong.
If you can do 10+ pull ups you are DAMN strong :).
Like deadlifts there is a mental strength that comes along with being able to do a pull up. It’s empowering to know you are strong enough to do them.
When I coach clients my goal is always to be able to get them to do one body weight pull up and we build on that.
If you can’t do a pull up try doing band assist pull ups. A pull up variation is always better than a pull down variation. Moving your own body around something and using your own body weight is much more challenging than just doing a lat pull down or pull down variation.
3. Row Variations
I love rows and row variations. It’s a great way to target the back from different angles with a variety of weights and exercises.
These are also very easy on the joints compared to deadlifts and pull ups so you can hit Row’s with a lot more volume.
Some of my favorites are T-Bar rows, 1 Arm Dumbell Rows, Seated Rows and more.
When it comes to these exercises make it a priority to squeeze and contract the muscle. Don’t worry about the weight as much as you try to really work and stretch/contact the muscles being worked.
If you want results DO THIS. I have been saying forever when I train my female athletes that the goal in training should be the following – Get Stronger – Become More Athletic – Get Faster – Build Muscle Don’t train body parts, don’t focus on working out, train with purpose and intent. Meet one of my athletes Kerri. She has been training with me a few months now. She told me today how “bad” her weekend was for eating food. I told her this was GOOD. Once you get to a certain point in your training you can eat more, lots more, and it benefits you. You will get leaner, and stronger by eating MORE. But the catch is that you have to “earn” this by putting the work in and training hard and getting stronger and more athletic. Train like an athlete, not a bodybuilder. Focus on “conditioning” not “cardio”. Get STRONGER. The results take care of themselves. Hard training pays off. Coach Rob
4. Suspension Based Pulling Exercises
I love suspension based exercises like TRX because they are so versatile. You have endless exercises that you can do. You can adjust your body positioning and the length of the suspension handles based on your own strength. There is literally no limits to how much you can do with a suspension trainer.
Some of my favorites are TRX Rows, T’s. Y’s, W’s Single Arm Rows, Face Pulls and more.
Single Arm TRX Row This is a very hard exercise. This is a awesome TRX variation that will hit your core. When I say “core” I mean everything from the bottom of your glutes all the way to the bottom of your neck. Don’t let your hips rotate. Keep your body as neutral as possible. Try to move slow and control the full movement and focus on controlling your body. Give it a try and let me know how you find it. Coach Rob #WomenWhoLifWeights,#HeavyWeights,#trx , #muscles
5. Good Mornings & Hyper Extensions
Good mornings and hyper extensions really hit the lower back and also hit the hamstrings. A strong thick lower back says a lot about a woman. It’s a sign of strength and power. It’s not easily achieved. It also looks damn good :).
When it comes to good mornings be sure to use perfect form and really focus on the hip hinge, and not just bending forward at the waist.
Targeting the lower back and hamstrings have big benefits to strength, reducing injury and also to looking amazing.
The Glute Ham Raise is a great tool for building strength and muscle in the posterior chain. Today one of the exercise I used with my athlete Jennifer was Glute Ham Hip Extention. A lot of people think that this is lower back exercise, and while it kinda is and can be used this way, I use it as a hip extension and glute exercise this is going to be determined by the start position of the hips in relation to the pad. A few tips for this exercise. 1. Find a good starting position so that you move with your hips not your lower back. A back extension is similar but different. 2. Squeeze your glutes at the top as hard as possible. 3. At the top don’t hyperextended. Neutral L spine alignment should be enough to squeeze the glutes and not extend the lower back. 4. Focus on driving your heels into the pad, this will keep the hamstrings engaged. 5. Use a mix of high reps, lower weight with reps, drop sets, and paused reps for best results. #glutes , #gluteworkout
Have a strong and lean back will improve your lifts in the gym and carry over into life. I can say from experience that a toned muscular back is something that always catches my attention. It shows that you have muscle, power, strength and that you worked hard to get those results.
Give these 5 exercises a try and let me know how you find them.
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Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.