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Upper Back Strengthening Exercises

Dhanashree Patane
Back pain is the most common issue that leads to many other health problems. So taking apt care of the back and strengthening it is important. These upper back strengthening exercises are your guide for a healthy, well toned and a strong back.
With increase in age, the number of health issues increases too. Joint and bone issues are the most common in the list of common health and most painful health problems. We all agree, that the back is the part of the body, which hosts, the spinal cord - the back bone. One of the two major nervous systems emerge in this column of bones.
A healthy back, indirectly means a healthy spinal cord. So taking care of the back is a vital step to ensure strong bones, and health too. Well, it is not only age that can degenerate the back bones, but a number of other factors affecting young age, like sports, injury or poor posture, etc., that can cause a weak back.
Just like the lower back the upper back too is an important part, but most of us will not pay special attention to strengthen this part of the back. A strong upper back will not only help a strong spine but it will also give you a perfect and strong posture.
To strengthen those muscles, we have a set of exercises that you can follow. Follow the instructions, while you train your back to a well toned and strong upper back.

Exercises for Strengthening the Upper Back

We have compiled some strengthening exercises, that can be done at home and at the gym too. So if you are hitting the gym, make sure you include these in your workout. For those working out at home, follow a simple warm up routine, followed with these exercises. These are to support your back, while some of these exercises are rehabilitation exercises for an old injury.


➟ Butterfly Shoulder - Keep both hands on the shoulder, like you would hold the sleeve, with palms facing down. Now move the elbows towards each other, try to get them as close, while still keeping your shoulders in same position. Once you feel the stretch in the back, release slowly. Repeat 2 sets of 12-15 reps.
➟ Shoulder Roll - As the name suggests, roll the shoulders in a circular motion. Start with one direction, stop and them start in the opposite direction. Follow 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
➟ Shoulder Shrug - Move your shoulder upwards, like when you shrug. Try to place them as close to the ears. Hold for a moment and release slowly. Follow 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
➟ Shoulder Stretch - Sit straight on a chair and hold on to one side of the chair with your arm with your hand. Now bend on the opposite side as much as you can. Keep your body straight, bend in the shoulder only. Get back in position, and repeat on the other side. Follow 10-12 reps for 2 sets.
While on the chair, hold on to one side and stretch your shoulder with a twist in you waist, touching the opposite side. Release once you feel a stretch in the back. Repeat with the other side, follow 10-12 reps with 2 sets.
➟ Neck Tilt - Simply tilt your neck to either sides of the shoulder. Try to get your ear as close to the shoulder as possible. Then get back in position. Repeat 10-12 times with 2 sets.

At the Gym

➟ Lat Pulldown Exercise - Sit upright at the lat pulldown bar cable. Hold the bar, keep your grip wider than your shoulder distance. Drag the bar down leading it with the elbows and feel the tension in the back muscles. Stop at the chest and slowly release while fully extending your arms. Repeat with proper breathing like inhaling as you release the bar and exhale as you drag it.
➟ Pullover Dumbbell - Lie back down on the work bench, supporting the back and neck. The head should lean over from one end. Stretch your arms vertically and lift the dumbbells over your face. Now lower them till, above your head and hold for a moment. Then get back to position.
➟ Reverse Fly Dumbbell - Lie chest down on the inclined bench, hold the dumbbells away from the chest, slightly bent in the elbows. Pull the arms backwards, while trying to squeeze the shoulder blades in wards, towards the spine. The dumbbells should be stretched out, in line with the shoulder. Hold for a moment and slowly release, back to position.

At Home

➟ Shoulder Blade - Stand or sight straight, tuck the chin inside slightly, position the shoulders a little on the back side. Now stretch in the backward direction, so as to squeeze the shoulder blades to touch each other. Try to squeeze them to the maximum. Hold for a few seconds and then release slowly. 10-12 reps are advised.
➟ Chin Drop - Stand with your legs apart (shoulder width), now simply lower your chin inwards to touch the upper chest. Try to stretch, but stop when it gets painful. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat 10-12 times.
➟ Arm Stretch - You can be seated or standing for this stretch, now raise your arms vertically over your head. Do so inter locking your fingers, with your palms facing the ceiling. Now try to pull the hands away, feel the tension in the upper back and slowly release after a few seconds. Get back to position and repeat 10 times.
➟ Arms and Legs Stretch - Lie down, on your stomach and stretch your arms forward. Now slowly lift your left arm and right leg upwards, feel the tension in your arm, back and the bottom. Release after a few seconds and return to position and repeat with right arm and left leg. Follow 10 reps.
These were some of the upper back strengthening exercises at home and for your gym workout too. With these and proper nutrition, the back will no longer be a painful region. For those with major injuries or joint issues in the spinal area, it is strongly recommended to consult a doctor first for any exercises. You may also include yoga postures to lower the back pain. A wise step to health is timely prevention and cure. So take apt care and workout for a healthy back.