Whether it’s to build a back that will wow the ladies, or to avoid back problems, taking time in your workout routine to focus on your back muscles matters. Singapore TV and movie star – last seen in Crazy Rich Asians- Pierre Png shares with us how he built his superstar back, and how you can too. And if you’re looking for some back workouts, here’s some below.
Wide-to-Narrow-Grip Pullup (upper back, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, biceps)
In each set of this move, do as many as you can, disregarding the repetition counts in the table. Grab a pullup bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Pull yourself up until the bar is even with your chest. Pause, then lower yourself until your arms are straight. For the second set, grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms toward you. For the third set, grab narrow parallel bars so your palms face each other.
Watch Your Form: Lower yourself slowly; don’t let gravity take over.
Long-Bar Bent-Over Row (upper portion of lats)
Stick one end of a bar in a corner and put weight plates on the other end. With your back to the corner, straddle the bar near the weighted end and bend forward until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Grab the bar with both hands just behind the plates. Keeping your elbows in and your knees slightly bent, pull the weighted end of the bar up until the plates touch your chest. Lower the bar until the weights are just above (not touching) the floor.
Watch Your Form: Keep your head and neck in line with your back to avoid pulling neck muscles that are already tight.
Underhand Medium-Grip Pulldown (middle and outer edges of back)
Grab a lat-pulldown bar with your hands about 2 feet apart, palms facing toward you, and sit on the seat. Keeping your head and back straight, slowly pull the bar to the top of your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the move, then let the bar slowly raise your hands above your head again, resisting the pull as you go.
Watch Your Form: Resist the urge to curl the bar toward your chest, which brings more of your biceps into the movement. Instead, picture your elbows being pulled straight down to the floor.
Hyperextension (lower back, spinal muscles)
Lie on a hyperextension bench and tuck your ankles under the footpads. Your upper thighs should lie flat across the wide pad in front. Place your hands lightly alongside your head, behind your ears, and slowly bend forward at the waist as far as you comfortably can. Keep your back flat as you go. Slowly raise yourself until your body forms a straight line.
Watch Your Form: Avoid arching your back, which stresses your lower back, spine, and neck muscles. Give yourself at least 2 seconds down and 2 seconds up so gravity doesn’t do the work.
Behind-the-Back Shrug (trapezius, upper back)
Sit on the edge of a bench, arms hanging straight behind you. Have someone hand a bar to you, and grab it with your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, palms facing backward. Keeping your back and arms straight, slowly raise your shoulders as high as you can. Pause, then slowly lower your shoulders.
Watch Your Form: Raise and lower your shoulders only. Rolling your shoulders forward or backward at the top of the move is a waste of time and can place them at risk of impingement or rotator-cuff problems over time.
Video by Kelvin Tan, Editor for Men’s Health Singapore; Art Direction, Jason Tan