Most women want an hourglass figure. However, some girls mistake an hourglass figure for a tennis racket figure. These ladies spend considerable time working on their booties but almost always overlook a vital aspect of achieving their dream figure — a shapely back. Ladies that want to rock a strapless dress or tank top must prioritize training their backs. Plus, a shapely back can add to your physique aesthetics by making your waist look smaller.
To build a curvy figure, you must incorporate back workouts into your training regimen. Your back workouts should have a balance of rowing exercises, such as barbell rows, dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, and horizontal pulling movements, such as lat pulldowns, pull-ups, etc.
After your legs, your back is the second-biggest muscle group, meaning your back workouts will be as brutal as your lower body training sessions. Plus, since it is a large muscle group, it will help burn more calories than the small muscle group workouts. If you feel fresh and energetic after a back workout, know that you didn’t go all-out in that training session.
Unlike smaller muscle groups like the biceps, which have only two muscle heads, your back consists of several muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres major and minor, trapezius, posterior delts, and erector spinae. Furthermore, your back is divided into two portions — upper and lower. You must train your back from different angles, using different grips for overall posterior chain development.
In this article, we go over the back anatomy, the five best back workouts for women, the importance and benefits of building a strong back for women, and tips to make the most of your workouts.
Understanding your back anatomy can help you program an effective back workout and ensure there are no weak areas in your back. Here are the back muscles you should know about for building an eye-catching backline:
Latissimus dorsi, or lats, are the biggest back muscle. A pair of developed lats can accentuate your V-taper. They are located on both sides of the middle and lower back and are responsible for moving your arms down and toward the body.
Teres Major and Minor
These are present at the back of the shoulder and are responsible for rotating the arm and stabilizing the shoulder joint.
They are located on your upper back underneath the trapezius muscle and between the shoulder blades. They help maintain a good posture and stabilize your shoulder blades.
These are a group of muscles present on both sides of the spinal column. As their name suggests, they help maintain an erect spine and allow for bending and twisting movements. The erector spinae is also referred to as the lower back.
Although the posterior or rear delts are located on your back, they are mostly trained in a shoulder workout. They help move your arm backward.
The trapezius muscle is located over the back of the neck and shoulders and extends down to the middle of the back. It helps moves the head and shoulder blades. Many people train their traps in a shoulder workout.
Best Back Workouts For Women
Our goal with these workouts is to build a toned back that looks amazing and improves your overall health and fitness. We have included five workouts in this article for ladies at different experience levels. The resistance band back workout is perfect for when you don’t have access to a gym.
Beginner Back Workout For Women
Women that are just starting their fitness journey should perform foundational exercises that will help them build a solid base and improve their mind-muscle connection. Your focus with this workout will be to drill each movement until you know them, like the back of your hand.
|Bent-Over Dumbbell Row||3-5||8-12|
|Straight Arm Lat Pulldown||3-5||8-12|
|Seated Cable Row||3-5||8-12|
Seek expert advice to learn the correct technique for performing these exercises. Hiring a personal trainer can expedite your learning process, lower your risk of injury, and fast-track your progress.
Advanced Back Workout For Women
Ladies with at least a few months of lifting experience should graduate to the advanced back workout. Use an assisted pull-up machine or a spotter if you cannot perform bodyweight pull-ups.
|Barbell Bent-Over Row||3-5||8-12|
|Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown||3-5||8-12|
|Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly||3-5||8-12|
You’ll also be doing rear delt flyes for the rear delts and barbell shrugs for the trapezius muscle in this workout. Expect this workout to take between 45-60 minutes. However, keep your rest durations between sets limited to 30-60 seconds to maintain a high training intensity.
Machine-Only Back Workout For Women
Machines follow a fixed movement trajectory, which can help you focus on establishing a mind-muscle connection and achieve muscle-ripping pumps. Plus, machine workouts take less time than free-weight workouts, which is a boon for lifters on a tight schedule.
|Assisted Machine Pull-Up||3-5||8-12|
|Seated Cable Row||3-5||8-12|
|GHD Back Extension||3-5||8-12|
|Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown||3-5||8-12|
|Smith Machine Upright Row||3-5||8-12|
You can swap the GHD back extension with a conventional back extension if you lack the posterior chain strength to perform the exercise. Focus on contracting your muscles with each rep to get the most out of this workout.
Resistance Band Back Workout For Women
The resistance band back workout is an excellent place to start for beginners and when you are traveling. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t always need free weights or machines to build a chiseled physique. Resistance bands help maintain constant tension on your muscles throughout the motion, helping induce hypertrophy.
|Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown||3-5||15-20|
We recommend using loop bands for this workout; grab the heaviest bands you can find. Furthermore, you’ll be performing a higher number of reps in this workout than in the other workouts to ensure you’re not leaving anything in the tank.
HIIT Back Workout For Women
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, workouts consist of short periods of high-intensity exercises followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity exercises. A HIIT workout aims to push your body to its maximum capacity in a short period. It is a great training protocol for breaking through strength and muscle plateaus. Furthermore, it is perfect for folks that can only dedicate 30 minutes to a training regimen.
You’ll perform five rounds of this HIIT workout. Do each exercise for 30 seconds and rest for 10 seconds after completing a movement. You are allowed a 60-second rest after completing each round.
|Exercise||Time (in seconds)||Rest (in seconds)|
|Bent-Over Dumbbell Row||30||10|
|Dumbbell Reverse Fly||30||10|
|Renegade Dumbbell Row||30||10|
Read more: HIIT Workouts for Women: 6 Best Workout Plans, Benefits, and Pro Tips
Back Workout Tips For Women
Follow these tips for carving a head-turning back:
Focus on Form
Beginners must prioritize lifting with the correct form instead of chasing heavy weights. Using a picture-perfect form maximizes an exercise’s muscle and strength-building potential and reduces the risk of injury.
Plus, focus on contracting your target muscles with each rep. Going through the motions for the sake of it won’t cut it. Slow down your rep tempo if you have trouble establishing a mind-muscle connection.
Progressive overload is the name of the game when it comes to building muscle mass. You could make your workouts harder and increase your training volume and intensity by lifting heavier, doing more sets and reps, shortening your rest duration between sets, or incorporating advanced training techniques like super sets, drop sets, intraset stretching, rest-pause sets, etc.
You must gradually increase the demands placed on your muscles. It will challenge your muscles to adapt and improve, leading to gains in strength, muscle size, and overall fitness.
You Don’t Have To Reinvent The Wheel
Many exercisers tend to do too much too soon. These people think that doing out-of-the-box exercises will speed up their progress. However, this is not the case. You don’t have to join a cult or follow a charlatan to build a chiseled back. The exercises mentioned in this article are all you need to develop a shapely back.
Nutrition and Sleep
You cannot out-train a bad diet and recovery program. You must back your workouts with a balanced diet to optimize muscle growth. Further, a seven to eight-hour sleep is a must as it allows your body enough time to rest and recuperate between workouts.
Since the back is a large muscle group, perform one of the workouts mentioned in this article weekly. As you gain more experience, you could perform two weekly back workouts to expedite your back growth. However, avoid doing more than two back workouts a week as it increases your risk of overtraining.
Performing the same exercise with a different hand grip can target your muscles differently. For example, you could do a barbell bent-over row with an underhand or overhand grip. You could also perform the seated cable row with a supinated, pronated, or neutral grip to train your back from different angles.
Why Building a Strong Back is Important For Women?
Incorporating back workouts into your training regimen entails the following advantages:
Building a bigger back can add to your physique aesthetics. It can create an illusion of a smaller waist and broader shoulders, which are essential features of an hourglass figure. A diced back will also make you look stunning in backless dresses and tank tops.
Promotes a Better Posture
Most of us spend the majority of our days hunched over a computer or phone screen. Training our backs can help improve our posture by strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining a proper upright position. Plus, back exercises can increase back flexibility and mobility, which can help pull the shoulders back, open up the chest, and align the spine in its natural S-shape curvature.
Helps Burns Calories
Your back is the second-biggest muscle group. Performing an intense back workout that involves compound (multi-joint) exercises can spike your heart rate, helping you burn a decent amount of calories. Plus, back workouts help increase overall muscle mass and boost metabolism, both of which lead to a higher calorie expenditure even when you are physically inactive. However, if your goal is to burn more calories, you should follow the HIIT back workout listed in this article.
Most back exercises are functional movements that improve overall strength, mobility, and stability. Your back plays a crucial role in many everyday activities, such as lifting, carrying, and bending, as well as in sports and other physical activities. Balanced back workouts improve your performance in all these activities while reducing your risk of injury.
Help Alleviate Lower Back Pain
Training your spine-supporting muscles (erector spinae) in your back workout can help alleviate and reduce the risk of lower back pain, especially in women with large breasts or those that remain seated for most of the day.
How can women build a toned back?
Building a chiseled back requires following a balanced back workout focusing on building muscle mass and strength. Perform one of the workouts given in this article weekly for 12 weeks to see noticeable back development. You could also switch between the workouts to add variety to your training regimen.
Should men and women follow different back workouts?
No exercise is gender specific. The workouts in this article can be used by men and women alike. With that said, girls don’t need to worry about building a cobra back like their male counterparts. The ladies don’t produce enough testosterone to build the same amount of muscle mass as men.
How to program a back workout for hypertrophy and strength gains?
The number of sets, reps, and exercises you perform and your workout intensity will depend on your training goals. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps of an exercise and rest 60-90 minutes between sets if you want to build muscle mass. On the other hand, do 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps of an exercise with 2-5 minutes of rest between sets if you want to maximize strength. 
To carry the heavy burden of the world, you must have a strong back. The five back workouts for women listed in this article will help improve your posture, boost your functional fitness and calorie expenditure, and enhance your physique aesthetics.
These workouts are apt for women of any experience level. Furthermore, the HIIT back training session is great for ladies on a tight schedule. Pair these workouts with a balanced recovery program for optimal results. Best of luck!
- Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543.
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