October 5, 2021

Upper Back Workout Moves to Add to Your Routine

Upper back workout is something that needs to be keep in mind although many of us forget about our upper back when we work out. This area of the body is not a focus for fitness. It’s still important, however. Your upper-back exercises improve your stability, strengthen your shoulders and increase your external rotation. These exercises are essential for good posture and balance. They also help to strengthen your abs because you need upper back strength to properly form those exercises.

You may be wondering how to target your upper back now that you are aware of the importance of your exercise program. We have many options! Here are some upper-body exercises that vary in difficulty and complexity. This makes it easy to target this area of the body more.


  • Chris Vasquez, a NASM-certified personal coach, certified run coach and coach at STRIDE, is certified by NASM.
  • Mikey Newson, a Row House certified personal trainer and coach is Mikey.

Safety and Precautions for upper back workout

Anyone with a shoulder or back injury should avoid these exercises. Keep your spine straight, your core engaged and your back straight when performing these exercises. Don’t let your shoulders sag or lean towards your ears while you are doing them. Try these new moves first. Next, you should try lighter weighted moves that don’t require weight. Vasquez says that you need to “keep the movement under control” and not rush. It is not a good idea to rush or overextend your lumbar spine.



  1. Place your hands on the ground and place your arms in front of your face. Vasquez suggests that it look like Superman in mid-flight.
  2. Engage your glutes, lower back, and then lift your arms, legs and top of your chest off of the floor.
  3. Take a moment to pause, and then slowly return back to your starting position.
  4. Repeat the process with your arms straight in front of yourself.

Prone Band Pull Down


  1. Place your head on a mat and place your body straight.
  2. Lift your arms up and grab a resistance band with your hands extended beyond your head.
  3. Your upper arms should be pulled towards your torso, until the resistance band is below your neck. Vasquez suggests that your elbows be “right-angled.”
  4. Slowly and controlled return to your original position.

Vasquez recommends using a towel to perform the resistance band exercise if it is too difficult. Vasquez says that a towel can be used to reduce resistance. You should make sure the towel is long enough so that you can pull it apart.

Reverse Fly for upper back workout


  1. With a dumbbell in one hand, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Newson suggests that there should be a slight bend in your knees. Vasquez recommends that your torso be almost parallel to the ground.
  2. Keep your elbows in and swing the dumbbells forward.
  3. Slowly put the dumbbells together again and then repeat. Newson recommends that you only do one arm at a stretch if this is too difficult.

Upright Row


  1. Your shoulders should be straight and your neck relaxed. Newson suggests that your chest should be raised with your elbows out and your palms facing in. You can either place a dumbbell or a barbell in each hand. Use an overhand grip.
  2. Keep your elbows straight outward by raising your elbows to shoulder level.
  3. Slowly lower dumbbells and barbells back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat.

Reverse Snow Angels

  1. Place your hands on the ground and spread your arms in front of yourself. Vasquez says that your palms should face the floor, your legs should be extended out in front of you, and your toes should touch the floor.
  2. Your chest, arms and legs should be lifted slightly so they are above the ground.
  3. With your legs separated, move your arms down toward your hips. Vasquez explains that the limbs should not contact the ground and advises against rocking back and forth.
  4. Retire to your original position and take a break.
  5. Repeat.

Dumbbell Front Raise

  1. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hold dumbbells in each hand. Your palms should face your thighs.
  2. Hold your abs straight and raise the weights in front of your chest. They should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Slowly reduce the weights to get back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat.

Lat Pullover for upper back workout


  1. Place your legs on a bench or large exercise ball. Your knees should be bent. Each hand should have dumbbells.
  2. With your palms facing one another, raise the dumbbells above your chest. Newson suggests that you keep your back flat as you move.
  3. The dumbbells should be lowered to the floor with your head, and then raised up by bending your elbows. Keep them elevated above your chest and continue to do so.

Bent Over Dumbbell Row


  1. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, grab dumbbells in each hand and stand with your legs straight up.
  2. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward from the waist.
  3. Place your palms together and bring your elbow up to your waist.
  4. Slowly lower your dumbbells down and then switch to the other arm.

Wide Bent Over Row


  1. With your arms extended, hold a pair dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Keep your head up and wait until your chest is almost parallel to the ground.
  3. Lift your elbows towards the sides, and then lift the dumbbells to your chest. Your shoulders and arms should be straight.
  4. Keep your eyes on the top and then lower down to your original hinged position.
  5. Repeat.

Bent Over Y for upper back workout


  1. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and hinge forward to your waist. Each hand should hold dumbbells.
  2. Your shoulders should be pressed together. Bend your elbows and lift your arms to the side. Your arms should appear to be in a Y-shaped shape.
  3. Lower your arms to the starting position by pulling your arms back.
  4. Repeat.

It is important to strengthen your upper back. This area can improve your posture and balance as well as help you with other fitness activities, like strengthening your abs. There are many exercises that can be done to strengthen your upper back, including bent over rows and lat pulls. Anyone with a back injury or a problem with their upper back should avoid upper-back exercises. If you are new to a move, start with lighter dumbbells or none at all. Then, work your abs through upper-back exercises. These moves will ensure that your entire body is training equally and you will have a stronger overall body.