Body + Mind is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through some of the links on our site.
When stepping into the gym to progress your fitness gains, you may wonder where to start. Building your back and shoulders are the perfect muscles to target to create an hourglass shape. No matter your personal goals, ensuring you have a strong upper body will help in your general life and when working to build your lower body too. Here are the best back and shoulder workouts to build muscle you can try the next time you head to the gym.
When you are looking to build muscle in your back and shoulders, there are exercises you can do to target that specific muscle group. Depending on your goals, you will want to start with compound lifts, which combine more than one muscle group at a time. You will want to do this because they use more energy than isolation exercises. When performing the compound exercises as a priority, people have reported more gains than focusing on only isolation exercises.
This does not mean that you should not include isolation exercises in your routine. Make sure you do 2-3 compound exercises before heading into 2-3 isolation exercises. When doing exercises, remember you need to challenge yourself so pick a weight you will be able to successfully complete around eight reps with, and when it becomes easy to reach around twelve, you increase the weight. When you follow the proper structure and continue to progress you will feel the benefits of joining the gym in no time.
Here are some back workouts to try in the gym.
The barbell row is a compound lift that primarily targets your lats, trapezius, and rear deltoids and secondarily targets your biceps, lower back and forearms. You can do this exercise with an overhand or underhand grip variation. Here is how to perform a barbell row.
Lat pulldowns are a compound exercise and are exactly how they sound. They primarily target the lats and secondarily work the biceps, rear deltoids and forearms. Use an attachment slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Here is how to do the lat pulldown.
Strong shoulders are essential to preventing injury and creating a strong upper body. Here are some exercises to help build your shoulder strength.
The seated dumbbell shoulder press is excellent for working your front deltoid. It secondarily works your triceps and lateral deltoid. Dumbbells are often used for this exercise because it increases the demand for shoulder stability and has a longer range of motion. Sitting down while doing it will reduce the need to stabilize your core so you can focus more on your press.
The primary muscle worked for the barbell upright row is the lateral deltoid. The secondary muscles are the front deltoid, trapezius and biceps. You can experiment with the grip to see what feels best for your body. This is how to do the barbell upright row.
Building muscle in your back and shoulders is a great way to improve your overall strength. Remember to be patient when waiting to see results and keep yourself accountable for the work you do put in to build the muscles.