17 Back Workouts For Women – The Best Exercises To Tone Your Back

Anything bothering you? If you said “my back,” you’re in good company. Eighty percent of people report pain in this area at some point, according to the American Chiropractic Association. (Just a guess…your back muscles could probably use a little attention right about now.)

Thought so, seeing as how when the WH fitness team conducted a little social (media) experiment to see which types of workouts our followers love most, we discovered that–*pause for dramatic effect*–those that focused on the back were saved more than any other type of sweat session on our feed. What to do with that info? Bring you the ultimate at-home version, ‘course! Before we get into the moves themselves, it’s important to understand there are two types of muscles in your back–ones built to hold up your frame for hours on end and ones intended to help you lift heavy stuff like groceries, kids, furniture, and weights. And those responsible for posture (part of that first, key set) are typically undertrained yet primed for results, according to certified athletic trainer Vanessa Abrams, a human-anatomy lecturer at Howard University. “Back muscles are more resistant to fatigue than others, like your forearm muscles,” she says. “So while maxing out may be difficult, high reps and sets are especially beneficial.” Duly noted. Teaching your back how to lift loads longer without wearing out will help you build more muscular endurance…which in turn will reduce those pesky aches and help you sculpt your bod, according to Colleen Conlon, CPT. She firmly believes that back workouts make *everything* better. For starters, they’ll improve your posture, which is oh-so-necessary for folks who sit a lot during the day. (Guilty!) “If you’re going to be stationary, you need to strengthen your back so you’re not rounded,” says Conlon. So long, sad-desk hunch. Another perk? Targeting the muscles that support your spine translates to major gains in many aspects of daily life, says Abrams. “It can help decrease pain associated with large breasts, repetitive lifting, or prolonged periods spent sitting or even with shoulders retracted while accomplishing a DIY protective hairstyle, like braids,” she says. Same goes for blowouts!Ready to get in on these gains? Good! Start with the back workout for women below.

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment:free weights

Good for: Back

Instructions:Choose five moves below and perform 15 to 20 reps of each, then continue immediately to the next; at the end, rest for up to two minutes. That’s one set. Repeat the entire routine once or twice more. You’ll need weights (start with 10 pounds or less). This could be a pair of dumbbells, but whatever else you have on hand that happens to be the same size, like water bottles, will work. You’ll know you’ve hit your strength sweet spot if the last couple of reps leave you saying phew! Don’t feel that fatigue? Take it up a notch next time. Ready, set, sweat

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1Upright Row

How to:Start standing with feet hip-width apart, arms reaching toward floor, with hands holding weights against thighs and palms facing body. Pull elbows wide and up to slightly above shoulders, so hands reach chest height,then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

2Reverse Fly

How to: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet hip-width apart and knees bent. Push hips back to hinge torso forward at 45 degrees and let arms hang straight down from shoulders, palms facing each other. Raise both arms out to sides and squeeze shoulder blades together. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

3Eccentric Bent Over Row

How to: Start standing with hips pushed back so torso is tilted 45 degrees, arms extended toward floor, hands holding weights. Pull both hands up alongside rib cage in a count of one, then lower them back down to start in a count of three. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

4Bird Dog

How to:Start on all fours with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. At the same time, extend right arm and left leg to straight in the air so both are parallel to the floor. Return to start and repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

5Single-Arm Bent-Over Row

How to:Start with feet hip distance apart, weight(s) in right hand. Hinge at the hips, keeping head in line with tailbone. Bracing core, pull right elbow back until right wrist is near ribs. Return to start to repeat. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side, then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

6Single-Arm Rear Delt Raise

How to: Grab a dumbbell in left hand and bend forward at hips, resting right hand on thigh for stability. Let the dumbbell hang straight down from shoulder, palm facing forward. Without moving torso, raise arm straight back until it’s a few inches above your body. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side, then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

7Bent Over Row

How to: Start standing with hips pushed back so torso is either tilted 45 degrees or parallel to floor (as pictured), arms extended toward floor, hands holding weights. Pull both hands up alongside rib cage, then lower them back down to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

8Dumbbell Good Morning

How to:Start with feet shoulder-width apart standing up straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand resting on shoulder blades with elbows wide. Maintain a soft bend in knees, engage glutes, and push hips back while lowering torso toward floor until parallel. Reverse the movement, pushing your hips forward as you stand tall. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

9Superman

How to: Start lying on stomach with arms and legs extended on the floor so body forms one long line, forehead on mat. Engage abs, squeeze glutes and lift all four limbs, plus chest and head a few inches off the ground, keeping your neck neutral by gazing at top of mat. Hold for 3-5 seconds then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

10Dumbbell Deadlift

How to:Holding dumbbells in hands in front of thighs with palms facing body, start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Keeping knees slightly bent, press hips back and hinge at the waist to lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Squeeze glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

11Arnold Press

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, with elbows bent and palms facing body. In one motion, bring elbows out wide to sides while rotating hands so palms face forward and pressing the dumbbells overhead until arms are straight and biceps are by ears. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

12Prone Row

How to:Begin in plank position with hands resting on weights, wrists straight, and legs hip-width apart. Keeping back flat, pull left fist up to bottom of rib cage with elbow aimed toward ceiling, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side, then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

13Pushup

How to: Start in a high plank position. Engage abs and bend arms to lower body toward floor in one straight line from head to heels. Elbows should point out at 45-degree angles away from body. Press back to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

14Single-Leg Row

How to:Hold a dumbbell in left hand, palm facing body, and raise left foot behind you. Hinge forward, letting the weight hang directly under shoulder as you lower torso and raise right leg until both are parallel to the floor. This is the starting point. Bring the dumbbell to rib cage; pause, then slowly lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side, then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

15Plank Up Down

How to:Get into a high plank position, with shoulders stacked over wrists. (Put knees on the ground, if you prefer.) That’s your start position. Lift right hand, and lower down onto right forearm. Then repeat on the other side. Reverse the movement and return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

16Front Raise To Lateral Raise

How to:Start standing with feet hip-width apart, arms reaching toward floor, with hands holding weights against thighs and palms facing body.Engage core, keep arms straight, and raise the weights in front of you, until they are in line with your shoulders. Lower back to start, then bring the weights out to the side, again to shoulder height. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

17Reverse Snow Angel

How to:Start lying face-down on floor with legs extended straight, forehead resting on a folded mat or towel, and arms by sides lifted in line with hips, palms down. Keep arms straight and palms facing the floor, then bring arms out to the side in a wide arc and overhead, bringing biceps by ears. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps then continue immediately on to your next move. (Remember: You’re doing five total.) After you finish your last exercise, rest for up to two minutes, then start over from the top for a total of two or three rounds.

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