5 Super Effective Back Exercises You Are Not Doing

#5. Dumbbell Incline Rows

As flawed as they are, rowing movements are absolutely necessary for building up your overall back width and thickness because they help target multiple muscle groups in the back complex, including the traps, rhombs and small muscles of the mid and upper back. That being said, there are many rowing variations out there today and to get maximum benefits, you have to choose the most effective one, which we strongly believe to be the dumbbell incline row.

This is because dumbbell incline rows utilize the same basic movement as the regular bent-over row, but with one big difference: your body is leaning against an incline bench during the movement, which makes the exercise significantly more effective. Why? For starters, it makes it harder to use momentum, so it enables you to maximize the tension on the lats and mid back. Also, since your upper body is fully supported, the amount of stress placed on your lower back is reduced drastically.

Finally, this version helps you maintain optimal rowing form all throughout the motion and better target your traps and lats. In addition, dumbbell incline rows also hit the deep posterior and anterior spinal muscles, which are extremely important for building a powerful core and improving balance and strength.

How to:

This exercise can be done either with dumbbells or by attaching a D-bar to both ends on a Double Cable Station.

  • Lie face down on an incline bench with your chest lying on the pad and your feet touching the ground for support and take a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and arms straight.
  • Begin the movement by pulling through the elbows, then row the dumbbells to your sides by retracting the shoulder blades and flexing your elbows.
  • Pause at the top of the motion and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the dumbbells to the starting position, making sure you achieve full extension.

Dumbbell Incline Rows


  • Don’t let your chest come off the pad.
  • If you find that you can’t squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, switch to lighter weights.

These five exercises could be exactly the boost you need to build a back that makes heads turn. Make no mistake, it takes a lot of work to make your back really stand out and it’s going to take more than pull-ups and bent-over rows to get there.

The back is a big and complex muscle area and focusing on just a few good exercises won’t give you sustainable progress in the long term. So shake things up by adding these five back busters to your routine and get a step closer to the monster back of your dreams!

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