Exercises for the Upper Back Muscle

Performing exercises for development of the upper back muscles is essential for postural improvement and for arm and shoulder movement. The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major, teres minor and rhomboids are all muscles that either assist in the movement of the scapula or adduction, abduction and rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint. Also, training the posterior or rear deltoids can be included in your back workout to assist in the prevention of rounding the shoulders.

Cable Seated Rows

Perform these by sitting facing a cable machine with a low-pulley. Use a straight bar attachment. With a slight bend in the knees, a slightly arched back and a wide grip, pull the bar toward your chest. Elbows should be high, approximately shoulder level, and forming a 90-degree angle at the end of the move. Maintain a rigid torso and avoid bending forward and pulling back.

Bent-Over Row

This move can be done using an Olympic-style barbell, a curl bar, dumbbells or a resistance band. Bend forward from the hips to bring upper body parallel to the floor. Slightly bend knees, tighten your abdominals and stick out the chest to avoid undue stress on the lower back. Row the resistance from a hanging position up into the body. Target upper back muscles by rowing resistance to the chest area. Elbows should be out away from your body and pointing up to the ceiling at the end of this move.

Overhand Lat Pulldowns

Although this move primarily targets the latissimus dorsi, or lat muscles of the lateral aspect of the back, upper back muscles are trained as well. Sitting at the pull-down machine, grab the bar with a wide, overhand grip, meaning your palms are facing away from you. Lean back and slightly arch the back by sticking your chest out. Pull the bar down to your upper chest and squeeze your elbows inward at the end of the move.

About this Author

Everett Callaway has been writing for 20 years, focusing on health, fitness and exercise topics. His earlier accomplishments include songwriting for several published and recorded artists. Callaway boasts a Bachelor of Science in sports and fitness from the University of Central Florida. He also holds a strength and conditioning certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.