Back exercises

1 Arm Dumbbell Row With A Twist

The Dumbbell Row is a great single arm exercise for improving the back, particularly the latissumus dorsi and the teres major.

When adding a twist to the movement - like we enjoy doing at Body Conquest, it brings a little more emphasis to the latissimus dorsi than a regular row.

1 Arm Dumbell Row

The 1 arm or single arm dumbell row is a good back exercise for isolating one side of your body. This has it's advantages if you have devolped any imbalances in symmetry between left and right sides of your back.

The one arm row works the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboideus, and teres major and also the biceps brachii. Always remember to start with your weaker side first. This will prevent further imbalances developing.

Chin Ups

Body Conquest Trainer Ji Cottrill demonstrates how to correctly perform a chin up.

Deadlift Hyperextensions

Body Conquest Geelong Personal Trainer Ji Cottrill demonstrates how to perform a powerlifting assistance exercise called a deadlift hyperextension. This exercise is useful for strengthening the middle and lower back (erector spinae) to improve deadlifts.


The deadlift is a weight training exercise where a loaded barbell is lifted of the ground from a stabilised, bent over position.

It is one of the three canonical powerlifting exercises, along with the squat and the bench press.

Here, at Body Conquest, we believe that no training programme should be without a deadlift in it, due to the levels of strength and neural and muscular stimulation involved in the lift. Further, with all the hooplah these days with functional strength and movements, there is no more functional movement than a deadlift. Try picking up anything off the ground, from a box to a small (or large) child and you will see...

Face Pulls

The Face Pull is an exercise that is utilised by powerlifters to improve musculature and strength in the lower traps (one of the many reasons why these guys have such meaty looking necks).

Not just for aesthetic reasons, this exercise strengthens the neck and shoulder girdle for lifts such as the deadlift, and can prevent rounding of the shoulders and middle back during maximal lifts.

Floor Hyperextensions

Floor hyperextensions, and their more difficult variant - Supermans, are floor exercises utilised for working lower back muscles such as the Erector Spinae.

This can be a useful exercise for home programmes, gym programmes, or anywhere that has a floor really.. And I'm hoping most places have floors!

Good Mornings

A Good Morning is a weight training exercise that resembles bowing to greet someone "good morning". The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position, while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform the hip extension.

The Good Morning exercise is an often used exercise at Geelong based Body Conquest in training programmes, especially involving more experienced lifters. The Good Morning is one of the most important assistant exercises for developing strength for squats and deadlifts.

The Good Morning exercise has drawn criticism from many trainers and trainees claiming it can lead to injuries. However, if performed correctly, this exercise can strengthen the posterior chain and prevent injuries.


A hyperextension is an exercise that works the lower back, as well as the mid and upper back, specifically the erector spinae.

This can be an ideal exercise to perform at the end of a back programme to completely exhaust the lower back, strengthening the erector spinae for improved stability during exercises such as the deadlift and the good morning.

Lat Pulldown

A lat pulldown is an effective strength training exercise designed to develop the latissimus dorsi and teres major.

This is an ideal exercise for those that cannot perform a chin up or heave, as it does not require the ability to pull your own body weight.

An interesting myth is the idea that the term lat in lat pulldown stands for lateral, but actually stands for latissumus dorsi, as the movement is only partially lateral, but tends to involve more adduction and rotation of the shoulder joint.

Renegade Row

Everythime I hear the phrase Renegade Rows, I think of flashy scenes from Bladerunner or something cool. What is quite obviously not from Bladerunner, but may assist you in building a body similar to Rutger Hauer's is the almost whole body exercise named the Renegade Row.

Somewhere inbetween a cross of a pushup, a dumbell row and some funky break dancing is this exercise that is handy for something rather different or for use during Intense Cardio Exercise (ICE) sessions.

Reverse Close Grip Barbell Row

Like it's sibling, the wide grip bent over row, the reverse grip version is a back exercise that can stimulate a huge amount of muscular force on some of the bigger muscles.

The difference in grip placement elicits an additional response in the biceps brachii as well as the large back muscles.


Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row is a great exercise for the back for beginners and advanced trainers alike.

Utilising a cable allows for continuous pressure to be placed on the rhomboids, teres, trapezius and latissimus dorsi.

This is an Ingrid Barclay favourite, probably because she lifts a great deal more than Ji can...

Straight Arm Pulldown

The straight arm pulldown is an excellent back isolation exercise that removes the strain placed on the arms.

An ideal exercise for people with injuries such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), primarily working the teres and latissimus dorsi muscles.

V Bar Row

The V Bar Bent Over Row is a variation of a bent over row utilising a v bar (usually stolen, or "nicked") from a cable row machine, and placing a barbell into the crook of the V.

This exercise is a great variation for working the back differently to wide grip versions.

Wide Grip Bent Over Row

Few exercises get head trainer Ingrid Barclay as excited as the wide grip bent over row. Possibly because she can lift so much with it..

The wide grip bent over row is one of the best exercises for stimulating the large muscles of the back. Due to the amount of muscle used in this exercise, it is one of the more popular exercises used by bodybuilders, olympic weightlifters and powerlifters.