I used to be someone who’d spend hours focusing on the more “prominent” muscles like abs and biceps, only to wonder why my posture was lacking and my upper body strength wasn’t improving as hoped. That’s when I stumbled upon the importance of the middle back and the role it plays in our overall strength and posture.
Over the past year, I tried and tested a series of exercises right in the comfort of my living room. And let me tell you, the results have been nothing short of transformative.
I’m excited to share the 9 Best Middle Back Exercises that worked wonders for me and could do the same for you.
An excellent exercise for the entire posterior chain, these primarily target the middle back muscles. They also engage the lower back, glutes, and shoulders.
How To Do Supermans
Lay flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you, similar to a Superman flying position. Lift your arms and legs simultaneously, squeezing your back muscles. Hold for a few seconds before lowering.
This exercise requires no equipment and is great for activating those mid-back muscles.
The Superman exercise not only works on your middle back but also helps improve the strength of your lower back. It’s an all-rounder for the posterior chain, and regular practice can aid in preventing back injuries.
2. Scapular Push-Ups
Scapular push-ups are an often-overlooked exercise that targets the muscles between the shoulder blades, perfect for strengthening.
- Start in a plank position with arms straight.
- Without bending your elbows, lower your torso by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Then, press your torso back up by spreading your shoulder blades apart. Keep the rest of your body stable.
Advantages of the exercise
This exercise helps strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder blades, which are critical for maintaining good posture and ensuring proper shoulder function.
3. Band Pull Aparts
Resistance bands are fantastic tools for home workouts. They’re affordable, versatile, and ideal for exercises like this one.
How to Do It Correctly
Hold a resistance band with both hands in front of you, arms extended and palms facing down. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band apart by moving your arms out to the sides. Slowly return to the starting position.
Why You Should Do It
Band pull aparts are excellent for targeting the rhomboids and rear deltoids. They help in improving posture and shoulder stability. Plus, the resistance band provides constant tension, making it a highly effective exercise.
4. T-Y-I Raises
This trifecta of movements engages different parts of the middle and upper back, utilizing the shape of the letters T, Y, and I to guide the exercises.
- Lay prone on a mat.
- Start with the ‘T’ raise by extending your arms to the side, forming a ‘T’ with your body. Lift arms as high as you can then lower them.
- For the ‘Y’ raise, extend arms forward and out in a ‘Y’ shape, lift, and lower.
- Lastly, for the ‘I’ raise, stretch your arms straight overhead, lift, and lower.
The T-Y-I raises targets different parts of the middle and upper back, enhancing strength and flexibility. They’re particularly effective for the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades and the upper trapezius.
5. Face Pulls with Resistance Band
Although traditionally performed with a cable machine, face pulls can be effectively adapted for home workouts using a resistance band.
How To Do Face Pulls
Anchor a resistance band at about head height. Hold an end in each hand, palms facing each other. Pull the band towards your forehead, keeping your elbows high. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together. Slowly return to the start.
Reasons to Do These
Face pulls target the rear deltoids and upper traps, crucial muscles for maintaining shoulder health. They also work the rhomboids, helping to improve posture and combat the effects of long hours spent at a desk.
6. Prone Snow Angels
This is a fun exercise reminiscent of making snow angels as a child, but lying face down and focusing on the back muscles.
- Lay on your stomach on a mat.
- Extend arms overhead with palms facing down.
- Keeping arms straight, sweep them out to the sides and then down to your hips, similar to making a snow angel.
- Return arms to the starting position overhead.
Prone snow angels engage the entire posterior chain, with an emphasis on the muscles of the middle back. This exercise is great for enhancing mobility while simultaneously building strength in the back muscles.
7. Isometric Mid-Back Squeeze
Isometric exercises involve holding a contraction for an extended period. This exercise focuses on squeezing the muscles of the middle back.
Stand or sit upright. Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Imagine holding a pencil between your shoulder blades. Squeeze the blades together, holding the contraction for 10-15 seconds.
Why You Should Do It
Isometric exercises like this can help in building endurance in the target muscles. Over time, this can lead to better posture and reduced fatigue during other back exercises.
8. Dumbbell Bent Over Rows
If you have a pair of dumbbells at home, bent-over rows are a must-do exercise for the middle back.
How To Do These
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend forward at the hips, keeping the back straight.
- Pull the dumbbells to your hips by contracting your back muscles.
- Slowly lower them back down.
This compound exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. It helps in building both strength and muscle definition in the middle back.
9. Child’s Pose Stretch
While this is more of a stretch than a strength exercise, it’s invaluable for middle back health.
Start in a kneeling position, sitting back on your heels. Extend your arms forward on the mat, lowering your chest towards the floor. Stretch and hold.
The child’s pose is a relaxing stretch that elongates the muscles of the middle back, promoting flexibility and recovery. It’s a perfect way to wrap up your workout.
How often should I perform these exercises?
For optimal results, it’s recommended to incorporate these into your routine 2-3 times a week. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and ensure adequate rest between sessions to allow the muscles to recover.
Can these replace my need for a gym membership?
Yes, these exercises can be very effective in building and maintaining middle back strength. While a gym provides a variety of equipment that can further enhance your workouts, these home workouts offer a convenient and cost-effective way to target the middle back specifically.
Do I need any special equipment?
Most of these exercises don’t require any special equipment, making them perfect for at-home workouts. However, having a resistance band and a pair of dumbbells can further diversify your workout options and intensity.
Are these exercises suitable for beginners?
Absolutely! These cater to a range of fitness levels. If you’re a beginner, start with fewer repetitions and focus on maintaining proper form. As you become more accustomed to the movements and build strength, you can increase the intensity and repetitions.
How do I know if I’m performing these with the correct form?
Proper form is crucial to avoid injuries and ensure you’re targeting the right muscles. It’s beneficial to perform these exercises in front of a mirror initially to check your alignment.
Additionally, considering a virtual session with a personal trainer or watching reputable exercise videos can provide visual cues and tips for maintaining correct form.
Having journeyed through these nine exercises myself, I can honestly say that my middle back feels stronger and more flexible, and I’ve even noticed improvements in my posture. But beyond the physical benefits, the confidence and empowerment I feel in having a well-rounded fitness routine are priceless.
Give your middle back the attention it deserves. Trust me; it’s a game-changer.