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5 sculpting back exercises for women — because we totally got your back

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

The best back workouts your gym routine's probably missing

The best back workouts your gym routine's probably missing
Image: Hero Images/Getty Images

We're always working on our glutes, quads, abs and arms, but a lot of the time our backs get seriously neglected.

More: Being a muscular women (unfortunately) puts a target on your back

By now we've debunked the myth that pumping iron will bulk you up, so why aren't we lifting weights to tone our backs? The short answer is we aren't looking at our backs everyday, so it's easy to forget about it. It's time we fixed that, because building up muscle in your back can help burn fat, increase resting metabolic weight (the number of calories that your body burns at rest), and reduce risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Try out these five exercises to get started.

The best back workouts your gym routine's probably missing
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

1. Dumbbell single-arm overhead squat

This is a full-body exercise that will make you feel strong from head to toe. You work your legs with the squat while targeting your upper and lower back with the overhead lift.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, one dumbbell weighing twice as much as the other (e.g., if one dumbbell is five pounds, the other should be 10 pounds). Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed straight ahead.
  2. Hold the light dumbbell overhead in your nondominant hand, with the heavier dumbbell between your legs, keeping both arms straight. Push your hips back and lower yourself until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor, holding the lighter dumbbell straight up over your shoulders, tightening the back of your shoulder and upper back muscles. Keep your abs pulled in tight.3
  3. Rise back to the start position and do one to two sets of 15 repetitions each. Switch arms and repeat.

"This move is effective because it works multiple muscles at once. You can get more bang for your buck! It tones your upper back and shoulder area and even works your core -- bonus!" Marks advises, "Be sure to keep you belly button drawn into your spine the entire time to engage your core. Don’t let your knees go past your toes when you squat."

Next Up: Dumbbell one-point row

Updated by Sarah Long 1/13/17.

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