The back row


Topography

The back is the largest muscle group in the body and is also the most complex. From the top of the trapezius at the base of the neck to the bottom of the lower back muscles, a number of other muscles co-exist. As this is not an anatomy lesson and is aimed at beginners, there will be no discussion of each individual muscle. Maybe for another time. Suffice to say that we will divide the group of muscles in the back into the upper back muscles and the lower back as they have a somewhat separate motion.

The upper back muscles serve mostly to pull the arms and shoulders back while the lower back muscles extend the torso away from the legs. It is not possible to isolate each group completely as they assist each other yet completely different exercises will be need to target each group. At this stage we will focus on the upper back as exercises for it also recruits the lower back as stabilisers. The back row is the exercise that targets the whole upper back muscles and the latissimus dorsi in particular and to a lesser extent, the lower back in order to support the upper back. Continue reading