Episode 41 – Three back exercises your personal trainer expects you to do


You know how to work the chest, the abs, the legs and the arms! What about your back?


While you might be able to skip “Back day” when you train yourself, it is completely different when you have a trainer! They will definitely make you include back exercises. But don’t be afraid!

The following back muscles will get you a better overall physique and will add depth to your body (and metabolism) in a way that will almost match good leg development.


But first, what makes a back?

The back is composed of a number of key muscle groups including:

  • Latissimus dorsi (or the lats)
  • Rhomboids
  • Trapezius muscles
  • Deltoids
  • Spinal Erectors


Note: when starting out and particularly to save time, it’s suffice enough to perform compound or whole body exercises to recruit your back muscles. There’s no need to isolate each muscle individually.


Now, let’s get into it!


Three back exercises your personal trainer expects you to do!


1.Chin Ups

Chin ups are at the top of the list for a reason! These are the standard in back training and should always be in your gym program. Funnily enough, you never get good at doing them so you’ll constantly battling against chin ups. And I mean that in a positive way!


What do they work?

Chin ups will work the forearms, biceps, and lats in particular but you’ll also find the core and shoulders will fire as well.


How do you perform these back exercises?

To do a chin up, simply find yourself a chin up bar and place your hands on them – overhand grip (palms facing down) – about shoulder width apart. Next begin to pull your body towards the bar until your chin reaches the bar.  Finish by slowing returning back down to the start. Breath in as pull up.

Chin ups

The last movement in this set of back exercises is a winner! Read on below.



2.Cable Archers Row

Cable archers row are another back exercise you will do with your personal trainer.


What do they work?

This exercise is great for working the whole body (not just the back) because of the interplay between your arms, shoulders, core / torso region as well as back, hip and leg muscle to perform the movement.


How to do them?

To perform this back exercise, set up the cable handle at about chest height in front of you. While facing the cable machine, move into a split stance (left foot forward) and then grab the handle with your right hand. Pull the handle towards your chest like an archer draws their bow to fire the arrow (just don’t let go of the handle!). When finished, return to the starting position. Remember to perform for the other side as well.


Note: you can also do this with powerbands.

Cable Archer's row - video 1

Cable Archer's row - video 2

3.Cable kneeling lat pulldown

Cable kneeling lat pulldown is a brilliant exercise variation of the lat pulldown machine except it allows for proper core muscle recruitment.


What does it work?

It works on the back and arm muscles in particular and also includes the core and gluts as well to fix and stabilise your body to the ground.


How do you perform back exercises like these?

To perform a cable kneeling lat pulldown simply kneel in front of a cable machine with a handle in both hands. Brace your core (and mid-section) and then begin to pull down on the handles towards your body. Once at the end bring your chest out and squeeze your back. While maintaining your core, slowly return the handles back to the starting position.

Cable kneeling lat pulldown

Got back!?

Back training is simple! Get these three essential back exercises in your program and work hard with your trainer to get your results! 

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-Scott Webb thank you for the photo


  • Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  • Cooley, B. (2005) The Genius of Flexibility: The smart way to stretch and strengthen your body. Fireside
  • Erhman, J. Gordon, P. Visich, P. Keteyian, S. (2003) Clinical Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
  • Porth, C. (2002) Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States (6th Ed.) Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Scientific Publishing, Ltd. (no author) (2006) Scientific Publishing’s Anatomy Chart Book. Scientific Publishing Limited
  • Sherwood, L.(2004) Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems (5th Ed.) Thomson, Brooks/Cole

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.


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