Everyone wants a strong and muscular back. Not only does a strong back look good, but it's also essential for good posture and spine health. With the modern world creating negative effects on both of these, it's important to train your back regularly.
Here's a complete guide on gym equipment for back so you can decide which is best for you.
Table of Contents
- 10 Gym Machines For Back Workouts
- How To Get A Strong & Well-Defined Back (Effective Workout Routines)
- Frequently Asked Gym Equipment For Back Questions
10 Gym Machines For Back Workouts
1. Lat Pulldown Machine
The lat pulldown machine works using cables, weights, and a pulley system. The lat pulldown is a vertical pulling exercise that will build bigger lats. The movement is essentially the same as a pull-up; however, the bar is pulled down to the chest rather than the other way round.
This makes this piece of gym equipment for back an essential one as it has similar effects to a pull-up but allows us to do more volume as it’s a less demanding exercise.
It comes with a variety of handles for targeting different back muscles. You can also change your grip depending on what you're working on. For example, an underhand grip will work the biceps more while a wide overhand grip focuses on the lats.
The user sits at the machine and is held into position by thigh pads. The desired handle is attached and is held with whichever grip is being used. The handle is then pulled down to the top of the chest, squeezing the shoulder blades to contract the muscles, then the handle is slowly released upwards.
The arms fully straighten, allowing the handle to pull upwards and stretch the muscle. This equipment is an essential exercise for the back as it can target different back muscles, and it keeps the muscle under tension for longer.
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2. Seated Row Machine
The seated row is another cable machine that effectively strengthens the back while keeping the body in a supported position. This makes it a good choice for someone with back issues.
The machine is a horizontal pulling/rowing exercise that requires you to sit on a bench and targets the lats, upper back, and biceps. Sitting on the bench, hinge forward at the hips and grab the handle.
Ensuring the back is kept straight and the legs are slightly bent, pull the handle towards your chest and squeeze the shoulder blades. Allow the cable to pull back towards the machine with control and feel the stretch through your lats, then initiate the pull again, focusing on your upper back.
A stable spine here is important in order to isolate the back muscles, focusing on contracting and slow eccentrics to get the most out of this exercise.
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3. Endless Rope Pull Machine
The endless rope machine is an interesting one. It is a rope attachment that simulates climbing a rope and was developed to build upper body endurance and core strength.
It can easily be attached to anywhere you're able to hang anything, and it can be used vertically or horizontally.
While developing a well-defined back, the rope climb is also a highly enjoyable piece of equipment. The resistance levels of the rope machine can be changed, so it's something that can be used by everyone.
The rope can be used for longer than free weights, so, therefore, the muscles spend longer under tension which is ideal for endurance training. This machine is fun and best for endurance, but if you want to build size, there are more effective machines on offer.
This type of machine is also a great alternative to rope climbs at home!
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4. Pull Up Bar
A pull up bar is a piece of equipment every home gym owner should have as the pull up is the king of bodyweight movements.
Not only does it build amazing upper body strength, but your back is going to look muscular, and who doesn't love doing this impressive bodyweight movement?
With the desired grip (overhand, underhand, wide, or narrow), initiate an upwards pull by engaging the lats and pulling your chest to the bar. Lower with control until the arms are straight, and repeat.
A pull up bar is an inexpensive piece of equipment that can be placed in a door frame or attached to the wall or ceiling. The pull up bar is so effective because it builds your whole back and uses all muscles as one. The exercise can be progressed by adding a weight belt or a weighted vest.
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5. Assisted Pull-Up Machine
We have established that the pull up is one of the best bodyweight exercises for building back strength, but the demand for upper body strength is high and cannot be done by everyone. This is where the assisted pull up machine comes in.
This equipment is an exercise machine for those who can’t do a bodyweight pull up but want to work on their upper body pulling strength while developing the back muscles.
The machine has a pad that is attached to a cable and weight system so that you can choose how much or how little assistance you get from the machine. With the desired grip (overhand, underhand, wide, or narrow), kneel on the pad and initiate an upwards pull by engaging the lats. Keep pulling until your chest reaches the bar, then lower and repeat.
I don't feel as though this machine is necessarily the best as there are more effective ways we can improve on pull-ups using a pull up bar. The assistance machine may be good for beginners, but as you progress, the machine becomes redundant.
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6. GHD Machine
Many people struggle with lower back pain which comes from weakened muscles around the core, plus a sedentary lifestyle.
Our core is not just the six-pack abs that come to mind; it is the entire midsection and stabilizer muscles that keep us strong and moving optimally. More often than not, lower back issues come from weakness in the core. So what is the best exercise machine for lower back problems?
One of the best gym equipment to strengthen the core and lower back is the GHD (Glute Ham Developer), also known as the back extension. As the name suggests, it works not only the lower back but also the vital posterior chain muscles.
The GHD machine works by anchoring your feet into two pads. Then with your thighs supported by another pad, you lengthen out so your body is parallel to the floor.
Hinging at the hip, you allow your upper body to fold forwards, then contract your back muscles and glutes, pull yourself back up to the parallel position and repeat. This machine is for both beginners and advanced as it is an easy movement to learn and can be progressed by adding weight.
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7. Pullover Machine
The pullover machine is considered a highly effective upper body exercise as it works on a large range of upper body muscles. The primary muscle targeted in this exercise is the lats, but it also targets the chest, shoulders, and arms.
The machine has an adjustable seat and should be positioned so that your arms are bent overhead, and your elbows are resting on the elbow pads. The advantage of using this machine over free weights is that the resistance is constant throughout the movement.
Due to the fixed semi-circular arc, the weight is set to travel through it, offering a safer option and ideal for beginners. The abdomen should be engaged throughout the entire movement to protect the lower back from hyperextending when arms are overhead.
This machine is an excellent choice for full upper-body training, but the movement can also be effectively done using free weights.
8. T-Bar Row
The T-Bar Row is one exercise that must be incorporated into any upper body session as it is one of the most effective exercises to add size to your back and build some serious strength. The setup allows you to go heavier than other row variations.
This is because the T-Bar uses a neutral grip (palms facing towards each other) rather than an overhand grip, which is the strongest position to pull. It also puts you in a less vulnerable position (due to the angle) than other types of bent rows, so it’s better for those who have back issues.
The machine has different handles allowing you to change grip depending on the primary muscles targetted and providing the body more varied stimulus. The bar is anchored at one end with weight added to the other.
Standing over the bar with legs on either side, bend the legs and keep the back straight to get a grip on the handle. You should then find the position where your hips are pushed back, your legs are slightly bent, and your back is straight at roughly 45 degrees.
Engage the lats and pull the handle towards your chest, making sure you squeeze the shoulder blades at the top of the movement.
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9. 45 Degree Back Extension
The 45 degree back extension, also called the hyperextension, is a piece of gym equipment to strengthen the lower back. It is very effective and safe for building strength around the lumbar spine.
It is a great machine for both beginners who don't have enough strength yet to execute hinge exercises such as deadlifts, and for established lifters who can load up the movement to increase difficulty.
The machine is set at a 45 degree angle with an ankle pad to support you. You position yourself with ankles held in place and your thighs resting on the upper pad, with your hips free to flex forwards.
You should start with your upper and lower body aligned and with control flex forwards at the hip, as far as mobility allows. Then contracting the lower back muscles, pull yourself back to the start position and repeat.
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10. Reverse Hyperextension
The reverse hyperextension is another piece of gym equipment to strengthen the lower back and is similar to the hyperextension machine. The reverse hyperextension aims to target the hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings) while also targeting the erector spinae (the muscles in your lumbar) and keeping the mid to upper back stable.
The user lies their torso on the bench and positions the ankles in the footholds so the upper body is resting on the bench and the hip is right at the edge with the legs hanging straight down.
The legs are then lifted, creating extension through the spine at the top of the movement. The legs are then lowered, and decompression is created in the spine. This machine was invented due to a vertebral fracture, so we know it's highly effective.
The machine targets the posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings), which is a massive advantage to remaining healthy and strong and supporting your spine.
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How To Get A Strong & Well-Defined Back (Effective Workout Routines)
To build a strong and well-defined back, I believe the best way to do so is to ensure your routine contains a well-rounded mix of free weights, machines, and bodyweight exercises.
Back specific training days should always combine horizontal and vertical pulling and pushing movements. It's always ideal to start off with the heaviest exercise when you are fresh, such as a heavy T-Bar Row.
The best training plans are those that target different muscles in the back and allow overall strength to be built. A good back routine will also consider back health, particularly the lower back.
In order to grow strength and size, the ideal amount of training volume for your back is 10-20 working sets per week, using a variety of different exercises.
If a massive back is your goal, then you'd ideally need to train back more often, adding to the prescribed volume. You can train your back 2-5 days per week, considering the amount of volume that will get you desired results.
I believe that the best type of home gym equipment for the back is the T-Bar Machine, as it allows for multiple grips, including a neutral grip, which is superior for pulling strength.
It also puts the body into a more favorable position than some back exercises. I also think no home gym would be complete without a pull up bar as this is the king of bodyweight exercises and builds superior upper body strength and will add size to your back.
You are undoubtedly able to build a big and strong back using bodyweight exercises only. Still, in general, it is ideal to mix exercises such as pull-ups and use equipment that specifically targets different muscles in the back.
A wide rep range and weights should be used in order to create multiple stimuli and encourage both growth and improvement in strength.
While the idea of targeting fat in our body is a nice one, no specific exercise will necessarily get rid of back fat.
All of the exercises listed here will allow you to develop a full range of back muscles and help build a defined and strong back, but it is a focus on good nutrition and quality sleep habits that will reduce fat in this area in order to see a well defined back.
Frequently Asked Gym Equipment For Back Questions
How do you build a back workout machine DIY?
If you aren't keen to get specific machines to train back, there are ways you can modify your current home equipment. Methods such as attaching a cable and pulley system to row, using bands attached to a rig, or using a bench to do hyperextensions are a few ideas for getting creative with less equipment.
How do you strengthen your back without machines?
If you don't have access to gym equipment, it is possible to still build a strong back using bodyweight exercises only. Just look at professional gymnasts. The most effective way you can strengthen your back is by doing high-volume pull-ups, push-ups, supermans, and inverted rows.
There are many different ways we can build an impressive back. From bodyweight exercises to a huge variety of available machines, it may leave you wondering which is best.
A great back routine should incorporate vertical and horizontal push and pull using heavier loads and bodyweight exercises. Incorporating this with back extensions will leave your back bulletproof.
Last Updated on August 8, 2022
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