Best Gym Equipment For Back Day – Garage Gym Pro

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.

1. Lat Pulldown Machine  

A lat pulldown machine is one of the best exercise machines for developing a strong back. 

A lat pulldown is a vertical pulling exercise which engages the lats and upper back.

It's essentially the same exercise as a pull up, but the bar is pulled to your chest, rather than your chest to the bar. 

This back exercise equipment works using cables, weights, and a pulley system. 

It comes with a variety of handles for targeting different back muscles. You can also change your lat pulldown grip from wide to narrow depending on what you're working on. 

This is one of the essential exercise machines for building a strong and broad back. It has similar benefits to doing a pull-up but allows us to do more volume as it’s a less demanding exercise. 

How To Use The Lat Pulldown Machine:

  1. Sit facing the machine with the desired handle attachment fixed to the cable above you
  2. Reach up and grab the handle about shoulder width apart (you can vary the grip for other workouts)
  3. Pull the handle down to the top of the chest, squeezing your shoulder blazes to contract your latissimus dorsi 
  4. Slowly release the handle upwards allowing your back muscles to stretch out
  5. Repeat for 8-12 reps

Key Reasons To Use A Lat Pulldown Machine:

  • One of the easiest gym machines to use
  • Cables put your upper body under tension for longer
  • Builds your latissimus dorsi and upper back muscles effectively

Related Article - How Much Weight Should I Use For Lat Pulldowns?

Our Favorite Lat Pulldown Machine

GDLF LAT Pull Down Machine Low Row Cable...
1,177 Reviews
GDLF LAT Pull Down Machine Low Row Cable...
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2. Seated Row Machine 

The seated row is one of the best back exercises, so it makes sense that the seated row machine is one of the best gym machines to build your upper body.

The seated row is a cable machine back exercise that strengthens the mid and upper back while keeping the body in a supported position.

Seated row back workout machines support a horizontal pulling/rowing exercise. By sitting down, you isolate and target the lats, upper back muscles, and biceps. 

How To Use A Seated Rowing Machine:

  1. Sit on the seated cable row machine bench, facing the handle
  2. Lean forward, bending at the hips, and grip the handle
  3. Keep your back straight and legs slightly bent, and lean forward to pull the handles towards your chest
  4. Keep your spine straight and focus on slow, controlled seated row movement
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as the cable reaches your chest and engage your upper back
  6. Allow the cable to pull back towards the rowing machine with control and feel the stretch through your lats

Key Reasons To Use A Seated Row Machine:

  • Simple, controlled movement 
  • Isolates your upper back muscles to focus development
  • Supports your body which is really useful for anyone with back issues
  • Great alternative to barbell rows if you struggle with the complete hip hinge movement

Our Favorite Seated Cable Row Machine

Valor Fitness CB-12 Lat Pull Down Cable...
  • HEAVY DUTY- Constructed from 2” x 2”...
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3. Endless Rope Pull Machine

The endless rope pull machine is one of the more unique back exercise machines that's fun and effective. 

This back workout machine is essentially just a rope attachment which can be attached anywhere. You then pull it down towards you repeatedly in a similar way to climbing a rope. 

The resistance of the rope pulls can be changed so it's a good way for people of all abilities to improve their back strength, core, and grip. 

Rope pulls were developed to give you all the benefits of climbing from the comfort of indoors.

They're an enjoyable way to build strong back muscles, and one of the best ways to improve your muscular endurance. 

How To Use An Endless Rope Pull Machine: 

  1. Attach the equipment to a stable surface above you
  2. Set the resistance on the machine to the right level
  3. Stand facing the rope and grip it with both hands, thumbs facing upwards
  4. Pull the rope down, hand over hand, at a steady pace
  5. Continue for as long as possible

Key Reasons To Use An Endless Rope Pull Machine:

  • Great home alternative to rope climbs
  • Effective functional strength training
  • Helps to develop definition in your back, arms, and build a strong core
  • Easy to use with adjustable resistance for all fitness levels 
  • Fun to use

Our Favorite Budget Rope Pull Machine

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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 body weight movements. 

The pull up bar is one of the best back workout machines because it builds your whole back in a compound movement, using a wide range of muscles together. 

Not only do pull ups build amazing upper body strength, but your back is going to look muscular, and who doesn't love doing this impressive body weight movement?

Depending on how you grip the bar, pull ups can also be a great bodyweight exercise for your biceps as well.   

The exercise can be progressed by adding a weight belt or a weighted vest if it starts to get too easy.

How To Use A Pull Up Bar: 

  1. Stand facing the bar and grip if with and overhand, underhand, wide, or narrow grip
  2. Engage your lats and pull your chest up towards the bar 
  3. When your chest reaches the bar, pause for a second, and then slowly lower back down
  4. Control the movement down until your arms are straight and then repeat

Key Reasons To Use A Pull Up Bar:

  • Really cheap 
  • Pull ups are a great alternative to lat pulldowns
  • Can be installed anywhere, doorframe, wall, ceiling etc. 
  • Engages a wide range of muscles in one movement
  • Functional strength training which builds a broad back

Also Check Out - Best Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bars

Our Favorite Freestanding Pull Up Bar & Power Tower

Sportsroyals Power Tower Dip Station Pull Up...
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5. Assisted Pull-Up Machine 

Pull ups are one of the best exercises for building back muscles and strength, but you need a base level of strength to be able to do them. 

An assisted pull up machine is a specific piece of exercise equipment designed for those who can't do a body weight pull up.

This exercise machine uses a pad under your knees to provide support and lower the effort required to pull up. The level of support can be adjusted, so you can still push yourself with every rep. 

You can improve on pull-ups using a wall or ceiling mounted pull up bar, however, an assisted pull up machine is a great way for beginners to build a strong, toned, and defined back.

How To Use An Assisted Pull Up Machine: 

  1. Facing the machine, put your knees on the support pad and set the resistance
  2. Engage your lats and pull your chest up towards the bar 
  3. When your chest reaches the bar, pause for a second, and then slowly lower back down
  4. Control the movement down until your arms are straight and then repeat
  5. Adjust the resistance so you're continually challenging yourself

Key Reasons To Use An Assisted Pull Up Machine:

  • Excellent exercise for beginners looking to build functional strength
  • Easy and safe to use
  • Helps build back strength, but also develop your whole body

Our Favorite Assisted Pull Up Machine

Titan Fitness Plate-Loaded Assisted...
  • VERSATILE PULL-UP STATION: Improve your...
  • BUILT-IN DIP STATION: Develop upper-body...
  • VERTICAL KNEE RAISE STATION: Strengthen your...
  • Net and User Weight: 400 LB

6. GHD Machine 

A GHD machine, often called a back extension machine, is the best way to work out the major muscle groups in your back if you suffer from back pain

Lower back pain is typically caused by a weak core. Not sure your six-pack abs, but your entire midsection and stabilizer muscles that give us the core strength to move. 

The GHD (Glute Ham Developer) back extension machine targets your lower back muscles, core, and legs in one movement.

It's good for beginners, and more experienced users can add weight to make it more challenging. 

How To Use A Back Extension Machine: 

  1. Lie on the back extension machine with your feet resting on two pads, and thighs supported by another pad
  2. When you're parallel to the floor, hinge your hips and let your torso fold forward
  3. Contract your back muscles, core, and glutes to straighten yourself up again
  4. Repeat with a slow, controlled movement

Key Reasons To Use A Back Extension Machine:

  • Safe training that can help alleviate back pain
  • Trains lower back and the vital posterior chain muscles [1]
  • Improves flexibility as well as strength
  • Easy movement which is good for beginners and advanced users 

Related Article - Best Gym Machines For Glutes

Our Favorite GHD Machine

TACVPI Champion Heavy Duty Steel Glute/Ham...
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7. Pullover Machine 

The pullover machine isn't just great for your back, it's great for your whole upper body. It's perfect for anyone who's serious about improving their physique and building their strength. 

A pullover machine primarily targets the lats, but also engages your chest, shoulders, arms, and core

The movement involves pulling a bar down in a fixed, semi-circular arc across your body.

The consistent tension increases muscle activation in specific muscle groups, and stabilizing muscles - which can help you make significant gains

How To Use A Pullover Machine: 

  1. Adjust the seat so that your arms are bent overhead, elbows resting on the pads
  2. Load up the weight and sit facing away from the exercise machine
  3. Engage your core, and pull the bar down in front of you over your chest
  4. Pause at the bottom, and then slowly raise it back up to starting position

Key Reasons To Use A Pullover Machine:

  • Provides full upper body training 
  • Safe and controlled training - no risk of injury
  • Really easy to perform and perfect for beginners

Related Article - Best Pullover Alternative Exercises

man in black shirt and red shorts using a pullover machine at the gym

8. T-Bar Row 

The T-Bar Row is a key exercise for anyone looking to add size and bulk to their back.

The T-Bar movement is similar to rowing and involves pulling an anchored barbell up towards you.

It's a fantastic alternative to a rowing machine but geared more towards building size than cardio.

However, this barbell row is done at a different angle - which allows you to lift more and isolate specific muscles more than other back machines.

T-bar rows primarily target your lats and back muscles, but you can alter the grip or use different attachments for other types of bent over rows. 

How To Use A T-Bar Row Machine: 

  1. Stand over the loaded barbell with one leg on either side
  2. Bend at the hips, keep your back straight, and reach down to grab the barbell with both hands
  3. Keep proper form, with your knees bent slightly and your back at about 45 degrees 
  4. Engage your lats and row the bar upwards towards you
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top, then slowly return to the start

Key Reasons To Use A T-Bar Row Machine:

  • Increases size and strength of back muscles
  • Improves posture and helps you develop a strong core
  • Safer movement than traditional rows
  • Thicker muscles and better definition across your back

Also Check Out - Barbell Rows Vs T-Bar Rows

Our Favorite T-Bar Row Machine

9. 45 Degree Back Extension 

If you want to strengthen your lower back and improve your posture then the 45 degree back extension machine, sometimes called hyperextension back exercise machines, are what you need. 

These gym machines isolate your lower back and take almost everything else out of the equation.

This back exercise machine literally does it for you. The 45 degree angle from the bench helps you engage your back muscles safely, and ensures you get the right form. 

This is the perfect back exercise equipment for beginners who don't quite have enough strength for deadlifts yet. 

How To Use A Hyperextension Machine: 

  1. Position yourself with ankles held in place and thighs resting on the upper pads
  2. Flex your hips as far forward as they will go
  3. Contract your lower back muscles and pull yourself back to starting position
  4. Keep the movement controlled and then repeat

Key Reasons To Use A Hyperextension Machine:

  • Easy to use with the proper form
  • Strengthens your lower back and improves your posture
  • Prepares you for other back exercises
  • Small and affordable - great for home gyms

Related Article - Back Extensions Vs Glute Ham Raises

Our Favorite 45-Degree Back Extension Bench

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Sunny Health & Fitness 45-Degree...
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10. Reverse Hyperextension  

The reverse hyperextension is a great piece of back exercise equipment, and it targets your entire posterior chain and hip flexors (back, glutes, hamstrings).

It's a great back workout machine for older people, or anyone who wants to stay healthy, strong, and mobile.  

The movement works in a similar way to some leg workout machines, engaging your glutes and hamstrings, while also targeting the erector spinae (which are the key muscles in your lower back). 

The controlled movement keeps your upper back stable, isolating the lower back muscles. It's easy to perform and works well for beginners. 

How To Use A Reverse Hyperextension Machine: 

  1. Lie on the bench with your ankles in the footholds, legs hanging straight down
  2. Lift your legs, creating extension through the spine at the top of the movement
  3. Lower your legs, causing decompression in the spine 
  4. Repeat as needed

Key Reasons To Use A Reverse Hyperextension Machine:

  • Improves poor posture and protects your back health
  • Improves him flexibility 
  • Gives you better resilience so you're less likely to become injured
  • Great for home gyms and easy for beginners

Our Favorite Reverse Hyperextension Bench

Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair /...
2,932 Reviews
Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair /...
  • VERSATILE EQUIPMENT – This training bench...
  • HYPEREXTENSION BENCH – The Marcy Roman...
  • INTEGRATED PADDING – This gym equipment...

How To Get A Strong & Well-Defined Back (Effective Workout Routines)

The key to building a strong and well-defined back is effort and dedication. If you plan and stick to an effective routine you should see good results. 

Here are some tips for building strength:

Choose The Right Equipment

We've already covered this above, but by choosing a mix of the best back workout machines can help you grow a thick back.

You can also mix in free weights and body weight exercises. A T-Bar Row Machine is one of the best back machines for growing your back. 

The angle really isolates the back muscles, and you can mix up grips and use different attachments to hit other muscle groups. 

A Pull Up Bar is also a useful piece of equipment. It doesn't cost much, barely takes up any space, and pull ups can help you build serious strength across your back. 

Remember, our list is just a guide and there are other effective back machines out there. A Rear Delt Fly Machine can help you build serious muscle - but it's quite expensive for a home gym. 

Organize Your Training

Many bodybuilders and elite lifters have a day for each of the specific muscle groups. Having a back day is a good way to focus your training and maximize your gains.

Remember to mix in horizontal and vertical pulling and pushing movements using a variety of back machines. It's also a good idea to start with your heaviest compound lifts while you're fresh.

The best training plans are those that target different muscles in the back, back health, and flexibility - particularly in the lower back. 

Put In the Volume

To grow the strength and size of your back you should aim for 10-20 working sets per week, using a variety of different exercises on back machines. 

You should aim to do back training 2-5 days per week, but make sure you respect your rest days too.

Lift The Right Weight And record Your Progress

The key to muscle development and back training is to continually challenge yourself. 

Find your max weight on each of the back machines and record your progress.

As soon as you start to feel comfortable add more weight, and you'll continue to grow and improve your strength.

Remember, it's a gradual process and you won't build muscle and lose back fat over night. 

Sleep And Nutrition Are Key

All of the back machines listed here will allow you to develop a defined and strong back.

However, 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 [2].

shirtless man doing a pull up in front of a mirror

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 DIY 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.

Effective back training 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 January 2, 2023

Jo Taylor

Jo Taylor

Hi, I’m Jo. I love sunrise swims, cold water immersion and cats. I have been dedicated to strength training for the past 14 years. I became a qualified Personal Trainer in 2020, and am passionate about helping my clients get stronger. Visit Jo Taylors Website