What would you say if I told you there were only 2 upper back exercises you need to do in order to get a yoked upper back and traps? In this video, I am going to show you the two upper back exercises that should make up the bare minimum of your back workouts. Not only are these two upper back exercises great for building big traps but they will also help you in your compound lifts.

60% off all AX programs – http://athleanx.com/x/2-for-upper-back
Subscribe to this channel here – http://bit.ly/2b0coMW

Some might tell you that you only need two exercises total in order to build a muscle group. I disagree. I don’t think anyone should be limited to picking just two exercises for a muscle group because each one often has multiple muscle heads as well as multiple functions that can be targeted individually through exercise selection.

The chest is great example of this; it has three heads as well as two separate functions. Some might tell you that all you need is a flat bench press and an incline bench press. You are only hitting two of the three heads of the chest with this selection and while you are pressing, you are not getting adduction – another function of the chest.

In the case of the upper back muscles, you need to understand that they include more than just the upper traps. The upper back is also made up of the middle and lower traps as well as the rhomboids predominately. Targeting and developing these muscles effectively will give that “yoked” appearance as well as provide stability and strength that will carry over to the big lifts.

See also  Build Big Biceps with Bands (NO WEIGHTS!)

Often in the case of performing compound lifts such as the bench press, squat, and deadlift; it is not the major muscle groups lacking strength that causes a failed lift. It happens to be the upper back not being strong or stable enough to handle such loads that end up causing the lift to fall apart.

In the case of the upper back, this is simply the foundation of what your upper back training should include. Not every upper back workout needs to include both of these exercises, but a complete training plan for your back will at least build off them or include them at some point.

The first upper back exercise of the only two upper two back exercises you need is a variation of what Swede Burns likes to call a Throat Pull. This exercise will target the upper traps, rhomboids, levator scap, and rear delts – the major muscles that make up the upper back. The first version of the Throat Pull requires a low anchored cable and a rope attachment. Lean forward with a good hip hinge, grab the rope with an overhand grip and row the ropes up towards the level of your neck. At the same time, you want to shrug the muscles of the upper back backwards instead of upwards like on a traditional shrug.

The other version of the throat pull can be performed on an incline bench with an E-Z curl bar. Kneeling over the bench with your chest on the pad, grab the bar and push back towards your body to engage your lats. From here, bring the bar forwards and again row up towards your neck while shrugging.

See also  Perfect Back & Biceps Workout | WORKOUT FOR MASS

Choose either variation as the first of your two upper back exercises, depending on what equipment you have access to.

The second upper back exercise you need to build a bigger upper back is one of my favorite exercises of all time. The Face Pull with an overhead raise. This exercise effectively targets the upper back muscles to help develop the middle and lower traps, rhomboids and rear delts. Remember that when performing this exercise, you want to achieve external rotation by leading the movement with the thumbs pointing backwards. Doing so will help keep the shoulders in a healthy position while building the supporting muscles of the upper back and traps.

You can superset these two exercises, as Swede mentions, to build muscle in the upper back. Building stronger muscles in this area is also important towards posture. Having poor posture not only affects your appearance, but how well you can perform in the gym as well. We know that bad posture creates limitations when performing exercises with proper form and range of motion.

Now, if you want to take your back training to the next level that hits every function of the upper back as well as targets the muscles from different angles, there are many exercises to choose from. I don’t think we should ever be limited to just two exercises for a muscle group, the upper back included. But you should at least start with these two exercises to build the foundation of your upper back’s growth.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step training program that will take your workouts to the next level, be sure to head over to athleanx.com and find the workout program that matches your goals.

See also  biceps and triceps workout 🔥💪 #short #youtubrshort #fitness

For more videos on how to get a bigger upper back and the best exercises to do just that, make sure you subscribe to this channel here on YouTube and remember to turn on your notifications so that you never miss a new video when it’s published.


37 thoughts on “The ONLY 2 Upper Back Exercises You Need (NO, SERIOUSLY!)”
  1. *VIEWER GIVEAWAY* – I’m giving away my brand new complete 90 Day Beaxst PPL program to 40 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 40, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! Clicking twice does nothing. Only one entry per video. Remember to watch to the end for more workouts.

    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    1. Has anyone won these? I’ve been in time for the past 3 but haven’t gotten lucky lol.

    2. bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh 10000th time better luck next time -.- yall dont give these out do you?

  2. This series is pretty interesting. For me, two exercises for the back would be a pullup and back extensions

  3. Could you do mid back next? That’s an area I’m struggling to target and develop. Loving this series so far its helped me be more efficient in my workouts since time is now a limiting factor.

  4. It’s very important to have the muscles in all areas of the back (top, mid, and lower). Because the muscles support the cervical, thoracic, and lumber parts of the spine—very very important!!

    1. still dont know where you wanted to go with this, title s states Upper back not complete back exercise

  5. After 10 years I’ve got a whole catalog full of the only 2 upper back exercises you need

  6. Interesting exercises (face pull I’ve seen done but never tried). And using the incline bench with a barbell I’d always do curls, never thought of it as a row for the back. Will definitely try this.
    Always learn something new here on Jeff’s channel.

    Thanks Jeff
    Athlean-X Subscriber

  7. These are good; since I do not go to a gym and do not have an fully inclinable bench, I would like to see what can be done using dumbbells and (maybe) a Total Gym.

  8. great video, I actually feel like this time I learned a lot even though it was shorter than usual

  9. That incline barbell swing-row looks interesting and fun, trying that out tomorrow.

  10. The only two series is helping me develop my own “perfect” total body weekly routine. Thanks, Jeff!

  11. The thing I love most about this channel that not a lot of other channels do is Jeff isn’t just focusing on being big for nothing he actually focuses on explosive athleticism and coordination. Without those aspects it’s like having a crazy cool car that’s a trailer queen and never hits the track to have real fun with it doing what it was made for!

  12. I swear this guy can read minds. I was just saying to myself i need to find good exercises for upper back width. Thanks Jeff.

  13. Also for me my personal opinion is having strong muscles in your back and general upper lower whatever helps you throughout the day just holding yourself up with your posture while you’re doing your work if it’s physical work factory constantly bending or just standing for long periods of time it kills your feet but if your back is strong enough you won’t buckle because one little mistake and you can hurt yourself doing anything

  14. Hi Jeff, thanks for posting these videos. I have been subscribing to your programs for almost 3 years now (beast, ultimate arms, Xero, Xero 2, elastix). I have been meaning to as if you’re considering coming up with a plan similar to ultimate arms but with bodyweight/elastics. Thanks

  15. For the face pull: I dont have two ropes, so I use Tie Down Straps and just wrap them around my hand. Works great in my opinion, and can get the perfect length.

  16. Deadlifts with chin-ups & pull-ups (3-4 sets) (8, 6, 4 reps)
    Cable/Barbell row (3 heavy sets)
    Face pull variation (3 light sets)
    Lat pulldown (3 sets)
    Straight bar lat pullover (3 sets)
    DB shurgs (3 sets)
    This is my back workout inspired by a lot of your videos. Tell me if it’s correct or not and it’s I perform them the sequence I have written them above

  17. So great to see Jeff working! It was cool to see Swede Burns, Jessie, and the camer man Monsour after just recently returning from AX Live! Keep up the good work guys! <3

    1. Hey Spidey! It was cool getting to know you at AX LIVE 2023! I completely agree with you. Jeff was 100% the same in real life as he is on his channel! Great week.

  18. This came at just the right time for me. I am not getting any more progress on my bench press (shoulder weakness) and I just got a massage yesterday and the therapist knew I was benching too much and separated my muscles in my upper back. Recommended bent over rows to help strengthen my scapulas.

Comments are closed.