The 4 Best Upper Back Exercises For Any Fitness Level

Training your upper back should be approached very carefully. Your back is a delicate structure and you need to choose upper back exercises according to your fitness level to avoid injuries. Once you feel comfortable with your current level of back exercises, you can move on to the next. This will keep your body guessing and will prevent an exercise plateau.


To help you do so, here are some of the best upper back exercises according to different fitness levels.

You can approach these exercises in 2 different ways

  1. The normal way – Do 3-4 sets of these back exercises with about 12-15 reps each.
  2. The superset way – For faster results, do one upper-back exercise and then another immediately after that another one. Rest and repeat 2-3 times.

Beginner upper back exercises

Some of the easiest beginner upper back are Shoulder Shrugs and the Seated Row. Here’s how you do those exercises.

Shoulder shrugs

You begin by standing with your feet hip width apart, your arms at your sides and your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in your preferred weight in each hand with palms facing in Slowly shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, keeping your abs tight. Hold for 3 counts and lower your shoulders to starting position. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

Seated machine row

Select the seated row machine at the gym. It’s an effective and easy to do beginners back exercises. Just select the weight load that you are comfortable with and slowly row the machine handles to the back.

Intermediate level exercises for your upper back

If you are a little more fit than just a beginner you can include this exercise into your upper back/body exercise routine.

One arm dumbbell row

You will need an exercise bench and a dumbbell to perform this exercise. You start with your right foot flat on floor and left knee on the bench. Lean forward so that you are supporting your upper body weight with your left arm. Reach down and pick up a dumbbell with your right hand. Slowly row the dumbbell up towards your your chest, ending parallel to your torso. Make sure not to hunch or round your back; keep it flat.

Advanced upper back exercise

If you feel up to it, you can add this more advanced move to your upper back training routine:

Dumbbell pullovers

You start the exercise by lying across a flat bench with only your upper back on the bench. Lift the weight over your head and hold it straight at arms length over your face. To do the movement – lower the dumbbell slowly without raising your hips. Hold that position for one count and raise the weight back to the start position. Repeat for the remaining reps.


All these upper back exercises will give you excellent results and will tone and sculpt a beautiful upper back. Just pick the exercise that’s suited for your fitness level and include it into your upper body training routine for best results.

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