What is the best exercise for building back shoulder muscles?

My favourite back and shoulder exercises are always multi joint movements first, then isolated alternatives at the tail end of my workout.

If you are experiencing some stagnation with your training, and are up for an increase in growth, then I would recommend you implement some supersets and tri-sets. The reason being is that we are hitting the muscles constantly, without a break, therefore increasing the rate of muscle damage we’re inflicting. Taking this to another level would be to shorten those rest periods. Stay focused, allowing no more than 60 seconds. This is best during your hypertrophy phases only, not when building strength. Just keep that in mind.

4 legendary back exercises you need to do

Number one exercises:
Chin and pull up alternatives

Narrow parallel grip


Sternum chin-ups

These chin up variations target a variety of muscles within the back and shoulders (see each individual image shown). Starting off your shoulder and back session with chin ups, is a marvellous option. Because this is a multi-joint movement, you will be getting a lot more bang for your buck muscle activation wise. If you are scheduling these for a 4-week program, I would alternate the different hand placements to give you a lot more variety when targeting your upper back. If you find these hard to execute with body weight, then complete negatives until you get stronger.

Bonus tip: If you really want to increase your strength and muscle activation, use fat grips. Fat grips make these exercises torturous to do but think of the progress you will make in your back development, strength and other challenging lifts, such as dead’s. Please try this, as it’s one of the most effective ways to smash those muscles and increase hypertrophy – without lifting more weights.



Subscapularis pull up

Sternum chin-ups













Exercise two: Seated cable rows to neck. These are great finishers to your chest or back day. Make sure you position the pulley so that it’s directly in front of your pecs. Use the rope rather than the straight bar, to reduce stress on your forearms and wrists.
Make sure you eliminate the lower back from assisting with the exercise. Keep it perpendicular to the floor at all times. To increase the development of your rhomboids, pause for a moment when the shoulder blades are retracted.




Exercise three: One armed arc dumbbell row. This is a little bit different from the standard type, because you are bringing the dumbbell to your hip, instead of to your chest. The elbow needs to come up as high over the hip as possible. You should definitely feel this immediately! Please reduce your weight so you can perform a full range of movement on this one. For some people with shoulder injuries, this could prove to be painful – proceed with caution.






Exercise four: Negative seated cable row. This one is a little challenging to find an image for, and I will do my best to explain this in writing (and perhaps I’ll create a video tutorial for you too). Start the exercise like a normal row, then quickly pull yourself back, beyond the point where your upper back is perpendicular to the floor. Keep the handles close to your chest, return to perpendicular and then slowly allow your arms to straighten. This technique is great for pilling on the weight, which will effectively overload the eccentric portion of the exercise.

Execution – now do remember that it’s important to get those multi-joint movements out of the way in the beginning of your training session, then moving onto the isolated aspects of your workout. Perform chin ups and pull ups, bench presses, deadlifts etc at the start of your workout – to ensure you save your energy for the exercises resulting in the big changes. Please keep in touch and appreciate this information, why not stick with my fitness and health ranting via my website or join me on fb and insta social. Please feel free to upvote this answer if it has been useful in some way to you.

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