Back Muscles. How Well Do You Know This Muscle Group?

The Professor
The Professor
Gym Guru
back muscles

Ever wondered how some people have built their well-defined, strong, wide backs?

It definitely took them a lot of time, hard work and great dedication to the cause. However, the one thing they knew better than people who are just starting their back transformation journeys? They knew the anatomy of their back muscles. And now, you are wondering why is this knowledge so important?

In order to learn how to best work the back, you need to understand the anatomy of the muscles. Knowing your body well enough to train it correctly, gives you a huge head start. Imagine going to the gym and just doing a bunch of exercises. Let’s say you saw them from other gym-goers or an Instagram video. Are you sure the exercises are suitable for you? Are you doing them in a proper order? Are you doing them correctly? Without proper, reasonable knowledge about those exercises, you cannot achieve great results.

So, are you ready because I am going to unveil the truth?

The key to building a great, strong back is knowledge. Keep in mind that the following information is of high importance. You simply cannot build a V-shaped back without knowing which muscle groups you need to work.

Let’s start with the basics.

Your back is formed by many muscles that can be divided in three main muscle groups, each with a different function

  • Deep layer – move the back and trunk
  • Intermediate layer – respiratory muscles
  • Superficial layer – move the upper extremity

The muscles you need to target, located in the superficial layer, are the Trapezius, Lattisimus Dorsi, The Rhomboids muscles. In the Intermediate layer are three intrinsic back muscles. Together they form a column called Erector Spinae. Another important muscle is the Teres Major. These five muscles are the ones you need to bulk out to look big.


TRAPEZIUS – The Triangular Muscle


Location: Extending from the occipital bone that is located at the base of the skull all the way to the middle of the back

Upper Trapezius

Function:Shrugs the shoulders and bends the neck straight back

Middle Trapezius

Function: Retracts or pinches the shoulder blades together

Lower Trapezius

Function: Lowers or depresses the shoulder blades

Main Function: Stabilizing the scapula

Exercise: Smith machine shrug, leverage shrug, standing dumbbell upright row


RHOMBOIDS – The Rhombus-Shaped Muscles

Rhomboid Major Muscle

Location: Begins where the minor ends, at the second thoracic vertebra and continues to the fifth thoracic vertebra

Function: Keeps the shoulder blades attached to the ribcage. Rotates the shoulder blades and retracts them towards the spinal column.

Rhomboid Minor Muscle

Location: Begins at the last vertebra of the neck and ends at the first thoracic vertebra.

Function: Retracts the shoulder blades and rotates lower scapula back to rest position.

Exercise: Pull ups, standing T-Bar row, standing back fly




Location: Upper back on the outside below the armpit

Function: Adducts, extends, and medially rotates arm

Exercise: Lat Pulldowns, Pull Ups, Chin-Up, V-Bar Pulldown




Location: Parallel to your spine

Function: Extends trunk and vertebral column, keep your spine stabilized and upright

Exercise: Deadlifts, Hyperextensions, Stationary Rowing



Location: Underneath the Latissimus Dorsi

Function: Pulls the arms downwards and rotates them inwards

Exercise: Dumbbell Pullovers, Cable Pulldowns, Cable Pullover


Don’t hesitate to reread the above-given information when necessary.


I think you are ready to go now. In order to develop a powerful upper-body, you need to work on your back muscles. Now, that you have seen the basics, it would be easier to know what you should do next time you go to the gym.

There are many benefits of working out these muscles. No, I am not talking about a better, symmetrical body look. Back muscles support your spine, as well as your neck. By training these muscles, you make them stronger. This makes all everyday activities safer. In addition, a strong back means you will have the musculature to prevent rounded shoulders, neck, back and shoulder pain.


Final thoughts….

Still wondering how to build a V-shaped back? The above-mentioned muscle groups are the secret ingredient to a better looking body. Bulk them out to get a ripper look. Add the exercises to your workout routine to maximize your training effect. 

Remember, a wide, thick back is not an easy task yet it is a possible one. The first thing you need to do is to understand the basics of your back muscles. The second thing… Well, I think you know the answer to this one.


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Lazar Angelov
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