The back in general is a highly coveted part of a bodybuilders anatomy. Even if you are not aiming tocompete professionally, developing your upper back will often result in hugely pleasing aesthetic results.
The best way to attack the upper back muscles is with compound exercises. Bear in mind that most back exercises are also especially demanding on your arms -mainly the biceps. Many people prefer to train the upper back and the biceps simultaneously. If you prefer to doso, I recommend leaving bicep exercises till the very end as you want your arms fresh for the back workouts.
1. Seated Cable Row - This is the premier upper back exercise. It attacks virtually ALL the upper back musclesand additionally, you are able to focus on different muscle groups by modifying the bar you use and also the angle with which you pull. A wider grip on a straight bar pulledhigher will work on the rear deltoids, teres and rhomboids while a close grip V-bar is harder on the latissimus dorsi muscles.
2. T-Bar Row - This is another old school back exercise credited with building Arnolds crazy trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles. Its an extremely effective upper back workout that has been used for several decades to build some of the most coveted backs we have ever witnessed. You really cant go wrong with the T-bar row and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Alwaysremember to squeeze the shoulder blade. Its great for the rhomboids.
3. Pull Ups - Wide grip pull ups are especially efficient atbuilding a great looking upper back. Your delts, traps and latissimus dorsi muscles all receive a good workout fromthe pull up. This is another versatile exercise that you canmodify by using different grips to target different parts of your upper back.
4. Dumbbell Row - A normally tricky exercise to do properly, the dumbbell row can reap amazing results if done right. I cannot emphasize the importance ofsqueezing and stretching your muscles whenever you are working on them.
5. Pull downs - This is an especially great exercise foroverall back development. I have to admit that I generally prefer pull ups to pulldowns but the pulldown machineallows for a stretch on the lats that pull ups cannot deliver. You can also work with a lot more resistance on the pulldowns which further fortifies your strength and triggers much more muscular development.
6. Shrugs - Shrugs are primarily a trapezius exercise. The trick with shrugs is.. wait for it... the squeeze! A lot of people just shrug flippantly and go through the motions.The idea is to shrug and hold the squeeze for a second andthen release. After that you should feel a more substantial workout. This will make your trapezius muscles pop and give you that imposing American footballer/rugby player look.