🏋️‍♂️ 7 best barbell exercises for a stronger back

Today’s newsletter is presented by HOP WTR. Celebrate Sober October with HOP WTR’s line of non-alcoholic sparkling hop water crafted with adaptogens and nootropics. Head here for a chance to win a three-month supply.

Here’s what we’ve got for you in this Friday edition:

  • All the best ways to train you back with a barbell.

  • Bodyweight movements to build up your chest strength.

  • The best workouts you can do with battle ropes.

Exercise Tips

Pay Your Bar(bell) Tab

Credit: Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

Back training sits just behind leg training in the amount of intensity and stress it takes to really get strong and thick. Deadlifts pound your back from the bottom of your erectors to the top of your traps, but, whether it be through mental or physical fatigue, you might not always be able to get your mind right for heavy pulls.

If the machine section of the gym is too busy with people hogging your favorite rowing device, let your anxiety be salved by the knowledge that the barbell is still the most versatile piece of strength equipment ever invented, especially for your back.

Don’t be ashamed to use your favorite deadlift platform for bent-over rows or suitcase deadlifts, as these are still primo “hardcore” movements. If it’s all getting to be too much, shove the end of a barbell into a corner and do some Meadows rows or makeshift T-Bar rows. The deadlift will still be there when you’re ready, but in the meantime, we’ve collected the best barbell-based alternatives for your back.

From Our Sponsor

Welcome to HOPtober

How do you HOPtober? Your game, your rules!

Whether you're planning to stay dry all month or cut back here and there, there's more than one way to crack a can!

At HOP WTR, we’re breaking the stigma that these “sober months” have to be all or nothing. They absolutely don’t. That’s why this October, we’re asking, “How do you HOPtober?” and want to encourage you to do what you feel is right for you!

With HOP WTR’s line of non-alcoholic sparkling hop water, you can experience the classic flavors of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Azacca hops, without any calories or sugar. Plus, each can is packed with adaptogens and nootropics to take you from stressed to decompressed.

We’re here to support you every sip of the way, however your journey unfolds! Head here for a chance to win a three-month supply of HOP WTR.

Bodyweight

Throw Your Weight Around

Credit: WESTOCK PRODUCTIONS / Shutterstock

It can be hard to get out of a state of stagnation with your bench press. It’s an easy lift to be on autopilot for, especially if it’s been part of your routine since your teen years. Instead of spinning your wheels, why not take out the bench entirely and focus on some alternatives? (Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be forever.)

If you’ve been ignoring the simple push-up, you’ve got a great pathway to making some radical pectoral gains. But if the standard version doesn’t sound exciting enough, we’ve got you covered. Through plyometrics, pauses, and single-arm push-up variations, you can test your upper-body stability and explosive power, all without going within 50 feet of a barbell. And that’s just the beginning.

Below, you’ll find 15 top-tier chest exercises that only require your body weight. Maybe you can even get a helping of shoulder health added onto the bill with your increased pressing strength.

Workouts

Don’t Sink Your Battle Rope

Credit: Giphy

Battle ropes have been on a mission to decrease the boredom of warm-ups, cardio, and circuits ever since the turn of the century. Offering just enough resistance to keep you honest, you can’t move a battle rope slowly, forcing you to keep up your speed even when you’d rather not.

When used in the proper parameters, a lifeless rope turns into a raging tempest of natural hemp fibers. While the ropes are unlikely to test your maximal strength, your muscular endurance may still be humbled if you harness their power properly. Most of all, these workouts will get your heart pumping and lungs squeezing out every last ounce of oxygen they can, all without taking a toll on your joints.

If you need a push in the right direction, we’ve got a rundown of the best battle rope workouts for a number of different goals. Find the one that works for you.

Everything Else

Hang in There

Credit: Undrey / Shutterstock

  • Abs training isn’t exactly a favorite for general gymgoers, but, trust us, the hanging leg raise is the core carver you need in your routine. Here’s how to do it.

  • The trend of the deadlift taking over the supreme status of “most popular lift” from the bench press has taken a huge step forward, with the United States Air Force now including it as part of its physical evaluation of new recruits.

  • Powerlifting phenom Heather Connor shares her full day of eating for strength gains. Connor’s food allergies and weight class mean her focused dietary plan makes up a huge part of her success.