Total Gym Back Workout: Strengthen Your Back Fast In 4 Easy Steps

Total Gym Back Workout Fundamentals

When I first started my Total Gym back workout regimen, I was looking for an effective way to strengthen my back muscles comprehensively. The Total Gym system provides a unique approach to back workouts by utilizing an adjustable incline plane and a variety of attachments to engage different muscle groups.

You should absolutely check out our articles for your leg workout and your chest workout on total bench! Combine these two with this article and you can pump your whole body!

The foundation of a good Total Gym back workout lies in understanding the primary muscles you’re targeting: the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and erector spinae. Here’s a basic and easy structure I follow, which includes exercises that engage these back muscles effectively:

  • Lat Pull-Downs: I sit facing away from the Total Gym, grasp the handles with an overhand grip, and pull them down towards my chest. I always make sure to have a good Stretch in my Lats after every Rep.
  • Seated Rows: Sitting upright, I pull the handles straight towards my waistline, focusing on moving my elbows straight back.
  • Back Extensions: Lying face down, I stabilize my feet under the foot holder and lift my upper body, engaging the muscles along my spine. If you are strong enough you should use additional weight in your hand to make this movement harder.

Warm-Up Exercises

When you do your total gym back workout, don´t forget the importance of a good warm-up. It’s like prepping your back for the heavy lifting ahead—key to priming those muscles and getting the blood flowing. I’ve found it totally worth those extra few minutes.

Before diving into the workout, I always start with some dynamic stretches to loosen up my back muscles. Things like arm circles and torso twists make all the difference for me.

Next up, I like to include specific movements that mimic the exercises I’ll be performing in the actual workout. For example, you can do a light resistance band face pull or back pull for your muscles. It’s an incredible way to wake up myour rotator cuffs and upper back muscles without overdoing it.

When you are more common to the total gym back workout, you can just kick it off with your training movements – but with less weight to warm your body up.

1. Upper Back Workouts

With the years of training i realized, how important a strong back ist. Not only does it look good, a strong back helps you to carry things and staying fit and strong as you age. You can see, strengthening the upper back is critical, and using a Total Gym back workout facilitates a variety of exercises to target this area effectively.

Lat Pulldowns

Boat Interior Design Woman doing lat pulldowns on the total gym
by Pinterest

On my Total Gym, lat pulldowns are a basic and good movement. They are brilliant for targeting the latissimus dorsi muscles which are essential for that V-shaped back.

  • Grip: Hold the handles wide and overhead.
  • Form: Sit with a straight back, pull down smoothly and steadily.
  • Repetitions: Aim for 10-15 reps per set.
  • Stretch: Go for a 1 second stretch after every Rep.

Horizontal Pulls

Boat Interior Design Kneeling woman rowing on the total gym
by Pinterest

Horizontal pulls are great for involving the rhomboids and trapezius on the Total Gym. This exercise complements lat pulldowns perfectly by focusing on the mid and upper back.

  • Position: Settle onto the bench facing upwards.
  • Movement: Pull the handles towards your chest.
  • Tip: Keep your elbows high to really engage the targeted muscles. You can use a variation of grips for this movement.
  • Reps: Try for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

2. Middle Back Routines

Boat Interior Design Woman doing low rows on total gym
by Pinterest

Seated Rows

Exercise: Seated Rows
Equipment: Total Gym machine

  1. Sit down on the Total Gym bench and plant my feet firmly.
  2. Grab the handles with both hands, palms facing each other.
  3. Pull the handles toward my waist while squeezing my shoulder blades together.

Tip: Keep my core engaged for stability and to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.

Reverse Flys

Exercise: Reverse Flys
Equipment: Total Gym machine

  1. Straddle the bench, facing the tower.
  2. With straight arms, grasp the handles at shoulder height, palms facing down.
  3. Open my arms out to the sides, focusing on using my mid-back muscles to do the motion.

Tip: Keep a slight bend in my elbows during the move to avoid strain on my joints and ensure my mid-back muscles are doing the work.

3. Lower Back Strengthening

When I started incorporating movements for the lower back in my total gym back workout routine, I noticed a significant change in my lower back strength. Focusing on this area can enhance your overall stability and prevent discomfort.

Back Extensions

Boat Interior Design Man doing back extensions
by Pinterest

Back extensions on the Total Gym specifically target the muscles in your lower back. Here is the procedure I follow:

  1. Adjust the incline: Based on your fitness level, set the Total Gym to an appropriate incline. A higher incline increases the difficulty.
  2. Position your body: Lie face down on the glide board, with your hips just at the edge. Secure your feet under the foot holder.
  3. Start the movement: With your hands behind your head, lower your upper body down, then smoothly lift back up, using your lower back muscles to perform the movement.
  4. Control your motion: Focus on a fluid, controlled motion without jerking or using momentum.
  5. Use extra weight: You can do 20 good reps? Use more weight.

4. Core Training for Back Support

Rotational Exercises

Boat Interior Design Woman doing rotation exercises on the total gym
by Pinterest

Rotational exercises are a game-changer for reinforcing the muscles that keep my spine upright. One of my favorites on the Total Gym is the Oblique Twister. Here’s how I execute it:

  1. Attach the appropriate accessory for seated exercises.
  2. Sit facing sideways and grasp the handle with both hands.
  3. With my feet secured, I rotate my torso, turning from the waist up.
  4. I aim for 10-15 reps on each side, focusing on a smooth, controlled movement.

This exercise not only intensifies my core workout but also simulates the rotational movements I encounter in daily life, reducing the risk of injury. For further back support, I integrate exercises like the Seated Torso Rotation. You can find a step-by-step guide for mastering these movements and enhancing your Total Gym experience. These complete my total gym back workout.

Cool Down and Stretching

After a vigorous total gym back workout, I always emphasize the importance of a cool down and stretch.

Cooling down gradually lowers my heart rate and helps prevent stiffness. I kick off with light cardiovascular activity, such as walking on the spot or using the total gym at a reduced incline level. Just 3 to 5 minutes does the trick. Then, it’s onto stretching.

Here’s what my cool down and stretching routine typically includes:

  • Spinal Stretch: Sitting on the Total Gym, I reach my arms forward, bowing my head slightly, holding the stretch and breathing deeply for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Lat Stretch: I grab the Total Gym handles, keep my back straight, and pull my torso backwards, stretching the sides of my back. Again, a good 20-second hold feels amazing.

Safety Tips and Considerations

Boat Interior Design The total gym we are talking about in this article
by Pinterest

Here are some final short tips for your total gym back workout:

  • Warm-Up: A proper warm-up is crucial to prep my muscles. This includes a combination of dynamic exercises to get my blood flowing.
  • Form Matters: It’s not just about the reps; it’s how I do them that counts. I ensure my spine is aligned and movements are smooth to prevent strain.
  • Listen to My Body: If something feels off, I don’t push through the pain. Recognizing the difference between muscle fatigue and discomfort is key.
  • Progress Gradually: I avoid ramping up the intensity too quickly. It’s better to gradually increase weights or resistance to build strength safely.
Don’t RushTake breaks as needed to avoid overexertion.
Stay HydratedKeeping water at hand helps maintain optimal performance.
Proper EquipmentUsing the right shoes and workout gear supports my back and overall posture.

It’s all about practicing a safe total gym back workout routine so I can keep coming back stronger each time.


What are the best exercises in a total gym back workout?

Pull-ups: Target your lats and upper back.
Seated rows: Focus on your middle back muscles.
Rear delt flys: Great for hitting those rear delts and upper back.

How often should I do a total gym back workout?

Aim for 2-3 times a week, ensuring you’ve got rest days in between for muscle recovery.

Do I need additional equipment for my total gym workout?

Not at all; your Total Gym is designed to be a comprehensive workout system, giving you all you need for an effective back workout.

Do you do your total gym back workout already? Let us know down below!

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Fabian Leingang
Articles: 333

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