Revamp Your Gym with Our Top-Rated Smart Exercise Equipment for the Back
Jun 27, 2023 by Jessica Baron
Working on your back muscles and mobility isn't just crucial to a great physique. It can help ease back pain (or stop it before it starts), improve posture, and keep the rest of your body in alignment so you can walk, turn, reach, and lift comfortably. That makes exercise equipment for the back a crucial part of your home gym setup.
Your back muscles are some of the most important muscles in your body for mobility (and even respiration). They include your latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps), rhomboids, rear (posterior) deltoid, teres major, and erector spinae.
We've already shown you some of the best at-home back-strengthening exercises. Below, we're going to look at how you can use smart fitness equipment for the back to level up your home gym and make sure you're ready to build the best foundation for the rest of your workouts.
The Benefits of Using Back Exercise Equipment
Dumbbells and kettlebells can be great to have on hand since they're relatively cheap and easy to find at sporting goods stores. But investing in progressively heavier sets of free weights can get expensive and take up a lot of space in your home gym.
Here's why you should look into smart fitness equipment machines like the Speediance Gum Monster for your back exercises:
1. Machines Can Be Safer On Your Back (Especially for Beginners)
Let's take resistance training, for example. The authors of a 2020 study on the use of free weights vs. machines in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health noted that while both types of equipment get results, machines are safer:
"Machines are training devices that have pin loaded weight stacks with fixed lever arms and range of motion. They provide a safer use than free weights and can be used relatively easy without supervision under any circumstances. In contrast, free weights, including dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, cables, etc., allow free movement and thus need to be stabilized by the executioner himself."
You probably know that in order to make gains, you need intensity. And you need to keep working your muscles until they're fatigued (but it's best not to train to the point of muscle failure since it can increase recovery time.) Machines allow us to train to fatigue more safely since you're not at risk of dropping a heavy load onto yourself or someone else. This is especially important when working on your back muscles to avoid developing tightness and soreness that affects your ability to do your normal reps.
Furthermore, understanding the mechanics of a free weight exercise without a trainer can be tough if you're a beginner. On the other hand, a machine can help you perform the movement correctly since there's a more limited range of motion, making it hard to do a lateral raise or lat pulldown in a way that will cause injury if the weight wobbles in your hand. (This is also a place where Speediance's library of movement videos comes in handy - and it's there for you even if you are using free weights!)
The point is, you're likely safer using a machine to do your back training, and you'll get the same gains as you would with free weights! And it's also worth mentioning that the Speediance Home Gym takes up about the same amount of space in your home as a weight rack and mat. But no one says you can't have both!
2. Machines Provide the Same Muscle Gains
If you look at the research comparing machines and free weights, it's clear that people have long assumed that free weights might build more muscle - but that's not what the science says. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded:
"The major finding of this study is that free weight and machine training were equally effective for increasing muscle thickness and strength. These findings do not support our hypothesis that training with free weights would result in greater gains in muscle mass and strength."
Machines also help target the correct muscles, meaning that you're building strength in the places where you want it.
3. Machines Help Isolate Back Muscles Better
Don't get us wrong, free weights are great, and they allow us to use more of our muscles during a single exercise. However, that's not always the goal. Sometimes we're trying to isolate a specific back muscle without working other muscle groups.
One of the best parts of having back exercise equipment in the form of a machine is that you can use a cable pulley system for resistance. For example, a Straight Arm Cable Pulldown is a great option if you want to target your latissimus dorsi without activating your bicep. You just can't get that same motion with free weights.
4. Machine Help You Stay Consistent
Just as a machine helps you isolate a muscle or muscle group more easily by leading you through a movement, it also ensures that each of your repetitions is consistent.
If you get fatigued with free weights, your form can get sloppy (it happens to the best of us), and that can lead your body to find little shortcuts to make reps easier. But what you really need is consistent and smooth motion during each movement. And that's the beauty of gym equipment for back exercises!
The Best Smart Exercise Equipment for the Back
If you're ready to invest in home gym equipment to work on your back, here are some of the things you'll want to look for:
1. Seated Rowing Machine
The seated rowing machine helps you strengthen your middle back muscles and improve posture (while also getting some great cardio). The pulling motion involved primarily works the rhomboids and trapezius muscles as you retract the handles toward your shoulder blades. It can also ensure you engage both sides evenly for more balanced muscle development and less pain.
Additionally, the cable rowing machine engages the latissimus dorsi (lats) and posterior deltoids to assist in the pulling motion.
2. Lat Pulldown Machine
The lat pulldown machine specifically targets the latissimus dorsi (lats), which are the largest muscles in the back that provide the "V" shape appearance to the upper body. But it also engages the rhomboids, trapezius, biceps, and rear deltoids to a lesser extent.
By doing lat pulldowns, you can increase your spinal stability and help maintain good posture, in addition to ensuring the muscles around the shoulder joints get stronger as well. And since the pulling motion involved in lat pulldowns mimics real-life movements like pulling open a door or lifting objects, the back exercise can improve your ability to perform these functional movements with greater ease and efficiency.
3. Cable Pulley Machine
A cable pulley machine offers a wide range of exercises that target different back muscles. Exercises you can perform for back development include:
- Cable Rows to target the middle back muscles, including the rhomboids and trapezius, while also engaging the latissimus dorsi (lats), posterior deltoids, and biceps.
- Straight-Arm Pulldowns to target the lats and upper back muscles, such as the teres major and posterior deltoids.
4. Weight Bench
While a weight bench is primarily associated with exercises like bench presses, it can also be utilized for specific back exercises, such as
- Dumbbell Rows to target the middle back muscles, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi (lats).
- Reverse Dumbbell Flyes to target the rear deltoids and upper back muscles.
Why Speediance Makes the Best Back Exercise Equipment
As you may have already guessed, the Speediance Gym Monster can be transformed into a cable rowing machine, a lat pulldown machine, and a cable pulley machine. Speediance also makes an Adjustable Weight Bench so you get help targeting your back muscles from other positions.
While building a home gym to concentrate on back muscles wouldn't necessarily involve something like a Ski Machine, the benefit of buying a complete home smart gym is that you get the best of all worlds. So, for example, while ski machines primarily target the muscles in the lower body, targeted exercises like the Upright Row can work your trapezius and deltoids, while Standing Lat Pull-Downs strengthen the latissimus dorsi (lats). And it just so happens that the Gym Monster can help you do those upper body exercises with its ski machine features.
Now, our Speediance Gym Pal adds to the fun of a home workout and is suitable for even the smallest spaces. Attaching cable pulls and handles or a barbell to the Gym Pal lets you do Pullovers, High Rows, and Reverse Flyes with just the right amount of resistance.
If you're ready to revamp your home gym with top-rated smart exercise equipment and gain better control over your back muscles for less pain, better posture, and more strength, visit our Product page for everything you need.