On a similar note, when you first look at yourself in a mirror, you can't see the muscles in your back. But this doesn't mean others can't see them, and it also doesn't mean these muscles—specifically the lats, rhomboids and rear deltoids—aren't important for improving your performance in other exercises.
When preparing for beach season, men often neglect training muscles that aren't in their chest, abs or arms. Don't worry, though. We've got your back (literally).
If you want to focus on sculpting your back, add two of the following exercises into your workout routine on any given day.
Pull-Ups1 of 11
Grab a pull-up bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your legs in front of you and slightly bent.
Keep your chest up and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Pause briefly at the top, and lower yourself back down in a controlled motion.
Coaching Tips: Make sure you control the tension at the bottom of each rep. Consider using an assisted pull-up machine or resistance bands if bodyweight pull-ups are too difficult.
Benefits: Targets the lats, biceps and core.
Frequency: Perform 20 reps in however many sets it takes to do so. If you can't perform 5 reps in your first set, aim for 10 total reps spread out over 4 sets.
Barbell Bent Row2 of 11
Hold a barbell with an overhand grip directly in front of you. The barbell should rest just below your knees in the starting position.
Push your hips back while bending your knees slightly. Pull the barbell back until it reaches the front of your hips. Briefly pause and return to the starting position in a controlled motion.
Barbell Bent Row Part 23 of 11
Coaching Tips: Your back should stay flat throughout the exercise. Try to squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Form is more important than weight.
Benefits: Targets the lats, rhomboids, rear deltoids, traps and biceps.
Frequency and Weight: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Most men should be able to start with 95 pounds (25-pound plate on each side of a standard 45-pound bar).
Renegade Row4 of 11
Start in a push-up position while gripping a pair of dumbbells on the floor. Pull one dumbbell back to your midline and return it to the starting position. Alternate sides.
Renegade Row Part 25 of 11
Coaching Tips: Keep a tight core while maintaining a flat back.
Benefits: Targets the lats, biceps, abs, triceps and shoulders.
Frequency and Weight: 3 sets of 5 reps on each side. Most men should be able to start with 15- to 30-pound dumbbells.
Seated Lat Pull-Downs6 of 11
Start in a seated position and grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar down below your chin until it reaches your upper chest. Briefly pause and control the bar back up until your arms are fully extended. Once your arms are fully extended, immediately begin the next rep.
Seated Lat Pull-Downs Part 27 of 11
Coaching Tips: Sit tall while keeping your chest up and shoulders back.
Benefits: Targets the lats and biceps.
Frequency and Weight: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Most men should be able to start with 80 to 100 pounds.
Chest-Supported Rows8 of 11
Set an incline bench to about a 45-degree angle. Lie face-first on the bench and grab a pair of dumbbells. Let your arms hang straight down with your palms facing each other. Pull the dumbbells up toward your chest and squeeze at the top of the movement. Lower the weights in a controlled motion.
Chest-Supported Rows Part 29 of 11
Coaching Tips: Keep your chest up slightly, and squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement.
Benefits: Targets the lats and biceps.
Frequency and Weight: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Most men should be able to start with 20- to 40-pound dumbbells.
George Kalantzis10 of 11
George Kalantzis is a Marine, certified personal trainer and the strength camp coordinator at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Mass. He credits his fitness expertise and success to his many experiences, such as deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq and training in Parris Island and the FBI Training Academy.
Cressey Sports Performance