7 Essential Back Exercises to Build Strength, Muscle and Power for Crossfitters

A strong back is absolutely essential if you want to be a decent Crossfitter and think seriously about your long-term health and well-being.


Strict pull ups are an excellent exercise for building strength in general. Widen your grip and you make the movement even harder. This will force your traps, delts, lats, tris, teres major and core to work even more and strengthen your back. If you struggle with strict pull ups, then check out the video below. 

This video shows progression exercises to help you build up to strict pull ups. If you are already fairly confident with this strict movement then simply add it into your training when you want to specifically develop your back strength. For pure strength, work in sets of no more than five reps, and you want to be close to failure by the last rep. Add a weight vest if necessary. If your goal is more towards hypertrophy, work in sets of 8-12 reps and maintain a high intensity with short rest times between working sets.

If you can manage three sets of ten full wide grip pull ups (back to a neutral hanging position with every rep) then that’s a very respectable milestone in you training and back strength. 

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.


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