Training your back can result in a much more 3D look. Next to legs, I find it’s such an undertrained muscle group that grows your physique.
A thick back will give you a powerful look, not just seen from behind. That V taper is something that is so highly desired in bodybuilding, and the back is no excuse in bringing it all together. Your back is made up of many large muscles and who doesn’t want to get large muscles?
Getting a huge back isn’t that difficult, in this article I’ll show you the best damn back workouts for mass.
Let me show you what I mean here:
See how his lats (latissiumus dorsi) pop out from underneath his chest? It aids in the flow of his entire physique.
From the broad shoulders to the tight waist, everything adds up.
The lats not only give you depth but when you work back you also work your teres major and minor.
So what the hell does that mean to me?
When you work your back, you hit a whole bunch of smaller muscle groups. It’s not just your lats that get worked. Your traps let people know that you lift. Your teres major blends in with the infraspinatus muscle when you flex your bicep, looking from behind.
See what I mean?
To get back mass, you have to work out all parts of the muscles in your back. That means muscle groups such as your traps, rear delts, rhomboids and of course your lats.
Best Back Workout for Mass: V Bar pull down
This is my favourite back exercise and one of my overall favourite exercises to do. You can overload the weight and really throw some weight around, or hit it with high reps and get that delicious pump.
Tip: Imagine pulling down with the tips of your elbows. Get your elbows to point the ground on the positive motion (concentric contraction). Keep your arms tight to your body and try to actually feel your lats with the back of your arms on the way down.
Doing it: Do your normal warmup routine and hit these with some heavy ass weight. Aim for the 6-8 rep mark, focussing on the squeeze of your lats on the way up and down. Bring the V bar about down to your sternum level and control the weight on the way up (eccentric contraction).
Don’t feel it? Lower the weight.
What’s the best technique?
From a bodybuilding perspective, if you don’t feel the weight then you’re doing something wrong. I cannot stress this part enough. When you simply just move the weight, you’re not actually targeting the muscle group effectively.
Ever see that old dude in your gym curling way too much weight? Ever notice how that same guy uses his full body while curling? It’s nothing short of a weightlifting-induced epileptic seizure. Very little tension is on the actual bicep in this example. Somehow he turned an isolation exercise into a goddamn full-body one.
I’m not saying it’s completely useless, you’re still lifting, but there are just better ways of exercising.
Back Workout For Thickness: T Bar Row
This exercise really helps build on the thickness of your back. The trick with this exercise is to do the full range of motion. Don’t just move the goddamn weight, feel the weight!
If you don’t have a T bar machine, you can use a landmine press with a V bar instead. Just like the V bar pull down, bring the bar towards your chest. To increase the mind-muscle connection with your back, imagine driving your elbows up the wall.
You can hit this exercise with low reps with heavyweight between 6-8 reps, or you can hit it with some more volume. If don’t feel your lats working, switch to high reps. It’ll force blood into your back muscles, allowing you to really feel your muscles being worked. For high rep work, aim for 15-20 reps here.
Best Upper Back Workout: Dumbbell row
This is the gold standard of back building, the bread and butter of muscle sculpting. It’s such an easy to execute exercise that it’s a no-brainer not to do.
The best part is the dumbbell row: it works your entire back. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than this! It’s not going to hit your traps as hard as a barbell shrug, but it’s a great all-around exercise to incorporate into your routine. If you want to build your traps, read my other article on How to Build Big Traps.
My grip is failing, what do I do?
What I do recommend though is using weight lifting straps. This will allow you to focus more on your back and less on your forearms.
These are the wrist straps I use and I highly suggest using them
Tip: Try this exercise on an incline bench. Put one knee on the bench and grasp the top of the bench with your hand. It’ll work the same muscles but you’ll get a different kind of a stretch. Trust me, it’s worth doing!
Doing it: Row past your body with the dumbbell. Don’t stop at chest height! Like I mentioned earlier, envision pulling your elbows back. If you’re on a flat bench, think about pointing your elbows up the wall.
Grow Your Back: Conclusion
Experiment with different rep ranges and weights. Your back can handle stress, so don’t go too lightweight. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try rows in the 15-20 rep range, but you should keep a consistent pump. Remember, don’t just move the weight; feel the weight!
If you want to strengthen your back, look into Meadows Rows. It’s a killer exercise that allows you to move more weight.
Incorporate these exercises into your back training and I guarantee you’ll grow.
Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither was your back. Being consistent is what will lead to growth!