zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Exercises for Building a Bigger and Better Back

by
author image Jason Ferruggia
Jason Ferruggia is a professional fitness coach who specializes in high-performance mass development. A former 98-pound weakling, Jason has gained over 60 pounds of muscle since he began his journey more than two decades ago and has helped thousands of others achieve similar results.
Exercises for Building a Bigger and Better Back
Guys, it's time to learn how to train your back. Photo Credit Mikolette/E+/Getty Images

A lot of guys have pumped up pecs as a result of training their chests every time they go to the gym. But how often do you see a guy with a bad-ass back?

I'm talking about round traps, wide lats and deep spinal erectors. It's a rarity because most people don't know how to train their backs properly, or worse, they completely the ignore the importance of doing so.

Read More: 5 Things Every Skinny Guy Should Know About Building Muscle

We're going to fix that: I'm going to show you exactly what you need to do to build a physique that makes you stand out from the crowd.

The upper back can tolerate a lot of work, so you'll train it twice a week, directly on upper-body days and once a week on lower-body days with deadlift variations.

Deadlifts can help build truly terrifying traps.
Deadlifts can help build truly terrifying traps. Photo Credit kjekol/AdobeStock

How to Create Imposing Traps

The best way to get big traps is by doing a variety of Olympic lifts, but since those are too complex for a lot of people, I'd stick with deadlifts and shrugs.

Deadlift variations can be done once every 7-14 days for sets of 3-10 reps. Work up to a heavy top-end set, but stay further away from training to failure than what you would do for other exercises.

Deadlifts take a toll on your ability to recovery, so you can't train them too hard or your other workouts will suffer.

Read More: Is Your Protein Shake Killing Your Workout?

Shrugs can be done on the same day you do deadlifts or they can be done with lighter weights on upper-body days. Three to four sets of 8-15 reps will get the job done.

Mix it up between ultra-heavy sets and lighter sets where you get a full range of motion and hold the weights at the top for two or three seconds.

Next up: your mid-back.
Next up: your mid-back. Photo Credit Hero Images/Getty Images

How to Achieve Mid-Back Thickness

For mid-back thickness, you need to row. One-arm dumbbell rows, seated cable rows and chest-supported rows will be your best options.

Do two to four sets of 8-12 reps, and be sure to squeeze hard in the fully contracted position. If you can't hold the weight for a second at the top, it's too heavy — check your ego and drop some of the weight.

How to Get Wider Lats

To widen your lats, you need to do chin-ups. Neutral grip (palms facing each other) is my favorite option since it's the least stressful on the elbows and shoulders.

Initiate each rep by driving your elbows down and contracting your lats. At the top, your chest should be out and your shoulders pulled back. Do two to four sets of 6-15 reps.

Read More: How to Beat 3 Common Fitness Failures

If you can't do sets of six perfect chin-ups (which most people can't once I show them the perfect form), then do pulldowns. Just do them until you're strong enough to do proper chin-ups.

How to Sculpt Monster Upper Back/Rear Delts

To keep your shoulders healthy, I recommend adding in face pulls or rear delt flys, also called bent-over lateral raises. This is pump work to get blood into your muscles and help achieve the hypertrophy (aka, growth) you want. Do two to four sets of 12-20 reps.

How to Strengthen the Lower Back

The spinal erectors will be trained on lower-body days with back extensions or reverse hyper extensions. These should be done for sets of at least 15 reps, and you can go as high as 30 or more.

Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are another great lower-back exercise that can be done on lower-body days. Don't go ultra-heavy on these; focus on getting a good stretch in the hamstrings for sets of 5-10 reps, on average.

Read More: The Best Way to Build Bigger & Better Arms

If you're advanced, with perfect technique and the ability to hold a neutral spine under load for a longer amount of time, you could work up to sets of 15 reps on these. Very few exercises cause as much soreness as RDLs, so ease into them and keep the volume fairly low. One or two top-end sets will be enough.

Put all these moves together and start building a bad-ass back.
Put all these moves together and start building a bad-ass back. Photo Credit julenochek/AdobeStock

How to Put It All Together

On upper-body days, your back work might look like this (along with some pressing, of course):

Rows: 3 x 8-12

Neutral Grip Chin-Ups: 3 x 6-15

Rope Face Pull: 2 x 12-15

Dumbbell Shrug: 2 x 12-15

On lower-body days, your back work might look like this after you've finished squatting:

Barbell Romanian Deadlifts: 2 x 6-8

Barbell Shrugs: 3 x 8-10

Back Extensions: 2 x 20

What Do YOU Think?

What exercises do you perform to target your back? Have you tried any of these exercises? What were your results? Leave a comment below and let us know.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.