Building a strong back is a must for real world strength. Picking up heavy objects, moving equipment around, and even playing with your kids will take their toll on your back if you are not fit for the task. The good news is, you do not need a gym to get a strong, ripped back. You can train right at home. The main difference between a strong thick back and a strong ripped back is your nutrition. So, eat a low carbohydrate diet, resulting in less body fat, and your muscle definition will shine.
Get Your Pull-up Game Right
The golden standard for back workouts is the pull-up. If you currently struggle to do pull-ups with your full body weight, lower the bar height and use your feet to assist you. Most people can handle doing a variation of pull-ups every day without joint pain becoming an issue, but if you experience any elbow discomfort switch to every other day. Each workout should be different, so vary the rep ranges per set, the rest periods between sets, and the angles at which you grip the bar. Start with 100 total repetitions each day for awesome back muscle growth.
Bent-Over Rows Build Back Thickness
Using dumbbells or a loaded barbell, the bent over row is a man-maker of back exercises. Keeping your back flat, almost horizontal to the floor, and abs braced, you will row the weight straight up toward your belly button, driving your elbows back to ensure your biceps don't get more attention than your back muscles. Plan on doing 6 to 12 repetitions for five to 10 sets each workout, and use a very challenging weight. The best way to achieve a ripped back is to always keep the form strict and contract the back muscles each rep.
Rear Deltoid Flies Build Your V-Taper
To perform rear deltoid flies, or bent over lateral raises, take the same back angle as the bent over row, and raise light dumbbells from straight below you out to the side adjacent to your shoulders. You should look like a bird -- a ripped bird to be exact -- flapping it's wings in triumphant flight. Controlled form is a must for safety and for building wide shoulders. Aim for five sets of 20 reps, and increase the weight when 20 reps becomes easy.
All You Need Are Gymnastics Rings
Gymnastics rings are the most versatile piece of equipment when it comes to training back muscles. They are light, easy to travel with, take up almost no space, and are relatively inexpensive. Rings are so convenient because all you need is a sturdy horizontal support like a tree branch, pull-up bar, or hand rail to drape the straps over and you can do any movement imaginable just by adjusting the height of the rings. Do pull-ups with the rings high or lower the rings and perform inverted rows and rear delt flies, using your body weight as resistance.
The Handy Man's Equipment
Now, let’s say you have no equipment and don't feel like buying any. Try to use a tree branch outside for pull-ups and paint or water buckets for bent over rows and delt flies. You can also use your furniture to work out. Grab a couple bar stools or chairs and do the same bent over rows or dumbbell flies as described above. If you have a pool, swimming is one of the best options for building a ripped back. Swimmers are known for wide shoulders and ripped backs. The key to handy man equipment is creativity.
- Chao S, Thomas S, Yucha D, Kelly JD 4th, Driban J, Swanik K.: An Electromyographic Assessment of the "Bear Hug": an Examination for the Evaluation of the Subscapularis Muscle.
- Youdas JW, Amundson CL, Cicero KS, Hahn JJ, Harezlak DT, Hollman JH.: Surface Electromyographic Activation Patterns and Elbow Joint Motion During a Pull-Up, Chin-Up, or Perfect-Pullup™ Rotational Exercise.