If one of your goals is to build a big, strong, defined back – then you are in the right place!
Not seeing your back in the mirror shouldn’t be a reason for neglecting it.
Working on your back will help you build a strong foundation for the upper body exercises and will give you great aesthetics.
Building your back doesn’t require a bunch of exercises, but whichever you choose – make sure you’re performing them properly.
If you still haven’t figured out which exercises are the best and how to increase muscle mass, you should take a look at these 10 amazing exercises for the back.
1. Wide grip pull – up
There are many variations of pull ups which allow you to work on specific muscles without any equipment. The only thing you need to do is changing your grip. And to achieve the maximum activation of the lats, all you need is the wide grip pull – up.
You just need to grasp the bar with a grip wider than shoulder width. To increase your strength, try doing just negative reps at the beginning.
Make sure to warm up before the exercise, especially your shoulders. If you can’t do this exercise until muscle failure, do 8 – 12 repetitions with a weighted belt.
2. Standing T – bar row
Another exercise which helps you with the weight progression, but note that if you go too heavy in the start you risk targeting the wrong muscles, like the knees and the hips. It’s hard for beginners to find the proper position for the legs and not get the right results because of that.
Using a wider grip will target the lats better. If you’re already experienced enough, you should choose lighter weight so you can have a better range of motion.
3. Single – arm smith machine row
This exercise provides the lower lats with a great growth stimulator, engages the middle part of the delts and promotes a balanced development.
Also, performing it on a Smith machine minimizes the risk of injury and pain in the shoulders.
What you need to be doing is standing sideways to the machine, grasping the bar at the middle and using a split stance.
Make sure your knees are bent and use your back muscles to pull the bar up. The movement should be controlled and slow.
We recommend you do this exercise at the end of your workout, with a high number of reps, 10 – 12.
4. Single – arm dumbbell row
There is a downside to the vital unilateral movement – the amount of weight which can be used is usually limited. But this exercise has everything you need – you can use a lot of weight and also target each side of your back.
If you perform it properly, this exercise will help you build your lower lats. Put one hand on the bench so you support your back and rotate slightly so you engage your core. You should do this exercise at the second part of the workout and try to do 10 – 12 reps with heavy weight.
Make sure your abs are tight and you go slow on the negative part of the rep.
5. Bent – over barbell row
This exercise makes the perfect movement when it comes to the amount of weight. Heavy weights mean great results, so you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of your back workouts.
The bent – over barbell row exercise targets the rear delts, traps, biceps, lats, but also the big muscle groups in the back which makes this exercise perfect for back- building.
You should be performing heavy sets with a lower number of reps, like 6 – 8. This exercise puts a big stress on the lower beak, so if you usually feel pain in that area, you shouldn’t be doing bent – over rows and deadlifts in the same workout.
6. Barbell deadlift
This exercise makes the best movement you could perform for overall back-building. You need to focus and master the proper technique and form of this exercise so you avoid risk of injury and to get the results you want.
Once you master the form, you’ll be able to lift heavy weights and use up a lot of muscle fibers while enhancing your anabolism. The results are just what you’ve wished for – a big, strong back!
It’s best you perform the conventional deadlift when working on your back because it enable maximum activation of the back. You should aim at performing all the sets, at the start of the workout.
7. Decline bench dumbbell pull – over
This type of exercises are an amazing but a quite neglected movement which are similar to the straight arm cable pull-down, but the difference is that the decline dumbbell pull – over trains your lats until exhaustion and gives amazing results.
Back in the time, this was one of the most popular movements because it targets the abs, pecks, triceps and the lats and it gives amazing results for the upper body. You should be using a decline bench, which will enable you increase the time of tension.
It’s possible that many people don’t have the results they want because they rush through the movement without focusing on a good stretch. It’s recommended you perform this exercise at the end of the workout with a high number of repetitions, 12 – 20 per set.
8. Wide grip seated cable row
This exercise will not only strengthen you biceps, shoulder and back, but it will also enhance the spinal alignment and the core stability. Using a wide grip activates more upper lat fibers, you should also be using it on a lat bar for cable rows.
In the highest position, when the bar is near your torso, make sure your arms parallel to the floor. Note that the more you can pull your elbow, the bigger the concentration will be.
But if you have any problems with the middle and lower lats, it’s better to go with a shoulder width grip and keep your elbows close to your sides.
It’s recommended you perform this exercise at the end of the workout using a weight with which you can do 12 reps with a good form.
9. Reverse – grip smith machine row
Rowing makes one of the best movements when it comes to back – building, you should try to get the most of it by using all the different versions.
When performing this exercise your elbows need to be tucked close to your body which will enable you to minimize the risk of injury of the joints while using heavy weights.
In addition, if you use the Smith machine, the machine itself will take care of balance and stability so that you can focus on using more weight. For the best results, make sure you are bent over for about 45 degrees and you are close to the bar.
Use the weight which allows you to use proper technique and form. Make sure every rep is controlled and slow.
10. Close grip pull – down
The shoulders, the scapula and the elbows are all included in this multi – joint exercise which targets more muscles in the upper body, while the main mover is the latissimus dorsi.
Using a close grip with this exercise will enable maximum activation of the lats. There is also the benefit of a bigger range of motion and longer time under tension, which means more mass gains. Choose a weight which will allow you to perform controlled movements.
You can perform this exercise at any point of the back workout, but it’s recommended to do it with lighter weights or do it at the end of the workout if you use it as a mass builder.
Try to perform 8 – 12 reps in every set, with a slow and smooth tempo and a hard squeeze at the bottom of every rep.