The wider and thicker your back is, the more jacked you look. Building your back will also make you stronger in all your lifts, and can help prevent future injuries. When you think of exercises that train the back, you may gravitate towards the typical exercises like rows or pulldowns. And while those exercises definitely work, here are 5 exercises that you probably aren’t doing on your back day – but will help you get bigger, and stronger, in a hurry.
It turns out that this old-school exercise is really a very good tool for blitzing most of the muscles of the middle and upper back, shoulders, chest and arms1,2 – which makes them a great addition to your back or arm training day.
Here are four exercises that I do on every back day without fail. Keep in mind, I’ve trained back at least three days a week for the past two years. As always, you want to start with the minimum required volume to still achieve adaptation benchmarks.
Rowing against resistance is one of the best ways to increase your back thickness. Although barbell and dumbbell rows are the gold standards for back thickness in the mind of most hardcore trainers, there are some machines that offer you some outstanding lower latissimus stimulation, without the lower back risks associated with bending over and holding a weight.
There are not many exercises better than the barbell rows for developing middle and upper back thickness and strength. Rowing is an effective activator of all middle back muscles, especially the latissimus and teres major and trapezius muscles of the back.
If you have a busy schedule and want to improve your upper body shape and hardness, it doesn’t make sense to do multiple versions of an exercise to fully activate your upper body when a single movement will fully activate the same muscles. The exercise? Pull-ups.
The deadlift is an effective basic exercise used widely for developing massively thick erector muscles of the spine. It is mechanically simple, but it requires a huge amount of effort, probably only second to squats. It can be both a blessing and a curse.
After you’ve blasted legs with the best lifts for muscle growth, move on to the lower body. Here are the best lifts for chest, shoulders and back.
The stiff-leg deadlift is an effective basic exercise that has superior effects for firming the erector muscles of the spine. If you do the exercise correctly, the back will become strong and straight, and even the hamstrings will benefit from each repetition.
Lat bar pulldowns have been a staple for establishing superior upper-back width, and reverse-grip pulldowns— more than any other version of pulldowns— will allow you to pile on the poundage.