If you're someone who's guilty of only working out your "show muscles" like chest, arms, abs, and shoulders, this is the recipe to earn all the other growth you've been missing. A thick, dense, and well-balanced upper body needs a strong back!
So, let's break down how to turn your back into wide, thick wings of muscle. Along with a growth-focused approach to nutrition and supplementation, these beginner-friendly workouts to train your back are what you need to earn size that will show up from all angles.
A bigger back is the foundation of a bigger upper body! These the top five back workouts will set up anyone, from a beginner to an advanced lifter, for five months or more of weekly training, plus give you back muscles that will test the limits of your t-shirt!
This simple exercise builds your grip strength, shoulders, and back. It also helps to get rid of excess fat around your midsection.
To perform a farmers’ walk:
1. Hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands.
2. Keep your arms close to your torso and take quick, short steps towards a target.
3. Turn around and return to the starting position to complete a rep.
Here’s a great way to strengthen your lats. The exercise imitates the motion used for pull-ups, but it allows you to work at a slower pace, maximizing your muscle growth. Remember to always bring the bar to the front of your head when performing the exercise. Pulling the bar behind your head puts undue stress on your rotator cuff.
Here’s how to get the most out of lat pulldowns:
1. Kneel in front of a lat pulldown machine while facing away from it.
2. Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from you.
3. Push your chest out and lean back a bit.
4. While keeping your torso still, pull the bar down to your chest and slowly return to the starting position to complete a rep.
This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or barbells, but the latter allows you to lift heavier weights, so your back muscles get a more intense workout. Bent over rows target several muscles in your back, including your rotator cuff muscles, rear deltoids, upper traps, rhomboids, and your lower and middle traps.
Avoid slouching while performing the exercise since it puts additional stress on your lower back. Keeping your shoulder blades back helps to prevent this.
Here’s what the exercise looks like:
1. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your hands a little bit more than shoulder-width apart.
2. Keep your back straight and bend a bit at your knees. Now, bend your upper body forward, so it is almost parallel to the floor.
3. Row the bar inwards towards your lower chest, pause for a second, and lower the weight back down to complete a rep. Aim for 8 to 12 reps.
You will have a hard time finding someone with a v-taper who doesn’t regularly perform pull-ups. It’s arguably the most effective back workout, and you only need a bar you can hang from to perform it. The exercise targets your lats in a way no other exercise does since you’re hanging from a bar. It makes your waistline slimmer while widening the upper part of your torso. It also helps to develop your biceps.
Here’s how you perform a pull-up:
1. Grab the pull-up bar with your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing away from you to force your lats to do most of the work. Performing pull-ups with your palms facing you engages your biceps more.
2. Pull yourself up towards the bar, using your shoulder blades to do most of the work.
3. Drive your elbows down towards your hips to get your chin over the bar.
4. Slowly lower yourself to get back to the starting hanging position to complete a rep. Perform three sets of as many reps as you can do.
Deadlifts are one of the most effective compound exercises you can add to your workouts. Muscles targeted by the exercise include your upper back (lats, rear delts, traps, and rhomboids), hamstrings, glutes, abs, and lower back.
It’s an excellent exercise for anyone looking to put on mass or strengthen their back muscles. It’s particularly effective for improving your posture, and you also get a great leg workout. Aim to perform this exercise at least once every week.
Here’s how you perform a deadlift:
1. Start standing in front of a loaded barbell with your feet halfway underneath it.
2. Push forward with your hip, touching the barbell with your shins, and grab it with both hands shoulder-width apart.
3. Keep your chest up and start pulling the weight up, rolling it against your shins and thighs. Your back should be in a neutral position when performing the motion.
4. Set the weight back down, rolling it across your body. The bar should be as close to your body as possible when performing each rep. Aim for 8 to 12 reps.