5 Back Workouts for bigger Mass


Build a massive posterior with these tried and true back exercises

Barbell Deadlift

Why it's on the list: This is technically more than a back exercise—it hits the entire posterior chain from your calves to your upper traps—but it's the absolute best for overall backside development. Technique is uber-important with the deadlift, but once you nail it, you can progress to lifting monster weights that will recruit maximum muscle, release muscle-building hormones, and help you get big

There are also numerous deadlift progression programs you can follow to help you reach new personal bests. Physiologists love to prescribe the deadlift when programming for strength and conditioning because the exercise hammers your musculature and is one of the best choices to strengthen your bone structure


Stick with the conventional deadlift on back day; other variations, like the popular sumo-style, increase the activity of muscle groups other than the back

In your workout: If you're going heavy (sets of fewer than about 6 reps), do deadlifts first so you're fresh. If you're doing deads for repetitions, you can do them later in your workout

Bent-Over Barbell Deadlift

Why it's on the list: This is probably the second-best back movement in terms of sheer weight you can lift. EMG research has suggested that hitting bent-over barbell rows will work the larger muscle groups of the upper and lower back equally, making this a great overall back builder.[2] Like the deadlift, this is another technical move that requires excellent form but rewards you with a ton of muscle


In your workout: Do bent-over rows toward the start of your back workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges, about 6-8 or 8-10. The Smith version is a suitable substitute; it locks you in the vertical plane, but your body has to be in just the right position relative to the bar. The bent-over barbell row has a significantly greater lumbar load than many other back exercises, so it's best done early in your workout in order to save your lower back.[2] If you're wrecked from deadlifts, it may behoove you to skip this movement

Wide-Grip Pull-Up

Why it's on the list: It's always a good idea to have an overhead pulling movement in your back routine, and the pull-up is one of the best. Wide-grip pull-ups are excellent for putting emphasis on the upper lats. A closer grip may allow for a longer range of motion, but it may be possible to load the wide-grip pull-up to a greater degree because of an optimized starting joint position. The biggest challenge here for most trainers is training to failure in the right rep range for growth, which is 8-12

If you do pull-ups early in your workout, you might have to add a weighted belt. Of course, if you find them difficult, you can always use an assisted pull-up machine or a good spotter, or switch to the wide-grip pull-down, which is a solid substitute. If your shoulders are healthy, pulling behind the head is okay

Good form is extremely important here. In the starting position, the scapula should be retracted—pull your shoulder blades down and toward each other—prior to initiating the pull


In your workout: Because the pull-up range of motion is so long, several light reps make great warm-up moves for the shoulder joints. Since form is so important with these, it may be best to push pull-ups toward the front of your workout to ensure proper shoulder-joint positioning

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Why it's on the list: This is a great unilateral exercise—each side works independently—that allows you to move a lot of weight. You'll get greater range of motion when training unilaterally, and you won't be restrained if your weaker side fails first. You may also be better able to support your lower back—which may have taken plenty of punishment by now—when placing one hand on a bench. Allowing a slight degree of rotation of the trunk may engage a greater degree of core" musculature, as well


In your workout: Unless you intentionally flare your elbow out wide, this exercise focuses more on your lower lats. Do it anywhere from the middle to the end of your workout for sets of 10-12

 Standing T-Bar Row
Why it's on the list: We selected the T-bar row over a chest-supported version because you can pile on much more weight here, even though that typically translates into a bit of cheating through the knees and hips. For some, maintaining a flat back can be challenging, in which case the supported version is a better choice

These aren't squats, so keep your legs locked in a bent angle throughout. You also typically have a choice of hand positions and width. A wider grip will put more emphasis on the lats, while a neutral grip will better target the middle back (rhomboids, teres, and traps). This exercise is probably one of the easier rows to spot

In your workout: Do this toward the front half of your workout. Rather than slinging weight around with this movement, really focus on the stretch and contraction of the back. If you're an experienced lifter, load up with 25s instead of the 45s, and further increase range of motion by allowing a slight protraction of the scapula at the bottom of every rep. If you do this, be sure to "reset" with a flat back before initiating the next pull
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About Tamer El Sheikh

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
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