Back Workout Complete With 8 Exercises

Back Workout Complete With 8 Exercises

Do you want a wide, thick and strong back? Then here we have just the exercises and workouts for you. For most major muscle groups, it takes a lot to really make your back stand out. A lot more than pull ups and high-rep dumbbell rows .

I’m going to break it down for you and give the best back exercises, workouts and reasoning. The four muscles that make up the bulk of the back and that we want to focus on developing, are the:

  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Erector spinae

This is what we want for our overall back development:

  • Large, but not overdeveloped, traps that establish the upper back.
  • Wide lats that extend low down the torso, creating that pleasing V-taper.
  • Bulky rhomboids that create definition when flexed.
  • Clear development and separation in the teres muscles and infraspinatus.
  • A thick structure in the lower back.

Two Biggest Mistakes Made In Back Workouts:

1. Focusing on the wrong back exercises.

Many people focus on machines and isolation exercises, which are of secondary importance in building a deep, thick, powerful looking back.

2. Focusing on high-rep training.

This will stunt the growth of every major muscle group in the body and is particularly detrimental in a major and multifaceted muscle group.

The more you emphasise compound movements and heavy lifting (80 to 85% of 1RM and higher), the better your results.

And training the back, means a lot of heavy deadlifts and rows with “supplementary work” like pullups and chinups.

Did you know?

The result of these back training mistakes is usually a back that has a V-taper but nothing else, just a set of lats without any thickness and separation in the middle or lower portions. A good back workout trains the lats but doesn’t just isolate them and neglect the rest, It emphasises the bigger “prime movers.”

The Strategy:

1. Focus on lifting heavy weights in your back workouts.

If you want your back big and strong, you’ll want to focus on the 4 to 6 or 5 to 7 rep range.

2. Focus on the back exercises that safely allows progressive overload.

As a natural weightlifter, if you don’t continue to get stronger, you won’t continue to get bigger.

Natural muscle building is progressive overload, which means adding weight over time.

Your back training that you have to get right is volume, or the total amount of reps you do each week.

This is important when you are doing a lot of heavy lifting because the heavier the reps, the fewer you can do each week.

Heavier weights means more recovery, so you can’t do as much you can with lighter weights without risking over training.

When your training emphasises heavy weights (80 to 85%+ of 1RM), optimal volume is around 60 to 70 reps performed every 5 to 7 days.

With most muscle groups, there are loads of back exercises you can choose from but only a few are necessary.

So here are the best back exercises:

1. Deadlift

How To:

  • Walk to the bar, stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Your shins shouldn’t touch it yet. Put your heels hip-width apart, narrower than on Squats. Point your toes out 15°.
  • Grab the bar, bend over without bending your legs. Grip the bar narrow, about shoulder-width apart like on the Overhead Press. Your arms must be vertical when looking from the front.
  • Bend your knees. Drop into position by bending your knees until your shins touch the bar. Do NOT let the bar move away from your mid-foot.
  • Lift your chest. Straighten your back by raising you chest. Do not change your position – keep the bar over your mid-foot, your shins against the bar and your hips where they are.
  • Pull. Take a big breath, hold it and stand up with the weight. Keep the bar in contact with your legs while you pull. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top. Lock your hips and knees.
  • Return the weight to the floor by unlocking your hips and knees first. Then lower the bar by moving your hips back while keeping your legs almost straight.
  • Once the bar is past your knees, bend your legs more. The bar will land over your mid-foot, ready for your next rep.
Related article:  Free Weights Vs Cable Machine

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 t0 6 reps

Make sure each rep is separate. Don’t bounce the bar off the ground to propel you into progressively bad formed reps. Pick up dead weight, not use the momentum of a bounce.

The Sumo Deadlift

How to:

  • Begin with the bar loaded on the ground. Approach the bar so that the bar intersects the middle of the feet. The feet should be set very wide, near the collars.
  • Bend at the hips to grip the bar. The arms should be directly below the shoulders, inside the legs and you can use a pronated grip, a mixed grip, or hook grip.
  • Relax the shoulders, which in effect lengthens your arms.
  • Take a breath, then lower your hips, looking forward with your head with your chest up.
  • Drive through the floor, spreading your feet apart, with your weight on the back half of your feet. Extend through the hips and knees.
  • As the bar passes through the knees, lean back and drive the hips into the bar, pulling your shoulder blades together.
  • Return the weight to the ground by bending at the hips and controlling the weight on the way down.
  • Repeat for your next rep.

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 t0 6 reps

The Hex Bar Deadlift

How to:

  • Stand in the middle of a loaded hex bar and squat down to grab the handles.
  • In the start position, your thighs should be just above parallel to the floor with your torso bent forward at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Drive your heels through the floor as you extend at the knees and hips to reach a fully upright position,
  • then slowly lower the bar back to the start.
  • Repeat for your next rep.

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 t0 6 reps

2. Barbell Row

How to:

  • Walk to the bar, stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Don’t touch it with your shins. Have a medium stance with toes pointing out.
  • Grab the bar and use a medium grip width. Hold the bar low in your hands.
  • Unlock your knees. Keep your hips higher than on the Deadlift. Bend your knees but keep them back so the bar doesn’t hit them.
  • Lift your chest and straighten your back.
  • Row, take a big breath, hold it and pull the bar against your lower chest.
  • Lead with your elbows and pull them to the ceiling.
  • Then lower the bar, rolling down your legs and return to the floor.
  • Repeat for more reps.
Related article:  How to Keep Muscle Mass When You Are Away From Training

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

3. Dumbbell Row

How to:

  • Use a flat bench and place a dumbbell on either side of it.
  • Place your right leg on top of the end of the bench, bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor and place your right hand on the other end of the bench.
  • Use your left hand to pick up the dumbbell on the floor and hold the weight while keeping your lower back straight. The palm of your hand should be facing your torso.
  • Pull the resistance straight up to the side of your chest, keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping the torso stationary. Breathe out as you perform this step. Squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move.
  • Lower the resistance straight down to the starting position. Breathe in as you perform this.
  • Repeat the movement for the specified amount of repetitions.
  • Switch sides and repeat again with the other arm.

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

4. T-Bar Row

How to:

  • Place the end of an empty barbell into the corner of a room or if your gym has a landmine unit, then load it.
  • Rest some weight plates on it to hold it down (empty barbell).
  • Load the opposite end of the bar with plates and straddle it, same as a landmine.
  • Bend over at the hips until your torso is about a 45-degree angle to the floor with arms extended.
  • Hook a V-grip handle under the bar and hold with both hands.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar until the plates touch your chest.
  • Repeat for as many reps required.

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (add weight if possible)

5. Wide-Grip Pull up

How to:

  • Grab a pullup bar with your palms facing away from your body and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Allow your arms to hang in a fully extended position.
  • Keeping your shoulders down , pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar.
  • Pause, then slowly lower yourself to the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many reps possible.
 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (add weight or more reps if possible)

6. Chin-Up

How to:

  • Grab the pull-up bar with the palms facing your torso and a grip closer than the shoulder width.
  • Both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, keep your torso as straight as possible while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out.
  • As you breathe out, pull your torso up until your head is around the level of the pull-up bar. Concentrate on using the biceps muscles in order to perform the movement and keep the elbows close to your body.
  • After a second of squeezing the biceps in the contracted position, slowly lower your torso back to the starting position; when your arms are fully extended. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement.
  • Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
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3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (add weight or more reps if possible)

7. Lat Pulldown (Wide- and Close-Grip)

How to:

  • Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley.
  • Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width.
  • Both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees whilst creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out.
  • As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position.
  • After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.
  • Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (add weight if possible)

8. Seated Cable Row (Wide- and Close-Grip)

How to:

  • You will need access to a low pulley row machine with a V-bar. The V-bar will enable you to have a neutral grip where the palms of your hands face each other.
  • First sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked.
  • Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles.
  • With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out.
  • Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement.
  • At that point you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in.
  • Repeat for repetitions.

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (add weight if possible)

  • Optional sets are up to you. 
  • If you’re an advanced lifter, or you feel you have more in you at the end of the workout, you can do 3 more sets. 9 heavy sets is plenty!
  • Once you hit the top of your rep range for one set, move up in weight.
  • Rest 3 minutes in between each 4-to-6-rep set, 2 minutes in between 6-to-8-rep sets and 1 minute in between 8-to-10-rep sets.

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