Learn how to build lean muscle in your back in our dedicated guide to the ultimate back workout.
If you’re looking to build strength and size in your back, then you’ve certainly come to the right place!
You’ve heard of people skipping leg day, right? Well a muscle group which is often forgotten about is the back.
Sure, you can work on your chest and arms 5 days per week, but you’ll soon be left looking disproportionate as f**k brah.
Focusing your training on building lean muscle in your back can be beneficial for many reasons, and here’s just some of the benefits a regular back workout can have:
- Improved Posture – no more slouching and a protruding gut, improved posture will not only help to avoid back injury, but you’ll feel and look better too!
- Reduction in Back Pain – Back pain is the worst. We know. But as long as you perform reps with correct form, then performing regular back workouts can help to alleviate back pain.
- A Balanced Body – you’ll build strength in an often overlooked muscle group, which will help you to achieve a proportional physique.
- Increase Your Sex Appeal – It’s not all about the abs bro, women also love the ‘V-Taper’ look. It’s a fact.
To achieve a great physique, then you’ll need to learn how to ‘grow your wings’ And no, we’re not talking about consuming a s**t load of Red Bull, bro.
What we mean is, get your fat a** off that couch and get into the gym. Stop focusing all your time on building your chest and arms, and get to work on building muscle in the area where you’re falling behind.
Whether you’re just starting out in the gym, or are a more advanced gym-goer, then Spot Me Bro have you covered with a back workout for both ends of the spectrum.
Key Back Muscles
- Lower Back (Lower Trapezius and Erectors) – The lower trapezius can be defined as the following: It acts on the scapula, with its main role as the prime mover in scapular depression. While the erectors line your spinal column from your lower to your upper back.
- Middle Back (Rhomboids) – As you squeeze your scapula or shoulder blades, then this muscle is activated.
- Lats (Latissimus Dorsi) – The largest of all the back muscles, they are known to be responsible for the V-Taper look, so pay close attention to this muscle!
- Traps (Trapezius) – A complex set of muscles, which King Of The Gym define as the following: They control the scapulae (shoulder blades), which play a role in shrugging, neck movement, head support, and more.
All the above muscles are shown in a body anatomy photo below:
Image Credit: Myprotein
What Are The Best Back Exercises?
Image Credit: Muscle and Fitness
The deadlift is the mother of all back exercises, and is what is known as a ‘compound exercise’. If you’re not sure what that is, then don’t worry brah.
A compound exercise essentially involves the use of more than muscle group. In the case of deadlifting, this exercise not only works your back, but also your legs and glutes too.
There are different variations of this exercise that you can perform, including the stiff-legged deadlift, regular deadlift, and sumo deadlift, all of which all place focus on different parts of the back.
The exercise is best performed by using weight plates loaded onto a barbell, although it’s possible to perform the movement using a ‘trap bar’ or even dumbbells.
Form is important though, as poor execution of this exercise is a sure fire way to f**k up your back. Perform reps slowly with a full range of motion, and keep your shins as close to the bar as possible when performing the ‘pulling’ movement.
Image Credit: Ironman Magazine
Lat pulldowns have been a staple exercise in the routines of bodybuilders for many years, and for good reason – it allows you to build great strength and size in your back.
Wide grip, narrow grip, underhand grip – there are a variety of ways to perform this exercise, all of which target different areas of the back.
It is used as an alternative to, or an exercise to accompany pull ups, and involves working the lats – yes the clue really is in the name brah.
Image Credit: Oregon Sports News
Pull ups are an exercise which most people struggle with, at least to start with. It is an exercise which involves placing your hands onto a bar, and simply lifting your own body weight so your head is above the bar.
For those that struggle to perform the exercise, then you can either have a friend assist you, or use an assisted pull up machine that will allow you to steadily improve so that you can one day perform the exercise without any additional aid.
As you become more advanced, then you can either increase your repetition range, add additional weight, or both!
Image Credit: Fitness Flash
Rows are an important movement in the bodybuilder’s arsenal. They can really help to achieve thickness in your back which will leave you looking huge in no time.
There are a variety of exercises which you can use to build muscle using a ‘rowing’ movement. Here’s just some of the exercises which you can perform:
- One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
- Seated Cable Rows
- Chest Supported Machine Rows
- Bent-Over Barbell Rows
- T-Bar Rows
These are all tried and tested exercises which you can incorporate into your routine, each focus on a different part of the back, but switching up between these exercises will help you to achieve a thick, well-balanced back.
The Ultimate Back Workout – Beginners
Image Credit: bodybuilding.com
This workout is designed for those that are starting their journey to a bigger back. It’s a one-way ticket to gainzville that appreciates your starting from a point of a noob.
It incorporates exercises for all of the key areas of your posterior upper body including your lats, traps, rhomboids, and rear delts.
There’s enough volume in there to ramp up some serious muscle, but not too much that you can’t mix up your recovery shake the day after because your grip is hot from all of those pulls.
In the first two sets you need to go to ‘fatigue’. This is the point where if you tried to hammer out one more rep you’d fail to finish the lift.
On the last set, go for failure – the point where you just can’t finish the rep, no matter how much you try.
And hey bro, use a spotter. Now’s not the time to end up in the emergency room.
- Deadlift: 3 x 4-8
- Wide Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8-15
- Overhand Grip Seated Row: 3 x 8-15
- Straight Arm Pulldown: 3 x 8-15
- Single Arm Row: 3 x 8-15
The Ultimate Back Workout – Advanced
Image Credit: Strength Sensei
For this more advanced back workout we’ve thrown a group of sport science nerds in a room with some hardcore lifting brahs and only let them out once they’d formulated the most science-based, advanced program the universe has ever seen.
There were fights. Their were official complaints. But it was worth it.
This advanced back workout program nestles nicely somewhere just below your maximum recoverable volume. And if you’re not sure what that means for your results… Big. Ass. Back. Muscles.
You’ll do your back workout twice a week with different exercises in each session.
Now check this out – there are only three exercises per workout. But the volume is as high as you’ll need to recover from in anticipation of the next workout.
Do this for 4 weeks and then switch up your exercises to something different.
You’ll gain so much mass that NASA will be concerned about your gravitational pull. Quick, someone call deGrasse Tyson!
Here it is:
- Pullups (weighted if needed): 6 sets x AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
- Barbell Bent-over Row: 6 sets x 8-12 reps
- Parallel Grip Pulldown: 6 sets x 15 reps
- Cable Row: 6 x 8-12
- Underhand Grip Pulldown: 6 sets x 8-12 reps
- Single Arm Row: 6 sets x 15 reps
How many times a week can I train?
You’ll obviously need to dedicate time to training your other muscle groups, but we recommend you train your back muscles 1-2 times per week – maybe more if you’re advanced.
This translate to optimal muscle gains, but also allows your body to recover sufficiently so you can give everything you’ve got for your next workout.
However, it depends on your overall training routine, and how many days you will be training in the gym per week.
But the bottom line comes down to this – you need to give your body ample recovery time in order to help facilitate optimal muscle growth.
Do I need a spotter?
Form is important when performing any exercise – this can help you to avoid injury, and most importantly you won’t make a fool out of yourself in the gym. You wouldn’t want that now would you, brah?
Spotters come in handy in particular for exercises in which the weights have a risk of dropping the weight on yourself and becoming trapped, such as the barbell bench press for example.
It’s completely up to you, but we’d recommend using a spotter as a beginner, as this can really help you to progress effectively and efficiently.
They come in the form of either a personal trainer, or even a training partner. So having someone step in to assist you can’t be a bad thing.
That’s not to say more advanced gym-goers don’t need a spotter, even the pros sometimes need a spotter should things go wrong.
Well, that’s it folks. Your very own guide to the ultimate back workout. By now, you’ll know how important it is to work on your back muscles on a regular basis if you want to obtain a well-rounded, defined physique. If not, read this guide again brah.
Now we’re not saying that you’ll turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight, but, by following the tips included in this guide, then you’ll be on the right path to ‘grow your wings’.
Through solid hard work and dedication, then muscle gains in your back will soon happen, so long as you follow a consistent training plan alongside a healthy, balanced diet.