What more could you want than a protruding posterior, after all “shows are won from the back” as the saying goes. Your back, like your legs, covers a huge part of your body, if this is a weak area for you there is no hiding it on stage. However, if you have big drooping wide lats with a prominent lumbar Christmas tree and huge dense slabs of traps on top of traps, then no doubt you will enjoy hearing the crowd gasp and cheers as you hit your back shots.
Building a beast of a back is not going to be easy, you need to attack your workouts with as heavy weights as possible while maintaining a strong position throughout. Every back exercise calls for chest up, back arched and bum out form enabling you to be able to contract your back muscles properly. As I do with most of my training, I like to keep it simple and focus on what works. For back training it’s as simple as pulling heavy things down from above your head or pulling heavy things towards you, so here’s how it goes.
Single Arm Pull Downs
As I do with all of my workouts - I incorporate isolateral exercises. With this exercise you can start light ensuring the lats are fully warmed up before nailing them with 1 or 2 working sets. This machine allows for a good squeeze at peak contraction so you can really feel the lower lat nipping at the bottom, it also allows you to get a full stretch at the extended position whilst maintaining correct form. If you don’t have access to this machine in your gym then this can be done on a lat pull down machine with a single handle or you could you use any bar which enables you to have a supinated grip.
Bent Over Row
In this variation I’m using an EZ bar with an under hand grip, you can use any kind of bar you want with any grip you want, through various angles to hit specific parts of your back. The position of your elbows relative to your torso dictates which area of the back you will hit with the given exercise. Reverse grip and close grip exercises in which your elbows stay in close will target the lower lat, wide grip over hand rowing movements will target the upper lats, rhomboids and traps.
Single Arm Dumbbell Row
Another isolateral exercise I love to use to hammer the lats is the single arm dumbbell row. You can really shift some weight with this one and feel your lats fill up with blood. It’s key to fully extend and stretch the lat as much as possible then row the dumbbell back into your waist, while maintaining that slightly arched back.
I choose deadlifting off the rack mainly because it takes your legs out of the movement, when I’m training back I want to train just my back and no other major muscle group. However if I’m training somewhere there is no rack I will do these from the floor as they are a key exercise for back thickness. I will normally do these on the week I’m not doing free bar squats as they are both very taxing on the lower back when shifting heavy weight. Form is key here as rounding of your back could lead to major injury. Again 2-3 warm up sets and then one all out heavy set plus a drop set is normally how I roll on deadlifts.
High Cable Row
With this exercise I’m using an EZ style bar attached to the row machine with an over hand wide grip to target the upper lats, traps and rhomboids with some rear delts in there too. I like to finish with these after all the heavy stuff to really fill the upper back and traps with blood. I aim for around 15-20reps, I like to execute these nice and slow, bringing the bar to my lower chest with the elbows out and holding the contraction for a second or two.
In this variation I’m using an EZ bar with a under hand grip, you can use any kind of bar you want with any grip you want, through various angles to hit specific parts of your back. The position of your elbows relative to your torso dictates which area of the back you will hit with the given exercise. Reverse grip and close grip exercises in which your elbows stay in close will target the lower lat, wide grip over hand rowing movements will target the upper lats, rhomboids and traps.
Give these exercises a go and really commit to the workout, over time you'll be able to make some real progress!