The back muscles make up the second biggest muscle group of the body (after the legs) with the lats, rhomboids, traps, teres major and minor and erector spinae all coming together to make up the back. Although they all join together to complete one 'back' body part, they all need to be trained together with compound lifts but also separately to really isolate each muscle, which is needed to build an impressive and complete back.
Many people say that fitness and bodybuilding shows are won from the back. When shown off on stage, an impressive back combined with proper conditioning is crucial to impress the judges. This is why the 'back double bicep' and 'back lat spread' are two of the compulsory poses for almost every competition today.
Personally my back is probably my best muscle, as it has good width and is starting to thicken out now. I feel this is due to the amount of pull ups and heavy rows with different grips and angles that I do.
I use the same basic tried and tested heavy movements as they have worked for me, but I also add additional isolation exercises to dissect and target different parts separately and below are my three favourite ones.
Band-Assisted Pull Ups
I'll be honest, I suck at pull ups which is why I use the band to assist me just enough to finish my set after reaching normal bodyweight failure. There are different coloured bands with different levels of resistance, so it's up to you to find out which one will suit you best. You don't want these to be easy but the band just gives you that help on the pulling up part of the movement. I start my back workouts with four to five sets of these (50 reps) before moving on to lat pull downs to isolate my lats, which builds the width of the back.
Cable Reverse Flyes
These really hit the rear delts with constant tension. Although part of the shoulders, they are viewed from the back and, when trained properly, will help you look bigger and thicker from a side on view. Rear delts are a muscle which many people neglect as they are small and most people do not see them as necessary to train, but when looking to have that complete impressive back and physique, they are crucial.
I do a lot of heavy rows with different grips to build the thickness of my back. I finish most of my back workouts with TRX rows as I like the stretch I can feel on the negative part of the movement and the burn I feel when pulling up, keeping my elbows tight by my sides. I put a step against the wall to put my feet on which makes the movement harder and I focus on a slow controlled negative and a strong explosive pull up for each rep.These make a great workout finisher or a good super set when paired with normal dumbbell or barbell rows.
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