Developing your back to its full potential is an absolute necessity if you intend to have a massive upper body. This is because the largest muscles of the upper body reside here – the latissimus dorsi (commonly known as the ‘lats’) and the trapezius (traps). Complete your physique by perfecting these 4 exercises detailed below.
- Wide Grip Pull Ups
Wide Grip pulls ups should be a staple in any experienced bodybuilders back training program. This exercise primarily targets the lat width, in turn building a broader back. Wide grip pull ups do not only widen the lats, but they also widen the shoulders by working the entire shoulder girdle, essentially widening the entire upper body. The scapulae (bones at the back of the shoulders) are stretched, spread apart and made wider as result of constantly performing the wide grip pull up effectively.
Taking into account that wide grip pull ups are an advanced exercise, you may choose to perform the wide grip lat pull down in the alternative in order to yield similar results.
- Bent-over Barbell Rows
Barbell rows are a great mass building exercise for the entire upper back. The exercise primarily focuses on the lat and mid-back for thickness. How to perform the bent-over barbell row: take a shoulder-width grip, pronated (also known as ‘over-hand’) grip on the bar. Bend at the hips & slightly flex your knees, so your upper body is just slightly above parallel to the floor. Maintain a neutral spine, by keep your head align with the plane of your back. Now, row with your back, by pulling back your elbows in an upwards motion, rowing the bar to your abdominal region and not your chest!
- T-Bar Rows
T-Bar Rows are another great exercise for adding thickness to the outside and lower lats. Keep the same form as you would for the bent-over barbell row: knees flexed, back straight and slightly above parallel. Do not stand up right with the weight, as this exercise is a row and not a deadlift. You need to allow for a good stretch for the lats, as well as a good contraction at the top of the movement pattern. You can involve some rhythm and momentum, however, always ensure you are getting that contraction and stretch at the bottom.
- Cross-Bench Dumbbell Pullovers
This is a great compound movement for the lats, rib cage, serratus, triceps and pectorals. The exercise is performed across a flat bench and not along it. Lie so that your shoulders are on the edge of the bench with your head hanging freely of the bench. Hold a moderately heavy dumbbell over your chest at arms length. Have a slight bend in your elbows, so that your arms are about 98 percent straight in order to keep the strain off the tendons. Try to keep your hips and legs lower than the level of the bench. Take a deep exaggerated breathe to fill your lungs with air to expand your rib cage to the maximum. Lower the dumbbell as far behind and below your head as possible. Exhale as you pull the weight back over your chest.
If you are still unsure of the following exercises, please deploy your own due diligence by taking out the time to research or youtube the exercise.
In any event, please feel free to drop a comment and let us know your top 4 back building exercises.