No wonder there are so many back exercises you can do, it’s a huge muscle group! With so many options to choose from it can be daunting to know which are best ones and are going to give you the most bang for your buck. So we’ve taken the guesswork out for you. Target everything from your lats to your traps. Below we’ve listed 5 exercises to maximize the whole muscle group and give you the best back in the gym.
Wide-Grip Pull Up
Pull-ups of any kind are a great back strengthening exercise but we’ve chosen the wide grip for its emphasis on the upper lats. A close-grip pull up engages your biceps and pecs, whereas the wide grip concentrates primarily on the back. It’s best to do these at the start of your workout when you have the most energy for them, that way you can also load up with a weight belt to increase their effectiveness. Form is vital with these so if your struggling don’t feel you need to add a weight belt yet, its important to get your form down first then once you’re comfortable you can start adding a weight belt to keep it challenging.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
Unilateral exercises like this are great at ensuring you get an equal workout on each side of your back. Most of us tend to have a stronger side and this only gets worse if we never do unilateral exercises, as we tend to do most of the work with that one side. A single-arm dumbbell row allows you greater range of motion and can enable you to lift heavier if a weaker side was holding you back.
This is arguably the best exercise you can do for overall backside development as the barbell deadlift targets not only your whole back from the lats to the spinal erectors but also engages your legs and glutes, making it the best for building mass. Again, technique is super important here so make sure to get that down first, once you’ve nailed that then you can start adding massive weights which will ensure you’ll get a huge back.
Tip: Stick to the classic stance, other variations like the sumo deadlift will start to focus on other areas than your back.
Bent-Over Barbell Row
These are great at working the larger muscle groups of both the upper and lower back equally making it great for adding thickness to your back. If you’re looking to increase strength go for less reps and a heavier weight, a good starting point would be 5 sets of 5-3 reps on the heaviest weight that you can still lift with proper form. But be careful…don’t kid yourself here by trying to lift heavier than you can, you’ll only end up with an injury and you’ll lose the correct form and therefore won’t be getting the most out of this exercise.
Finally the Wide-Grip Seated Row
Although it is often the less popular of the two row stances (wide or close grip), the wide grip is far more effective at targeting the upper lats and engaging the majority of the back musculature. So if you want to get the sought after V-taper you need to be working your upper lats… so rethink your grip next time your doing seated rows.