Do you know the mighty 5? That is, the top 5 back workouts for growing your biggest, meanest back possible?
If you’re tired of being skinny, saddled with stubborn fat, or just plain average looking, it’s time to commit to the top 5 back exercises – routines that will transform your body.
The biggest guys have one thing in common: They do compound lifts—exercises that hit several muscle groups at once. The more muscles you hit at once, the more weight you can lift.
The more weight you can lift, the more muscle you’ll build and the more fat you’ll burn.
Best Back Exercises For Mass
- Dumbbell bent-over row
- Lat pull-down
- Wide grip seated row
- Barbell row
Not only is this ultra-compound movement perhaps the most efficient overall mass builder, but it’s also one of the best lower back exercises.
Because so much weight can be lifted with a deadlift movement, a lot of muscle cells get fired by the nervous system. All that firing away means a lot of muscle growth or hypertrophy.
It also means that the levels of growth stimulating hormones get jacked up.
That’s a bargain: lots of muscle fiber activation plus greater production of anabolic hormones in the body like testosterone—the perfect brew for muscle growth.
2. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Here is one of the best upper back exercises. The cool thing about the bent-over dumbbell row is that you can vary the upward tracking of your arm.
Track it up with your hand closer to your face, and you recruit more upper back fibers.
The middle and low back still get hit plenty, however, especially with heavy weight, a controlled lowering (negative), and a full range of motion (lower all the way to get a stretch in the back before coming back up).
3. Lat Pull-Down
There’s a reason why guys with humongous backs are often seen doing lat pull-downs with tons of weight.
Though the pull-up is often considered one of the great exercises for back muscles, the caveat is that this movement is not practical for heavy people.
However, even the heaviest person can have a seat and pull down tremendous loads of weight. Widest-grip lat-pulls will supercharge the latissimus dorsi muscles and contribute to the much coveted “V taper” shape.
To make the lat pull do the best job, release the bar with control. Don’t let it fly up. Plus, keep buttocks on the seat during the release.
4. Wide Grip Seated Row
One of the best back exercises for mass, this movement allows variation in hand position (as does the lat pull-down).
A wide grip forces recruitment of more latissimus fiber, and the hands can be palms down, palms facing each other and palms up (the last variation for the most biceps recruitment).
Many trainees lean way back as they pull the bar towards them. This muscle substitution pattern takes work away from the targeted muscles.
If you must lean way back, the load is too heavy. Do not tilt back more than a little past vertical, and keep an arch in the lower back at all times.
5. Barbell Row
It’s easy to see why this is one of the best back exercises for giant muscle growth, because the movement of the upper body is the antagonist of the bench press; that is, the muscle groups work to pull, whereas the bench press works to push.
And of course, the bench press is a top builder of chest mass. It stands to reason that the reverse of this is a top builder of back mass.
Stand with feet shoulder width or wider apart, knees slightly bent; keep back parallel to floor; keep lower back arched, and pull a heavy barbell up to your chest all the way with palms facing you. Always lower with control.
Mass Building Formula
• Use as heavy a weight as possible in these top 5 back exercises.
• Increase the weight every time you can do more than 10-12 repetitions.
• Don’t stray from proper form.
• Do 2-3 sets of each twice a week.
For all the great compound routines for every major muscle group, you’ll want to read No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program by Vince DelMonte.
It’s packed full of information about gaining as much mass as possible with a variety of approaches, plus what kinds of exercise burns the most fat, as well as what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid, for best results.
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