For most of us, building an impressive, large back is about achieving a powerful V-shape that will make you look more dominant and “alpha” while also giving the impression of a small, incredibly fit waist.
But perhaps even more important is that a lot of back work also makes the body as safe as possible from injuries, corrects weaknesses and muscular imbalances in the back area and strengthens the spine as well as the supporting muscles, ligaments and tendons.
5 Super Effective Back Exercises (You Probably Not Doing)
There are many ways to make a great back workout program, and we’ll assume you already have your favorite exercises. But if you’ve been exercising for a while and you are still not entirely satisfied with the results, you may be selling yourself short by neglecting these 5 super effective back exercises!
If you’ve been looking for that one almost magical exercise that holds the key to building maximum muscle, look no further. The deadlift was and always is the best exercise to help you grow in size like a pro, especially when it comes to hamstring and lower back development. In fact, it’s a basic functional movement that you just can’t afford and you know it! If you’ve been avoiding it out of fear of injury, it’s time to learn how to do it right and unleash your full mass building potential.
To avoid pressure from your spine and lower back muscles, keep your back straight at all times. Take a deep breath and hold it as you start pulling off the floor – this increases core stability by supporting the spine and helping muscles generate more strength. As you pull the weight, make sure your shoulders and hips come up at the same relative speed at the same time.
To avoid injury and to hit the muscles you are trying to target, movement should be slow and controlled at all times, with your feet flat on the floor throughout the movement.
# 2. Rows of meadows
Meadow rows can be one of the most effective back exercises for anyone struggling with a stubborn back. This modified version of a one-armed dumbbell row can help you gain mass and carve detail like no other exercise, so make sure to include it in your routine if you want great back development.
- Charge a T-bar or put weight on one end of an Olympic barbell and place the other end in the corner of two walls. Stand on the floor in a staggered position next to the loaded end of the bar, with the leading foot perpendicular to the bar.
- Bend forward at the waist and bend forward so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Keeping your knees slightly bent, grasp the loaded end of the bar with your left arm in the overhand grip and place your other hand on your thigh for support.
- Begin the exercise by rowing the weight up so your left hand is just outside your chest. As you lift, squeeze your back muscles and hold the upper contracted position for a second. Do not allow the trunk to swing.
- Lower the weight again without the plates touching the floor.
# 3. J cable
Because the lat fibers are neither completely vertical nor completely horizontal, most traditional back exercises will not allow you to fully address them. And this is where the J pulldown comes in. It is a knee exercise that allows full lat activation by forcing your arms to work according to the oblique movement pattern of your lat fibers, stimulating maximum recruitment of the middle back muscles and growth.
By combining a stiff arm pull with a modified row of seats, the J-cable pull combines the best of both worlds in one powerful movement, making it one of the most effective back exercises ever.
In other words, this exercise combines scapular depression and scapular retraction in the most effective way and can uniquely deplete the upper latissimus, allowing for better mass gain.
- Position yourself on your knees in front of an adjustable cable machine with a lat pull-up bar in the high position. Keep your shoulders down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width with arms outstretched and elbows extended.
- Start the movement like a pulldown with your arms stiff, then gently transition into a rowing movement. While holding your torso, pull the bar down until it touches your chest and you feel an adequate stretch in your lats. Pause for a second and then slowly return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
- Do not round your upper back or let your shoulders sag. Make sure to sit upright with your chest up and shoulders back and down throughout the movement.
- Keep your head in a relaxed but firm position.
# 4. Doug Brignole’s – Lat pull-ins
Lat pull-ins were developed by bodybuilding coach and biomechanics expert Doug Brignole, who claims that this exercise is the ideal lat movement and that many experienced bodybuilders seem to support his view.
In other words, lat pull-ins can make up for what other traditional back movements lack in terms of lat activation, particularly rowing moves and lat pull-ups and chin-ups, as you can stretch and contract your lats in a far superior way .
In contrast to the standard pull-up or pull-up, in which the resistance is pulled vertically and downwards, and in contrast to standard rowing, in which the resistance is pulled horizontally and backwards, the resistance on the lat pulldown is placed directly on the side of the body is then pulled inward, which emphasizes the movement of the humerus towards the origin of the lats on the spine, thereby most effectively grasping the lats.
This is not to say that you should give up rowing, pull-ups, and pull-ups completely, as they are great moves that will surely play an important part in a balanced and complete exercise program, but rather to maximize the tension on your lats and bring yours Back development to the next level, you would benefit greatly from adding lat pull-ins to the mix as well.
Lat pulls are ideally performed with one arm and cable coming from the side at an angle between 45 and 60 degrees – 45 degrees is better for the upper lat fibers, while 60 degrees is ideal for the lower lat fibers.
- Set up a bench a few feet from a pulley machine and set a single pulley attachment as high as possible.
- Extend your arm directly to the side at a 45/60 degree angle and grip the attachment with an underhand grip.
- Tilt your torso slightly towards the machine and pull the resistance inward, to your side, until you get a good contraction in the lats. Your elbow should move inward and toward your spine.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
# 5. Incline rowing with dumbbells
As flawed as they are, rowing movements are absolutely necessary to building your overall back width and thickness as they help target multiple muscle groups in the back complex, including the traps, rhomboids, and small muscles of the middle and upper back. That being said, there are many different variations of rowing available today and for maximum benefit you need to choose the most effective variation that we firmly believe is the dumbbell row.
This is because dumbbell oblique rowing uses the same basic movement as normal bent over row, but with one big difference: your body leans against an incline bench as you move, which makes the exercise much more effective. Why? The swing is harder to start with so you can maximize the tension on the lats and middle back. Since your upper body is fully supported, the stress on your lower back is also drastically reduced.
Finally, this version will help you maintain optimal row form throughout the movement and better work your traps and lats, making oblique rowing one of the most effective back exercises for building mass.
Additionally, dumbbell incline rows also hit the deep back and front spinal muscles, which are extremely important in building a powerful core and improving balance and strength.
This exercise can be done with either dumbbells or by attaching a D-bar to either end of a twin cable station.
- Lie face down on an incline bench with your chest on the mat and your feet touching the floor for support, holding a dumbbell with a neutral grip and arms outstretched in each hand.
- Begin the movement by pulling your elbows through, then row the dumbbells to your sides by pulling back your shoulder blades and flexing your elbows.
- At the top of the movement, pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Lower the dumbbells to the starting position, making sure you reach full extension.
- Don’t let your chest fall off the pad.
- If you find that you cannot compress your shoulder blades at the top of the movement, switch to lighter weights.
These five highly effective back exercises could be just the boost you need to build a back that is twisting your head. Make no mistake, it takes a lot of work to really highlight your back and it will take more than pull-ups and flexed rows to get there.
The back is a large and complex muscle area and concentrating on a few good exercises will not bring you sustainable progress in the long run. So turn things upside down by adding these five super effective back exercises to your routine and get one step closer to the monster back of your dreams!