If you want to build a large upper body then you need to train your back. Many gym-goers focus on their chest when trying to build a big upper body, but training your back on a regularly basis has to be part of your training regime if you want to build a ‘V’ shaped body that’s in proportion. Let’s take a look at 5 exercises you can do to build a well developed back.

Best Back Exercises To Build Muscle

The key thing when building muscle is to life heavy with good form. For the following exercises you will start each exercise with a warm up set and then do 3 working sets, in a rep range of 4-6 reps. This is the optimal rep range to build muscle and strength.

#1 – Bent over barbell row

This exercise will be performed with a barbell. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip placing your hands more than a shoulder width apart and then bend over at the hips keeping your back straight.

When in position pull the weight up towards your belly button and this will help to focus on engaging your lats. Complete 3 working sets of 4-6 reps.

If you’re finding 6 reps easy, then increase the weight. If you’re getting less than 4 reps, then you’re going to heavy and should reduce the weight. It’s really important to focus on the form as well. Make sure you’re set properly.

The further forward you bend the more you will target your lats. The more upright you are the more you will target your traps, and targeting your traps isn’t the purpose of this exercise!

man performing barbell row exercise

#2 – Wide Grip Pull Up

Pull ups really are one of the best exercises you can do for building your back. Taking a wide grip will focus on your lats. When performing wide grip pull ups focus on an explosive movement when pulling yourself up, and then slowly lower yourself down to the starting position counting 4 seconds.

For some people pull ups are difficult, but most gyms have an assisted pull up machine, so start on this if you struggle to do pull ups. If you find them easy, then you can make them weighted by tucking a dumbbell between your legs (as pictured) or by using a weight belt.

If you’re easily getting 6 reps then add weight and this will make it more difficult and work your muscles more. Pull ups are a great sign of overall strength and should definitely be part of your training regime.

wide grip pull ups

#3 – Dumbbell Row

This exercise will work your lats, rhomboids, lower traps and your biceps. I prefer to do this exercise using a bench. Place your knee of the bench and your hand in front. Your other leg should offer you support out to your side. Then with your free arm hold the dumbbell and pull it up.

Be warned that this is an exercise that is commonly done wrong. When lifting the weight think about pulling up your elbow not the weight. Doing this will ensure that you’re pulling the weight with the correct form.

Make sure you get the weight right here as well. You want to push yourself, but lifting too heavy can lead to you losing form and not working the muscles you actually want to target. Keep your back straight when performing this exercise to avoid injury.

dumbbell row

#4 – Shrugs

You may be thinking ‘err isn’t this a shoulder exercise?’ We could debate on whether you should be doing shrugs on your shoulder day or back day, but we haven’t got time for that here!

This exercise involves pulling the weight, not pushing, and targets your upper traps. For this reason it arguably should be considered as a back exercise and that’s why it’s part of this workout.

Shrugs can be performed in a number of different ways. It can be done with dumbbells, with a barbell or a hex bar if your gym has one available. Using dumbbells or a hex bar means your hands will be by your sides, making it easier to contract. Using a barbell can make it more difficult to complete the contraction.

You should be able to go heavy on traps, but make sure the movement is coming from your traps. Your arms should be pretty much straight throughout the exercise. Also make sure to keep your back straight and keep looking straight ahead. Moving your neck can cause an injury.

For each rep focus on pulling the weight up and squeezing at the top, with a short pause before lowering the weight to the starting position and completing another rep.

Transform Your Back Workout

These exercises will help you to build and strengthen the muscles in your back. To see results make sure you train your back regularly, ideally once a week, and ensure that you’re eating enough protein to help support muscles growth and repair.

If you need anymore information on back training, then email me via supplementsecrets@outlook.com for free advice.