A males back, particularly the rear traps are the muscles which make men look muscular in regular clothing. This article is the perfect resource for men learning how to get a big back and wondering what are the best back exercises to build real mass.
It is also vital to train back muscles thoroughly due to the positive benefits which can be seen on your posture and therefore height. Some men choose to neglect working out back thoroughly as it is not directly visible to themselves.
Evolutionary the v taper is what females find most attractive about a male’s body. Building your latissimus dorsi muscles will again give the illusion of having a smaller waist leading to a more significant v taper. Segmenting your workout to hit the different muscle groups of the back is essential in learning how to get a big back.
People who possess weak back muscles are more likely to suffer from strain or tension build-up in their lower or upper back, which could lead to severe pain that completely prevents you from working out. The University of Maryland Medical Centre explains that ‘’back strengthening exercises build the strength needed to support and keep your spine in its proper position’’. Finding a solution to how to get a big back can play a large role in keeping your spine health with age.
When learning how to get a big back, emphasis should be placed on compound exercises such as pull ups and the deadlift. A strong back is also vital to having a big squat and bench. You can’t move huge weights in the squat without the back strength to support it, while in the bench strong lats are critical to being able to lower big weights in the proper groove whilst driving the bar off the chest. Incorporating compound lifts is vital for any male trying to achieve their fitness goals.
The most vital aspect of learning is how to get a big back is however diet. Read my guide on how to gain muscle (the ultimate bulking diet) for more. I recommend MuscleFood for top quality protein foods including fresh meat delivered straight to your home. The Link is below.
Best Back Exercises
Below I discuss some of the best exercises to learn how to get a big back. I would recommend guys to stay between 10-12 reps for the majority of sets to really force muscle hypertrophy rather than just increase strength. I would also recommend PayAsUGym for your training requirements. In my personal quest to find the answer to how to get a big back, hitting 15 sets per workout of 5 different exercises was key. Also focusing on rows and pulldowns worked better for my back than deadlifts.
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In order to really benefit from learning how to get a big back, Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for back mass and strength. Deadlifts tend to have the largest effect on the lower back which is not normally hit by any significant extent with rows and pulldowns.
Your lower back must stay neutral to avoid injury. Rounding it during heavy deadlifts is dangerous for your spine. It puts uneven pressure on your spinal discs which can injure them. Always Deadlift with a neutral lower back –thereby maintaining the natural inward curve of your lower spine. Avoiding injury is essential for searching for the best training routines whilst finding how to get a big back.
- Approach the bar so that it is centered over your feet. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. To solve how to get a big back, bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder-width allowing your shoulder blades to protract. Typically, you would use an alternating grip.
- With your feet and your grip set, take a big breath and then lower your hips and flex the knees until your shins contact the bar. Look forward with your head. Keep your chest up and your back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
- After the bar passes the knees aggressively pull the bar back, pulling your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
- Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor. Form is essential for finding the best solution to how to get a big back.
You can perform the bent-over row exercise with a barbell or dumbbells. If performed correctly and with proper exercise technique, all versions of the bent-over row are effective back strengthening exercises, but the dumbbell version has some benefits that the barbell versions lack. The dumbbell bent-over row works several muscles in your upper body, including your traps, rhomboids, lats, biceps and rear shoulders.
A bilateral exercise works both sides of the body together, such as during a squat, barbell biceps curl or a barbell bent-over row. A unilateral exercise works each side of the body independently of the other, such as during a lunge, one-arm dumbbell curl or a one-arm bent-over row. Dumbbells offer you the unique advantage of performing the bent-over row unilaterally. The best answer to how to get a big back is one where each muscle group within the back is developed to a similar level in terms of both size and comparative strength.
- Holding a barbell/dumbbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.
- Now, while keeping the torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell to you. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
- Then inhale and slowly lower the barbell/dumbbell back to the starting position.
Seated Cable Rows emphasize muscles around the back including the lats, the erector spinae, rear delts, biceps, and forearm flexors. The cable row is a excellent option for practising how to get a big back.
The back needs thickness not just width and the cable row is a fantastic exercise which emphasis back thickness. The cable rows effectiveness stems from the constant pressure being maintained on the back muscles. The cable turned out for me to be one of the best solutions to how to get a big back.
- For this exercise you will need access to a low pulley row machine with a V-bar. Note: The V-bar will enable you to have a neutral grip where the palms of your hands face each other. To get into the starting position, first sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked.
- Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles.
- With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you. This is the starting position of the exercise.
- Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement. At that point you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in. Holding the contraction is a important aspect of practising how to get a big back.
T Bar Row
The T-bar row allows you to use a neutral grip—palms facing each other—which is the biomechanically strongest position to pull from. For practising in the gym how to get a big back, the negative portion of the rep should be done as slow as the pulling movement itself
This gives T-bar rows an advantage over bent over rows (barbell and dumbbell) in which the palms are turned down. Due to the ability to use both hands, more weight can be lifted which leads to more muscle hypertrophy and overall a thicker back. Thickness is just as important as width for solving how to get a big back.
- Place the end of an empty barbell into the corner of a room.
- Rest a heavy dumbbell or some weight plates on it to hold it down.
- Load the opposite end of the bar with plates and straddle it.
- Bend over at the hips until your torso is about a 45-degree angle to the floor with arms extended.
- Hook a V-grip handle (the kind you see at a cable station) under the bar and hold with both hands.
- Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar until the plates touch your chest. Full rage of motion is key for figuring out how to get a big back.
The lat pulldown is a multi-joint exercise that involves movement at the elbows, shoulders and scapula. With one exercise, you work several different muscles in your upper body. The main mover is the latissimus dorsi, the largest back muscle, which extends down each side of your spine. The biceps, rear delts, rhomboids and traps are also active during the pulldown exercise.
The body movement of the lat pulldown exercise mimics that of a pullup. The difference is that during the lat pulldown you are stationary and the weight moves. You pull a weighted bar toward you instead of pulling yourself up toward a bar. This means you can reap the training benefits of the more advanced pullup exercise without having to lift all of your bodyweight. Carefully controlled movement is essential for solving how to get a big back.
- Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar.
- Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Note on grips: For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width.
- As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
- As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms. Mind muscle connection is another important aspect of solving how to get a big back.
- After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.
Straight Arm Pulldown
The straight arm pulldown is my personal favourite despite it being uncommon to be witnessed in the average gym. It is an isolation movement, meaning that only one joint is mobile, and while it works several of the same major muscle groups as the pullup, it removes biceps from the equation. This allows the muscles of the back to be worked intensely, as bicep endurance is often the limiting muscle factor during a back workout.
The cable straight-arm pulldown is superior to maximally target the lats because the tension is more constant throughout the range of motion, whereas dumbbells or a barbell only load half of the movement. Keeping the muscles contracted, with blood flowing via mind muscle connection through the full movement is how to get a big back.
- You will start by grabbing the wide bar from the top pulley of a pulldown machine and using a wider than shoulder-width pronated (palms down) grip. Step backwards two feet or so.
- Bend your torso forward at the waist by around 30-degrees with your arms fully extended in front of you and a slight bend at the elbows. If your arms are not fully extended then you need to step a bit more backwards until they are. Once your arms are fully extended and your torso is slightly bent at the waist, tighten the lats and then you are ready to begin.
- While keeping the arms straight, pull the bar down by contracting the lats until your hands are next to the side of the thighs. Breathe out as you perform this step.
- While keeping the arms straight, go back to the starting position while breathing in. Keeping the arms straight is key for this solution to how to get a big back.