Mean Back Workout

Many trainees miss some back-training sessions because they “can’t see their back”, and according to them therefore, there’s no point in training the muscle groups which you have no view of.

Well that is considered a common mistake, since a bulky, massive back not only looks mean but opens you up and gives the so-desired V shape.

Even if you don’t neglect your back, it might be because you don’t pick the correct exercises, or you don’t train within the intensity required for muscle growth.

If you happen to be any of the two types, you are on the right place.

We will give you a nice back workout, which will act as a problem solver, whether you have issues making your back wider or thicker.

The workout is split into two parts. The first part emphasizes on the thickness of the back, and the second part has an accent on width-developing movements.

However, you can always switch to a width first-thickness second workout, if you want to prioritize the width development of your back.

Back Exercises for Thickness Back Exercises for Width
Dead-lifts Wide grip pull-ups
Barbell rows Lat pull-downs
Dumbbell rows Narrow grip lat pull-downs
T-bar rows Cable pulldown
Cable rows Dumbbell pullover

Now let’s get to the main part- The workout itself

Thickness Exercises



This is one of the most important compound movements, that engage the whole body, and develop the lower back musculature, as well as the lats and trapezius.

It’s good to start off the workout with it (of course, after a proper warm up), as this is an exercise where you can put your strength to the limits, when you are least exhausted in the beginning of the workout.

Remember, you will be going heavy on the lats couple of sets, but make sure to keep good form and posture, to avoid back injuries.

If the weight is too heavy for you to handle, you can use straps, or simply reduce the weight.

Sets- 5

Repetitions- 12, 10, 10, 8, 6

Start off with two warm up sets, using a light weight for 12 and 10 repetitions, then follow up with 3 heavy working sets of 10, 8 and 6 repetitions.


  • Place the barbell on the ground right in front of you.
  • Remember, this is a DEADlift. You have to lift the weight from a dead point, rather than taking it off of the rack.
  • Place your feet at shoulder width.
  • Your toes must be pointing forward, or slightly outward.
  • Grab the barbell- You can either use overhand, underhand or mixed grip- This is your own pick, as one grip may not be unified.
  • Once you grab the barbell, keep the back straight and under tension.
  • Lift the weight off of the floor, until the point your body is at a 90-degree angle, then return to the initial position

Important notes

Don’t overextend your back suddenly further than the 90-degree angle, as that might damage your lower back musculature.

Keep the pace moderate and try not to bounce the weight off of the floor.

You can even avoid the dead stop, and let the weight down 2 inches above the ground, without touching it.

Barbell Rows

This is a basic exercise, used to build thickness in the back musculature.


Repetitions- 10, 10, 8

Complete one set of 10 repetitions with a moderate weight, followed by two heavy sets of 10 and 8 repetitions.


  • Take the loaded barbell off of the rack.
  • Keep the back straight and lower your body to a 45-degree angle or until it’s parallel to the ground.
  • Pull the barbell up to the lower portion of your abdomen, then let it down slowly to the original position.

Important notes

Keep your elbows closer to the body to engage the back musculature more, and achieve greater contraction.

Refrain from swinging your body and using inertial movements.

T-Bar Row

This is another great, basic rowing movement, that targets the back in a unique fashion, as it engages pretty much every single sector of the musculature, gives a good stretch and a strong contraction.

Sets- 2

Repetitions- 10, 10

Pick a weight with which you can complete two sets of 10 reps until failure.


  • Place the barbell in a corner on one of its ends.
  • Load the barbell.
  • Grab the barbell by either using a cable row pulley or your hands.
  • Keep your body parallel to the ground.
  • Pull the barbell to the middle portion of the abdomen.
  • Puff your chest up, squeezing the back, then let the weight down without touching the ground

Important notes

Don’t swing the weight.

Don’t let it touch the ground

Look forward.

Keep moderate pace.

Width Exercises

Wide Grip Pull-Ups

The wide grip pull-up is hands down the greatest exercise when it comes to building quality muscle mass in the back department.

Sets- 3 until failure


  • Grab the pull-up bar significantly wider than shoulder width.
  • Get your legs together.
  • Pull up until your nose or chin are at the bar level, then let the body down, stretching the back.

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Downs

Again, one very basic cable exercise that mimics the pull-up movement, and pretty much isolates the back.


  • Sit down, grab the bar as wide as possible.
  • Keep the back straight and pull the bar until it reaches the lower portion of the chest, then let it up to the initial position.

Important notes

Again, don’t swing the weight.

Keep your torso static.

You should always remember that an aesthetic physique should be pleasant to look at from every angle, and that includes the back.

The saying that “bodybuilding shows are won from the back” has been proven through years of bodybuilding competitions.

Every single Mr. Olympia until now had a back that was a sight to be reckoned with- Arnold, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman- You name them.

A big, well developed back is the perfect addition to your arsenal of aesthetics.

So, make sure to pay your dues by investing time and effort into the dead-lifts, pull-ups and rowing movements during each back workout.

Stay wide!

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