The back is often overlooked and undertrained, mainly because, well, you don’t really see it. And that’s mainly because of the failure to focus your attention on the exercises that emphasize on the various muscles in the back department.
If your back is shallow, it shows a lack of density and details. This back workout will help you make it massive.
Most people in the gym think they will develop big and dense backs by just doing lat pulldowns and cable rows. And quite certainly, this is not the case. We’ve said it before and we will say it again- If you do not focus on free weights, your goal of having a thick, detailed back, will be unattainable.
You need to include exercises such as deadlifts, barbell and dumbbell rows, T-bar rows, etc. These are the basic exercises that will help you make your back dense and massive, simply because they engage the whole back musculature, while working in synergy with the pulling arm muscles.
However, this doesn’t mean we should completely neglect vertical pulling movements.
The most effective back exercise is pull-ups. Period.
Our top 3 tips for a MASSIVE Oak-like back
- If the back is your weakest point, prioritize it- Train it first after rest day. Use more weights and repetitions (~10)
- Train your back in a separate workout- just back, nothing else.
- Change your workouts regularly to work on its smaller muscle groups from different angles.
- Flex that back! After every workout, go through a 15-20-minute posing session thoroughly, as that will help you bring the real details into your back.
Bodyweight wide grip pull ups
- Hang freely on the bar, holding it wider than shoulder width
- Look up, keep legs together, pull yourself up
- Once your chin reaches the bar, hold the position briefly and go down slowly
- Load the barbell and place it on the ground
- Stand behind the bar, keeping your feet at shoulder width
- Bend over and grab the barbell. NOTE- Legs are not straight, at the bottom part of the movement, you are supposed to be in a pretty much, quarter squat position.
- Lift the barbell up, extending the torso and keeping the tension on the back- Do not overextend as that will lead to excessive lower back tension, which may lead to injuries
- Slowly let the bar go down, but DO NOT let it touch the ground, as that will help you keep constant tension on the back musculature
- Place the dumbbell by the side of the bench and your leg on the bench
- Step back with the opposite leg so that you are in a comfortable position, then place your arm on the bench and keep your back completely straight
- Grab the dumbbell and let it hang freely
- Look forward and pull the dumbbell, contracting the lats
- Let the weight go down slowly, stretching the lats
Narrow grip lat pull-down (with rope)
- Grab the attachment with an overhand grip and tuck your legs under the pads so that you are comfortably seated
- Keeping your torso straight, lean back slightly
- Feel the back tensing, then pull the rope down to the lower portion of the chest
- Hold the contraction for half a second, then let the weight go down slowly
- Lie on the side of a bench so that your upper back is on its edge and the rest of the body is hanging
- Place your feet forward and together, in a position which allows you to get your hips down
- Grab the dumbbell and keep your hips hanging down- The hips do not go up during any part of the movement
- Keep elbows slightly bent and maintain that static position- No extension/flexion in the elbow
- Let the weight go down and behind you slowly, stretching out the torso and the lats
- Pull the weight over and above your head- To keep constant tension on the ‘wings’ only pull until the dumbbell reaches the forehead
As we already cleared out, the back, as a massive muscle group that it is, requires a lot of work, which, cannot be achieved ONLY through the most basic, cable exercises. These exercises of course have a role in the back workout and must NOT be completely neglected, however, we also shouldn’t completely rely on them.
This is why all of our back workouts, which you can see in this section revolve around heavy, compound, free-weight movements. Keep in mind that developing solid, aesthetic muscle mass takes time, but as long as you are consistent, you will build it with time.
Time will also take care of those small details that give you a literal, 3D-look in the BACK department- Simply because with time, the muscles mature, giving a more-detailed and dense look of the musculature.