Check here for the best back workouts to build that broad back with the kickass V-shape that every man is dreaming about. You may have this goal, and you may know a few exercises on how to get a broader back. However, knowing how exactly to gain a huge back could be a bit difficult. That’s why if you are looking at those massive guys with massive backs and want to build anything similar – read this best back workouts article.
The problem with back workouts is that you may find it overwhelming with the crazy amount of row variations. Also, you could struggle to find new back exercises that will work back muscles that you never worked before.
Some of the following back workouts may not be new to some of you. But others may be. I recommend implementing them all. Finding the best back exercises goes according to a number of factors such as:
- Ease to learn and perform
- The go-to status with veteran lifters
- Total muscle stimulation and intensity
- Available of the machines/equipment in most gyms
So, check out some of the best back workouts below.
Best Back Workouts (Exercises) For Men
The Classic Pull Up
An overhead pulling movement, such as the classic pull up is easily one of the best back workouts that you can perform. Moreover, there are various variations, and each one comes with its own advantages. From wide grip to close grip chins as well as neutral grip pull ups for an even greater stretch. Check below the pull up variations in order to grow your back:
- Pull ups on gymnastic rings
- Weighted pull ups or chins
- Band assisted pull ups
- Spotter assisted pull ups
- Machine assisted pull ups
- Chin ups (underhand grip)
- Wide grip pull ups (overhand grip)
- Neutral grip pull ups (palms facing inward)
The assisted variations are great back-building back exercises. Do not ever underestimate them. They are extremely effective for beginners who struggle doing pull ups. But they are also very effective for seasoned lifters to get into the muscle-building rep range.
So, want to grow a huge back? Start implementing the classic pull ups with various variations.
Bent Over Row
As long as you are searching for great back workouts, the bent over row has to be on your list! This is a well rounded back exercise, involving a move that is the key to building the whole back – upper back, lower back, lots, traps, as well as spinal erectors. You just can’t have a massive back without this move.
Again, there are various variations that you can perform into your back workouts in order to make sure that you are going to “touch” as many muscle fibers in your back as possible, to ensure even and massive growth. Some variations include:
- Bent over dumbbell or kettlebell rows
- Pendlay rows (each rep is starting from the floor)
- Underhand grip bent-over rows
- Overhand grip bent-over rows
Start by doing heavy bent over rows toward the start of your back workout in lower rep ranges. Needless to mention the importance of a proper form to keep your spine in proper health. You need to go heavy, but only to make sure you can perform 6 to 8 or 8 to 10 reps with proper form.
It’s likely you’ve seen people performing deadlifts to build their legs. Then why would you use it for building your back? Because it is easily one of the best back exercises possible too. That’s why deadlift is such a popular exercise in the gym, with so many people praising its muscle building abilities. This compound exercise uses your entire body’s muscles, making it one of the best overall exercises. You can hit the entire posterior chain, and work your body from your calves to your upper traps while helping you build a firm butt.
Lots of seasoned lifters focus their back days around deadlifts. It may be harder to nail the form, but once you do, you can get into monster weights, in order to get monster gains! Again, there are various deadlift variations that you could add to your back workouts. They include:
- Barbell deadlift (from the floor)
- Barbell rack pull
- Snatch-grip deadlift (from the floor or elevated pins)
- Trap bar deadlift
- Romanian deadlift (barbell, dumbbell)
I know you may be thinking about sumo deadlifts which are very popular. However, they tend to focus more on other muscle groups than the back in comparison to variations I’ve shared above. While you can still perform sumo deadlifts, as long as you want to develop your back (everyone does), you need to stick to those variations. Be sure to do classic deadlifts if you plan to go heavy (sets of fewer than about 6 reps).
While a lot of free weight variations around are extremely beneficial, you still need to go for the classic seated row in order to build a massive back. This is among the best back workouts because it maintains constant tension throughout every inch of the movement (unlike when you work out with free weight variations).
In addition to that, with a variety of handle grips that are available at most gyms, you can also add variation into this back exercise, again, to ensure that all back muscles are working properly. Check here some of the key row variations that you can add to your back workouts.
- Machine seated row
- High cable standing row
- Plate-loaded high row
- Cable row (narrow, medium, wide, underhand, overhand, neutral grip)
- Single-arm cable row (seated, half-kneeling, kneeling)
Such an exercise is best performed toward the end of your workout. You should not be scared to go slightly higher rep with this back workout exercise. You could go for 10 to 12 or even 12 to 15 reps. Needless to mention you should go for proper weights and have a proper form throughout the entire movement.
I know that the T-bar row could seem like another bent over row back exercise. However, the T bar row is actually having some very big differences. For example, you can perform it with significantly more weight. Needless to mention this is going to provide a huge difference.
In addition to that, you can usually have a versatile choice of hand positions and width as well. For example:
- Wide grip is going to put more emphasis on the lats
- Neutral grip is going to target the middle back better (traps, teres, and rhomboids)
Check below some T-bar row variations that you could add to your best back exercises list:
- T-bar row
- Lying T-bar row
- Landmine row holding a wide T-handle (overhand grip)
- Landmine row holding the bar
One of the first instincts for this exercise would be to grab the wide-grip bar. Especially because this one is usually found on the machine as well. While a wide grip bar does have its advantage, a close neutral grip is going to activate the lats in a similar way to a regular grip. Yet, this grip is going to allow for a longer range of motion and an increased time under tension for the lats. That is going to be amazing for building a kickass back muscle. For this exercise, you need to make sure you keep the tempo slow and do it in a controlled manner, both up and down, as you squeeze hard at the bottom of each rep and hold it there for a moment, then allowing for a good stretch at the top of the move.
Again, there are various lat pull-down variations in order to get some ultimate back muscle gains. Some of them include:
- Single-arm pull-down
- Rope handle pull-down
- Half-kneeling or full-kneeling pull-down
- Underhand-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, or wide)
- Neutral-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, or wide)
- Overhand-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, or wide)
Single-Arm Smith Machine Row
If you’ve ever heard about the Smith machine being a no-go (there’s a myth, with some gym guys considering it a no-go machine), be sure that’s just a myth and a big mistake. The fixed plane of the movement will allow you to pull some heavy loads with a lot of stability. This will break down the deepest muscle fibers, allowing for huge muscle gains. So, this is actually a humbling exercise.
You can consider this exercise a mix between a dumbbell row and a machine row. You can use it, taking advantage of both benefits for maximum gains. Again, there are various Smith machine variations. Add them to your back workouts for the best back muscle growth.
- Smith machine bent-over row
- Smith machine bodyweight inverted row
- Single-arm Smith machine row (sideways to machine)
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
If you’ve been in the gym at least once in your life, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen someone performing this exercise. That’s because every man is dreaming about a massive back and this specific exercise is an absolute classic when it comes to growing huge back muscles. That’s why this is an extremely popular exercise, every man should add to their back workouts. With this exercise, you should get ready to lift some huge amounts of weight, especially if you are going to use straps. Another huge advantage of this movement is that you are getting a greater range of motion when training unilaterally. Moreover, you can support your lower back (spine) by placing one hand on the bench.
Here are some various variations of this exercise that you should consider for your next back workouts. Remember, they are all single-arm movements.
- Barbell row (landmine to the rear)
- Meadows row (landmine to the rear)
- Row with one hand on a bench
- Row with one hand and one leg on a bench
- Arc row, reaching forward at the front of each rep
Usually, this back exercise is performed in the middle or at the end of your workout. It usually goes in 3-4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Go for proper weight to maintain proper form.
This is a single joint move that will allow you to target your lats, ensuring you will fire up those lats, providing huge growth. That’s especially if you are going to have a strategic approach to the variations. Try to perform this move on a decline. This way, you are going to put your lats under tension for a longer range of motion than when using a flat bench. Of course, a longer range of motion leads to bigger gains.
Go for these dumbbell pull-over variations in order to grow your back muscles:
- Decline bench pull-over (with dumbbell, barbell, or weight plate)
- Flat bench pull-over (with a dumbbell, barbell, or weight plate)
- Straight-arm pull-down
- Cable pull-down
There are a lot of back exercises and each one of them greatly varies. And unlike the T bar rows or bent over rows, the chest supported row does not set your lower back on fire. This is the reason why you can go heavy weights with the chest supported row to get “heavy” gains. The bench also is going to enforce strict technique – so you need to keep good form.
Try these variations:
- Seal row (barbell row on an elevated flat or incline bench)
- Incline bench chest-supported row (with a dumbbell, kettlebell, and cable)
Best Back Workouts For Men
- Rack Pulls: 3 sets, 6 to 8 reps, 2 mins rest between sets
- Neutral-grip pull up: 3 sets, 4 to 10 reps; 2 mins rest between sets
- T-bar row: 3 sets, 6 to 8 reps, 90 seconds rest between sets
- Bent-arm dumbbell pull-over: 3 sets, 12 to 15 reps, 90 rest between sets
- Reverse-grip bent over row: 4 sets, 6 to 8 reps, 2 mins rest between sets
- Wide grip seated cable row: 3 sets, 10 to 12 reps, 1 min rest between sets
- Single-arm dumbbell row: 3 sets, 8 to 10 reps, don’t rest between sides, keep the rest of 90 seconds between sets.
- Smith Machine bent over row: underhand grip of 4 sets, 10 to 12 reps and rest 1 minute.
- Seated row: wide grip handle – overhand or neutral grip, 4 sets, 12 reps, rest for 1 min between sets
- Close-grip pull down: 4 sets, 10 to 12 reps, rest for 1 min between sets
Remember that this is just an example, you can go for whichever works best for you. Regardless of the back workout exercise you choose, they all should be performed with proper form, and you should go for proper weights for your fitness level.
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