It’s very rare to see someone who has developed wideness and thickness on his back at the same time. Many people who have wide backs lack density and those who have thick back muscles lack width. This happens as a result of bad programming and lack of objective evaluation of your own physique. Training hard and being genetically gifted is one thing, but understanding human physiology and being able to construct an effective training routine for maximum results takes knowledge and experience. Here is the basic strategy that I always apply to my back workouts, which enable me to build a wide and powerful back.

In order to choose what to start with you need to identify your weakness. If you have wide back, but lack thickness, then you should start with rowing/deadlifting. If you have dense and powerful back, but lack width – then you start with pull-ups or pull-downs. That’s the most important concept that you need to apply in order to bring you back to a professional level.

Basic structure of a BACK workout with focus on Width

Wide Grip Pull-Ups              3 sets x Failure
Chin-Ups                                3 sets x Failure
Behind Neck Pull-Down      3 sets x 8 reps
Wide Grip Barbell Row       3 sets x 8 reps
Pullover                                 3 sets x 12 reps

Basic structure of a BACK workout with focus on Thickness/Density

Deadlift                                  5 sets x 5 reps
Underhand Barbell Row     3 sets x 8 reps
T-Bar Row                            3 sets x 8 reps
Close grip Cable Row                      3 sets x 10 reps
Barbell Shrugs                      3 sets x 10 reps

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You can notice that the exercise routines are structured according to the need to put emphasis on certain aspects of the back muscles. You need to keep in mind that these are basic routines and every exercise choice I make purposefully – there is nothing left to random chance. Every exercise has to be strategically chosen in order to work on specific aspect on the complex back musculature. I also recommend you use lifting straps when you do your back training, as the grip is often the weakest point, which fails before the muscles of the back. For heavy deadlifting and rows – use a safety belt for lower back support.

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