Tips For A Thicker And Wider Back, Back Workout Routine


There’s a reason the phrase ‘competitions are won from the back’ is so often used in bodybuilding and fitness shows. Having a thick and wide back, paired with a narrow waist and flaring quads creates that perfect X frame physique which so many of us strive after. It is all about achieving ideal proportions coupled with perfect symmetry across your entire body.

Now, by focusing your efforts on your back, and building a wider back you can create the illusion of a smaller waist, which plays into attaining that whole ‘X’ frame build. But this is not to say you should neglect training other body parts, no. Pay equal attention to every single body part in order to not have any muscle groups out of proportion.

In order to make the most of your back workouts here are 5 simple but effective Back Training tips:

1. Pull with your elbows

When performing any back/Lat focused pulling exercises, visualize pulling from your elbows and think of your hands, as part of or attached to the bar. By pulling with your elbows you reduce the involvement of your biceps and forearms in the movement and place more emphasis on your Lats, allowing them to do more of the work, which is want you want.

Try to think of your hands more as hooks onto the apparatus and not so much as using a stern grip when pulling, during a machine or dumbbell back workout.

2. Feel and visualize your back in each exercise

Carrying on from the first point, having that ‘mind muscle’ connection can play a major role in ensuring your back does the work and not other muscles such as your biceps.

What this means is, when performing a back exercise try to, in your mind, visualize the exact part of your back that you are working on as you pull the weight.

Also try to really squeeze that specific muscle as you approach the end of the concentric movement of each exercise.


Shredded back pull ups fit girl


3. Hit the back from a variety of angles with a few different exercises

The entire back is quite a large muscle group and in turn it needs to be worked from a variety of angles in order to place sufficient stress on it, to enable growth. So do not be scared to dedicate one whole training session to only doing your back, and try to include a number of varying exercises to focus on width as well as thickness. Most narrow grip exercises will contribute thickness, while most wide grip pull down movements will help with width.

4. Alternate your grip positions

By just altering your grip position, you can focus on working a different part of your back. For example take bent over rows with a barbell. By taking a wide overhand grip you focus more on your outer Lats. Alternatively by using an underhand grip you now work more on your lower and inner Lats.

So it is good to experiment and to see which specific positions you can feel more.

5. Schedule 2 workouts in a week

Sometimes a good way to bring up or improve on a lagging body part is to train it twice a week.

When doing this ensure you are eating enough as well as getting adequate rest in order to aid your recovery.

When planning 2 workouts, try to make one of them a heavy, compound day. This means choosing and including more compound exercises such as deadlifts and different types of rows, and lifting relatively heavy weight for them. (Try aim for a rep range of 10 to 6 or even down to 4)

Then on the other workout include more isolated exercises such as Lat pull downs, machine rows etc. and keep the weights relatively light. (Aim for a rep range of 15 to 8).

The Monster Back Workout

Download a printable workout log here:

The workout below starts off with some heavy compound exercises and ends up with a few lighter isolation exercises like pull ups. You can break it up into 2 workouts if you like, as discussed in point 5 above.

Exercise 1:

  • Deadlifts

Sets: 5
Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Increasing weight each set

Exercise 2:

  • Bent over (T Bar) rows close grip (Palms facing each other)

Sets: 5
Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6, 6
Increasing weight each set


Bent over rows close grip Kai Greene


Exercise 3:

  • Seated cable rows

Sets: 4
Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6
Increasing weight each set

Exercise 4:

  • One arm dumbbell rows palms facing forwards

Sets: 4
Reps: 10, 10, 8, 8
Increasing weight every 2nd set

Exercise 5:

  • Wide grip bent over rows

Sets: 4
Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6
Increasing weight each set

Exercise 6: Tri set:

A ‘Tri set’ is when you perform 3 exercises, one after the other with no rest in between.

  • Front lat pull downs

Exercise 6.1:

  • Lat pull downs behind the neck

Exercise 6.2:

  • Lat pull downs palms facing towards you

Sets: 3
Reps: 12, 10, 8


Shredded back pull ups


Exercise 7:

  • Pull ups wide grip

Sets: 2 – 3 sets to failure

Exercise 8:

  • Pull ups reverse grip

Sets: 2 – 3 sets to failure


Shredded back pull ups nike


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