Large compound movements that work multiple muscles in the back!
Back workouts for mass should be no surprise; they concentrate on large compound movements that work multiple muscles in the back (as well as many other muscle groups). You do not need a lot of sets for the back, and in fact many times I’ll only do 7 or 8 sets for my ba
That’s all it takes, but you need to go heavy and to failure, and of course proper nutrition matters.
My most common back workout follows:
- Pullups/chin ups: 4-5 sets
- Deadlifts: 3-4 sets
I like to start with pull-ups or chin-ups
, and since I need a few minutes rest between sets in order to be able to crank out 5+ reps, I’ll sometimes superset them with bench presses so that I naturally have a longer break between sets.
Chin ups are done with a supinated or underhand grip. Your palms face you. Shoulder width or a slightly further grip is most common.
Pull ups are done with a pronated or overhand grip. Your palms point face away from you. Shoulder width or a slightly further grip is most common.
I often use a narrow neutral grip, where my palms face each other. The bars at most gyms allow you to do this.
Now chin up versus pullup versus neutral grip is something we could debate, but basically it doesn’t matter. Ideally you will vary as each hits the back a little differently, perhaps every few workouts, but what is far far more important is that you do them!
Now what if you can only do 2-3 reps instead of 5 plus? Well, you can superset them with lat pulldowns, which I do like doing occasionally anyways, or instead of a target number of sets you might have a target number of reps regardless of sets. You might start for example with 20 reps (which might take you 7-10 sets if you are doing 2-3 reps per set) and slowly increase over time to 30-40 reps.
Deadlifts work the entire body, especially the back, and they make me grow more than any other exercise! Yes, they work the back well, as long as much more of the body. They’ll leave you gasping for air. And sometimes starving for nutrition afterwards.
Deadlifts are the killer!
I do two warmup sets of deadlifts, one with just the bar and one with 135 pounds.
Good form is essential and a weight lifting belt is strongly suggested, mandatory if you are going heavy!
I like to work up to a weight that I can only do 5 reps with. Occasionally, I will go extra heavy “powerlifter style” and use a weight a can only do a three reps with (a “triple”) and a weight I can only do one rep with (a “single”). I sometimes need a nap afterwards; I’m serious!
I do not always do deadlifts every week as they can be brutal, and I can easily overtrain. Also, if I’m doing squats, that is a lot of work on the lower back.
When not doing deadlifts, I’ll sometime do cleans instead, or bent over rows. But deadlifts build the most mass!
The best back workouts for mass are simple; a few heavy compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups and leave you gasping for air. My preference? Pull downs/chin ups and deadlifts, together with eating muscle building foods!