How To Build A Muscular Back (Part 2)

November 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

I hope you are all enjoying yourself this weekend regardless of what you are doing, but let me now break down some of the exercises that you can do to build up all of those muscles in your back.

Width and Thickness

These are the first two things that you must consider when building muscles on your back and it is important to first identify which exercises help build both and the muscle groups that they target.

Types of exercise

Compound and isolation movements

  • Pull up and pull down movements will promote width
  • Rowing movements will promote thickness

Man vs. Machine

I have previously talked about the differences between using both machine weights, free weights and bodyweight exercises and all have their benefits. But the exercises that will stimulate the muscles in your back the most will be compound exercises (bodyweight and free weights). However, I have considered that there will be those of you who are not quite advanced in the high strength development department as yet, so I have listed some exercises that are machine based or isolation exercises, which will give less stimulation.

The exercises

Latissimus Dorsi Emphasis (Emphasis on width but also help with developing thickness)

These exercises emphasize the latissimus dorsi section of your back with secondary stimulation of the midback exercises.

Free Weight Basic Exercises (Highest Stimulation)

  • Wide, Medium or Close Grip Pull-ups to Front
  • Wide or Medium Grip Pull-ups to Back

Note

(not good for those who suffer from shoulder pain or who are wide open to a rotator cuff injury).

  • Neutral Grip Pull-ups (using either parallel bars or a v-bar)

Note
(If you are not strong enough to perform pull-up exercises, simply either use a spotter to help you or a chin assist machine such as the “Gravitron”.  Even when using this machine the movement is still superior to doing a pull down)

Machine Based Basic Exercises (Less Stimulation But Good For Beginners)

  • Wide, Medium or Close Grip Pull-downs to Front
  • Wide or Medium Grip Pull-downs to Back

Note

Not good for those who suffer from shoulder pain or who are wide open to a rotator cuff injury).

  • Neutral Grip Pull-downs (using either parallel bars or a v-bar)

Isolation Exercises (Free Weights and Machine Based)

  • E-Z Bar Pullovers Performed On A Decline Bench
  • Stiff Arm Pulldowns Using Straight Bar
  • Stiff Arm Pulldowns Using A Rope
  • Machine Pullovers

Teres Major/Minor And Rhomboids (These are midback muscles so these exercises emphasize midback thickness but they also help with building width as the lats are stimulated as well)

These exercises emphasize the midback muscles and will give your back a thick and powerful look.

Free Weight Basic Exercises (Highest Stimulation)

  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Barbell Rows (medium shoulder width grip or slightly wider grip)
  • Underhand Grip Barbell Rows (underhand medium shoulder width grip or slightly wider grip)
  • T-Bar Rows (performed with a barbell and a v-bar on it; not on a t-bar machine)

Machine Basic Exercises (Less stimulation but good for beginners and advanced bodybuilders as they provide a different feel to the exercises and really bring out the devil in the detail of your muscles).

  • Low Pulley Rows (using V-Bar)
  • One Arm Pulley Rows (with high or low pulley)
  • Low Pulley Barbell Rows (underhand medium shoulder width grip or slightly wider grip)
  • T-Bar Row Machine

Isolation Exercises (Free Weights and Machine Based)

  • External Rotations Using Dumbbells or Pulleys
  • Rear Delt Machine (Has secondary emphasis on midback as well)

Traps


These exercises emphasize your traps as well as your delts. Therefore they can be trained either on back day or on shoulder day.

Free Weight Basic Exercises (Highest Stimulation)

  • Close Grip Barbell Upright Rows
  • Medium Grip Barbell Upright Rows
  • Upright Rows With Dumbbells Held Together
  • Upright Rows With Dumbbells Held 5-6 Inches Apart

Machine Basic Exercises

  • Close Grip Straight Bar Low Pulley Upright Rows
  • Medium Grip Straight Bar Low Pulley Upright Rows

Isolation Exercises (Free Weights and Machine Based)

  • Barbell Shrugs To Front (Can use barbell or smith machine)
  • Barbell Shrugs To Front (Can use barbell or smith machine)
  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Shrug Machine

Spinal Erectors Emphasis

These exercises emphasize the spinal erectors with secondary emphasis on the teres major/minor, rhomboids, and lats (as in the case of the bent knee deadlift).

You really need to pay attention to your exercise for with this exercise and the weight used should always be kept under control. Do not sacrifice form in the name of adding weight as doing so can result in serious lower back injury. (Remember this?)

Free Weight Basic Exercises (Highest Stimulation)

  • Barbell Bent Knee Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Bent Knee Deadlifts

Isolation Exercises (Free Weights and Machine Based)

  • Good Mornings
  • Hyperextensions
  • Lower Back Machine

Just like on my article Balancing Cardio Exercises for Weight Training, you can use this as a personal guide on how to structure your personal weightlifting routines. But if your are really crap at doing that or are just to lazy too figure it out, the Bugmeister will gladly do the honour of giving you a weightlifting routine (regardless of what level you are at) in part 3.

See you in the comments.

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