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Best exercises for a full back workout

Best exercises for a full back workout

Not only is the back one of the largest and strongest body parts in the body, it is also one of the most complex in terms of being a series of interconnected muscle groups. For the purposes of this feature, we're dividing the bench into its four main areas:

  1. Upper and outer latitudes
  2. Lower Lats
  3. Mid back
  4. Lower back

Each area requires specific stimulation through the exercises and angles of attack used, and we'll show you the two best back exercises for each.

With this menu you can customize your back workout by choosing one exercise from each category to create a total program. Or if one area is lagging, you can choose to have extracurricular activities only in that area. Either way, fully understanding which back exercises hit which parts of your back will allow you to build shape (especially the V-taper), thickness, and width.

Note:We do not isolate many of the exercises covered here, but instead emphasize certain areas of the back muscles.


Use moves in which you use a wide grip, usually on the outside of your shoulders, to develop the area that makes up your V-taper. You will usually pull from an angle above your head or perpendicular to your body.

Best Exercises:Pullups (Wide Grip), Bent ower Barbell Row (Wide Grip)

Pullup (Wide Grip)

  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip. In the down position, fully extend your arms and relax your shoulders to stretch your lats.
  • As you pull up, imagine keeping your elbows out by your sides and pulling them down to lift yourself up while contracting your lats.
  • Pull yourself up as high as you can to fully stimulate your lats.
  • If you can't make it perfectly, consider enlisting the help of a spotter or using an assisted pull up machine.

Target Tip:To really emphasize the upper/external lats and tiers majors in the down position, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you fully extend your arms.

Bentover Barbell Row (Wide grip)

  • Do not stand on a flat bench or platform to increase your range of motion; You're more likely to round your lower back in a downward motion. If you need more range of motion, use small plates to prop you off the floor instead of trying to balance yourself on a flat bench.
  • Using a wider-than-shoulder-width grip allows you to keep your elbows out by your sides and pull them as high as possible for a full contraction.
  • Keep your knees bent and stay in a bent position the entire time. It is easier to rise from this position when using heavy weights, but it recruits other muscle groups to assist in the move.

Targeting Tip:To target those outer lats and key areas, pull the bar toward your upper abs.

AREA 2: Lower Lats

Use reverse-grip moves and close-grip pullups/pulldowns to place more emphasis on the lower latitudinal region. One of the few single-joint lat moves, the straight-arm pulldown, does this as well.

Best exercises:Reverse-grip pulldowns, straight-arm lat pulldowns

Reverse-Grip Pulldown

  • Take an underhand, shoulder-width grip. This allows you to pull your elbows as far back as possible, maximally stimulating the back muscles.
  • Keep your torso straight and a small arch in your back as you extend your arms fully overhead. Keep your chest out and flexed throughout the move; This helps to focus more tension on the back muscles.
  • Pull your elbows down and back until the bar reaches your upper pecs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the point of peak contraction.

Target Tip:To focus on those lower-latitude fibers, keep your chest high and your back arched. As you pull the bar down, bring it toward your lower chest for better contraction.

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