Best Back Exercises for Thickness

Best Back Exercises for Gaining Thick and Dense Muscle

If you are one of those guys that just trains to look good you probably focus on what everyone else does and that is to train arms, chest, and abs. However, if you are looking to gain muscle mass and want a well-rounded physique you need to train your back. In this article, I will reveal the best back exercises to help you gain thickness and strength.

Most skinny guys who focus on looking good, accomplish just that, when we talk thick and dense back muscles we are referring to the likes o Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman.

Best Back Exercises = Bodybuilder posing flexing back muscles

Your back is a big muscle group. It gives you that v taper and a massive back looks impressive.

Everyone has their own way of training as do I. I like to keep my training routine simple.  I focus on compound movements with barbells and dumbbells.

Why Just Barbells and Dumbbells?

I personally believe that the best way to shock the back muscle is by using compound movements. You really do not need a lot of equipment or a fancy gym to get a good back workout.

The muscles in your back include:

The extensor muscles, these are the muscles that are connected to the back of the spine and are responsible for lifting and standing. This includes the muscles located in the lower back including the upper gluteus muscles these are responsible for keeping the spine in a straight posture.

Lattisimus Dorsi is also known as the lat muscles start at the lower vertebra and attach at the humerus at the back of the armpit.

Trapezius covers most of the upper back and stretches across the rhomboids. This muscle starts at the base of the skull along with the cervical and thoracic vertebrae.

I personally like to train back at the beginning of the week when I am fresh and rested if you do it right it can take a lot out of you.

Focusing on proper form is always important, I believe in going heavy but I always focus on squeezing the muscle using proper form.

Deadlifts (Not Mandatory)

The deadlift is not a mandatory exercise but highly recommend, why? Because it is a core exercise that hits just about every muscle in your body, especially your back. Deadlifts build mass and will give you a thick back.

Even if you are reluctant to go heavy on this exercise it can serve as a good warmup for the rest of your back workout.

The deadlift will give you core grip strength and improve cardiovascular conditioning. The deadlift hits the lower back muscles (erector muscles) along with the Latimus Dorsi. It also hits other muscles including legs, glutes, arms shoulders and traps.

Rack Pulls

The rack pull is another incredible exercise for working the back, it targets the erector muscles, other muscles include forearms, glutes, and abdominal muscles. The rack pulls is one of the best ways to increase grip strength and thicken the back muscles allowing you to go heavier when performing other exercises including the deadlift and barbell rows.

When doing rack pulls, when you come to the top movement of the exercise it is important to squeeze and hold to ensure maximum muscle and fiber contraction.

Bodybuilder doing rack pulls

Bent Over Barbell Rows

This exercise has stood the test of time, this was a favorite among old school bodybuilders and remains a favorite for gaining thick back muscles. The barbell row hits the upper back lats, rhomboids, rear delts and traps.

This is one of my favorite exercises to do following the rack pull, it allows me to easily control the movement and push more weight. I like to switch my grip up from narrow to wide. A wider grip will hit the upper back and lats.

Dorian Yates barbell rows


Some will be happy to hear that bent over barbell rows even hit the biceps to some degree

T-Bar Rows

The T-Bar Row is another old-school favorite, in fact, you will find many photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger doing this exercise, The T-Bar tow hits the lats, teres major (small lat) and trapezius. It also targets secondary muscles including the biceps, shoulders abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

One arm dumbbell rows

The one arm dumbbell row can be done instead or in addition to the barbell row, however, I like to implement this exercise after barbell rows because it further targets the lat and back muscles and gives me a good range of motion and stretch.

The one arm dumbbell row hits the Lattissimus Dorsi, rhomboids your lower traps and erector muscles.

If you perform the exercise correctly you should feel the stretch below your shoulder blades and the squeeze should be focused on the back and lat muscles.

Man doing one arm dumbbell rows

Good mornings

Good mornings are a great finisher exercise, it works the erector spinae muscle and all the deep core muscles in your lower back. Secondary muscles worked include the glutes and hamstrings.

Tailoring your back workout to suit you

How much and how many reps you do will have to be adjusted to your goals and current conditioning. If you have never focused a lot on back training it is best to start off with light to moderate weight. However, these are compound movements where I like to use heavy weight. I like to keep my sets between anywhere between 4-5 sets with rep ranges between 8-10

I do like to vary rep ranges, obviously, there are some days when I have less energy and strength and on these days I will drop the weight and focus on higher reps, going as high as 12-15 with lighter weight.

What About Pull Ups

I am not a big pullup fan but I am 6'3 and weigh close to 280lbs, while pull-ups are a great exercise I have never done them I can crank out a few, but they are hard on my elbows and personally do not get a lot out of them. If you are not very heavy you may choose to do them however, even Jay Cutler avoided them due to his massive frame and when hid did do them they were usually assisted.


A thick and strong back is a must for any bodybuilder, it represents strength, power and it is a core muscle group. the exercises involved are essential for getting big. and with a big back, no one will ever ask you do you even lift bro?


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