Developing the upper body with these 8 best exercises for a wider back is a must for any athlete that wants to have big shoulders and a narrow waist – also known as the V-shaped back.

Max Posternak, behind YouTube channel Gravity Transformation, goes over his best exercises for a wider back and includes training techniques to incorporate to make your back bigger.

Let’s delve into it.

The 8 best exercises for a wider back

Before you do these exercises make sure you are:

  1. Concentrating on targeting the back muscles: isolate the muscles as much as possible and perform each rep with clean technique, making sure you’re not being aided by other upper body muscles.
  2. Progressively overloading each exercise: the most effective way to build muscle is through progressive overload. Our muscles adapt to progressively greater demands, so to grow them our cells need to be exposed to higher workloads than they are used to.
  3. Getting a good stretch in: make sure you’re fully extending your limbs at the negative portion of each exercise.

1 – Long Angle Dumbbell Row

Source: Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

This is essentially the same exercise as the dumbbell row, except that you will bring the dumbbell up further back, closer to your hips, instead than towards your belly button.

This modification almost takes your biceps completely out of the movement and put all the tension on your lats and the back of your shoulders, explains Posternak.

Read more: Most Common Dumbbell Row Mistakes and How to Fix Them

2 – Close Grip and Wide Grip Pull-Ups

“Both grips will provide unique benefits for your back,” says Posternak. Wide grips use the lats muscle more and the biceps less, while close grip pull-ups incorporate the biceps and pecs more, allowing you to do more reps or more weight.

Read more: How to Get a Pull-Up: Form, Progressions, Training Tips and More

3 – Standing Cable Pullover

woman performs lat pulldown in gymSource: FitNish Media on Unsplash

The exercise primarily targets and improves the lats.

The latissimus dorsi are the largest muscle group located on the back of the human body. They are hugely important for all pulling exercises and provide stability and support for the spine.

Read more: How to Build Impressive Muscle and Back Strength with the Wide Grip Pulldown

4 – Reverse Grip Rows

This row variation targets the lower lats more than the middle of your back. Make sure you pull your shoulders back and stick the chest out to maintain the natural curve in your spine, advices Posternak.

5 – Deadlift

This is one of the best exercises to develop a thicker, wider and stronger back, says Posternak. You can lift the most amount of weight during the deadlift than with any other lift so, after mastering the proper deadlift form, make sure you add some weight.

6 – Dumbbell and Barbell Pullovers

This is another one of the best exercises for a wider back when done properly. When done right, the exercise hits everything from the bottom of your pecs to your abs, lats and triceps.

Read more: Dumbbell Pullover: How to Do It, Muscles Worked, Benefits and Workouts

7 – Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown is a popular gym exercise performed with a machine and used to strengthen and build the lats muscles.

It is performed by stretching the arms overhead and pulling a bar toward you, your hands reaching shoulder height, and releasing the bar back up in a controlled manner for one repetition.

Read more: The Lat Pulldown: One Sure-Fire Way to Grow a Bigger Back

8 – Seated Cable Row

The Cable Row is a horizontal seated pulling exercise that challenges and improves the upper body.

The feet are braced in position and the athlete sits on a bench in order pull the weighted cable and complete the exercise.

Read more: How to Build A Muscular Back with the Cable Row – Technique and Mistakes to Avoid

How to use these best exercises for a wider back

  • Don’t do all exercises all in one day, select instead 4 to 5 exercises and perform each for 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps with a 2 to 3 minute break in between.
  • Aim for a heavy, challenging load.
  • Start with your biggest lifts, such as the deadlift or the barbell row.
  • You’ll also need to optimise your nutrition to maximise muscle growth.
  • Learn more helpful tips on How to Build a V Shaped Back.

Read more: Can You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?

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