The back has lots of muscles to it and that’s why a good back looks amazing! It makes you look wide and it really shows off your condition. Back training is complex and form is key. With pushing exercises for chest the key is to push the weight up and not much else. Back training is not so easy, it is more dependent on slow controlled form, tempo and a good contraction.
Anatomy and shape
The biggest muscle on the back is the latissimus dorsi. This is the muscle on the outside that gives you the wide V taper. The diamond in the middle of the back is the trapezius which goes all the way up to the top and sits either side of the neck. Among these two main muscles are the teres majors and minors, romboids and the intrasprinatus. Three muscles that can be developed for great definition. Also at the bottom is the neglected lower back muscles: the external obliques. Hitting all of these muscles is key to thickness and detail. The back double bicep pose has now become the difference between 1st and 2nd at the Mr Olympia contest. It is the money making shot. Any back exercises pulling from the ground will work the outer back more with narrow grip, and the inner back more with a wide grip. The opposite is true for pulling down from above: wide grip will work the outer back and narrow grip will work the inner back. Although it must be said that any grip does work both inner and outer but just to different extents.
Wide grip pullups: 2 sets 10 reps + 1 set to failure
Bent over barbell row: 4 sets 10 reps (tempo=3/1/X)
Narrow reverse grip lateral pull down: 2 sets 8 reps (6/1/1)
Wide grip pull down: 2 sets 40 reps (1/0/1)
Deadlift: 2 sets 25 reps
Hyperextention: 2 sets 25 reps
This workout is a high intensity workout starting with low reps and high weight to damage the fibres then finishing with low weight and high reps to saturate the muscles with blood. It does not hit the trapezius muscle directly as this is generally grouped with the shoulder workout. Traps can be worked then gradually morphed into rear delt work during the shoulder workout. For pre contest work more pullups and also pullups on a smith machine from the ground can be done to add detail to the back. For the intermediate lifter this will break your plateaus, give it a go and feel the burn!