2 Key Exercises For Building a Wide Back (Workout Included)

If you were supposed to perform only two exercises for building a wide and thick back, what would they be? We guess you haven’t really thought about this, so let us give you an idea of highly-concentrated and truly effective back training.

Read this article to learn which two exercises are the most vital to back development and perform them to add another dimension to your overall physique!

The chest, the biceps and the abs are the muscles which receive all the love when it comes to the average lifter. Unfortunately, this attitude towards training comes with some severe costs such as weird aesthetics and limited physique and performance improvement. Because regardless of how the chest, biceps and abs are important, they tend to be overtrained at the expense of training the back, even though neglecting the back muscles can lead to increased risk of injury, stalled progress in performance and muscle asymmetry.

This is, by the way, one of the major distinctions between the classic meathead and the real bodybuilder: the latter never misses his back or leg workouts, while the first doesn’t even train his back or legs directly. Building a huge back will demand a lot of patience and hard work, but hey, didn’t you want to be something more than a set of well-defined abs and pumped pcs? If you want to look like a Greek god, be in great health and blow up minds at the gym, strive to build a well-proportioned, muscular but lean body.

When making a program for maximum back development, you need to break up the training into two parts – training for thickness and training for width. Increasing back width has always been the bigger challenge here, which is why huge lats are the symbol of ultimate manliness.

To build attention-grabbing lats, you need to center your workouts around two key movements:

1. Pull-ups

Pull-ups are a killer upper-body multi-joint movement which works a number of larger muscle groups at the same time and frankly speaking, if you don’t have it in your program, you’re not truly training. There is a reason this baddass bodyweight exercise has been known as the torso-equivalent of the squat, i.e. the king of lower-body compound builders. You can use a wider grip to really burn your lats or a narrower grip to increase bicep bias, or try negatives, reverse grip, etc. The main two variations are the chin-up (supinated grip) and the neutral pull-up (palms facing each other).


How to:

Go to a pull-up bar. Pull yourself up until your chin crosses over the bar, then slowly lower yourself down until your arms are fully stretched out. From the original position, go for the next rep. As you get stronger, you can try weighted pull-ups, another pull-up variant or another rep range. With pull-ups, you will never stop growing.

2. Pullovers

It’s a real shame this movement has become a relic of the past because it’s not as glamorous and trendy as the bench press and any curling movement because this staple of the Arnold-era can help anyone build bigger and stronger lats. But Arnold is not the only advocate for more pullovers. Ronnie Coleman found ways to incorporate heavy pullovers in his back training program for years, and Dorian Yates uses pullovers as an essential part of his legendary lat workouts. Even Frank Zane though that doing pullovers can help you tremendously develop your serratus muscles.


How to:

You can either perform pullovers with a dumbbell or an EZ curl bar.

For the dumbbell version, lay across a bench with a dumbbell in your hands. Use both hands to elevate that dumbbell over your face and into the air, then stretch it back until it touches the floor. Repeat. Make sure to perform each rep in a smooth and controlled manner, in order to keep constant tension on your lats. Most importantly, don’t let your arms get all the action. Instead, initiate the pull by squeezing your lats, to exhaust them more thoroughly.

If you want to use an EZ curl bar, lie flat on a bench as if you were going to do a dumbbell bench press. As you hold the bar close to you, tuck your elbows in as much as possible, then stretch back as far as you can. Return the bar to the chest and repeat.


This is a six-week mesocycle designed for maximizing back width. Rest 45 seconds between the 7×3 supersets and 30-60 seconds between the 6×5 supersets. At the end of the 6 weeks, take a deloading week.


1a. Dips 7 3
ab. Chin-ups 7 3
2a. Dips 6 5
2b. Chin-ups 6 5
3a. Dumbbell Pullover 4 8
3b. Weighted Pushup 4 8


1a. Sumo Deadlift 7 3
ab. Glute Ham Raise 7 3
2a. Hip Thrusts 6 5
2b. Barbell Reverse Lunge 6 5
3a. Standing Calf Raise 4 8
3b. Seated Calf Raise 4 8


1a. Pause Pull-ups 7 3
ab. Overhead Press 7 3
2a. Dumbbell Pullover 6 5
2b. One-Arm Row 6 5
3a. Lateral Raises 4 8
3b. Wide Grip Upright Row 4 8


1a. Heels-Elevated Barbell Squat 7 3
ab. Barbell Hack Squat 7 3
2a. Sissy Squat 6 5
2b. Dumbbell Lunges 6 5
3a. Seated Calf Raises 4 8
3b. Standing Calf Raises 4 8


1a. Incline Bench Press 7 3
ab. Rack Pull 7 3
2a. Dumbbell Bench Press 6 5
2b. Neutral Grip Pullup 6 5
3a. Decline Dumbbell Press 4 8
3b. Bent Over Barbell Row 4 8

Don’t forget – consistency is the key. After these six weeks, you have to keep on working out regularly and effectively in the long term in order to get great results. Expect some pain. But don’t forget that there is nobody who truly succeeded at anything without overcoming certain difficulties.