How to Exercise to Build Big Back Muscles

The back can be a tough area to train. The back also has three different muscle groups that are important to train. The upper back muscles are called the rhomboids and trapezius muscles. The sides are called the latissimus dorsi and the lower back muscles are called the erector spinae. They each have an important role in the strength of your back so work them all. Many chest exercises work the back muscles as well but in order to really grow the back muscles it is important to do exercises that really isolate the back muscles. Here are a few good exercises that will give you a powerful back with rippling, bulging muscles.


Dumbbell Shrug- This exercise is the most effective exercise for the trapezius muscle. The dumbbell shrug is very self explanatory. You stand with a dumbbell in each hand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Then shrug your shoulders up and down.

Upright Rows- These can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. Hold the weight with your palms facing your body resting on your thighs. Pull the weight up under your chin with your elbows bent out.

Wide Grip Pull Ups- This exercise is done with a pull up bar. Grab the bar as wide as you can and pull the weight of your body off the floor as high as you can.


Lat pulldowns- Any exercise that has the body part in the name is a sure way to tell that it effectively works that muscle. The lat pulldown is done on a machine designed for this. You should be facing the wall and gripping the bar with your palms facing the wall. Pull it straight down in front of you until the bar reaches your middle chest. The lat pulldown can also be done behind the head for a variation.

Rows- There are so many different types of rows. They all work the lat. The movement is basically the same. For a basic dumbbell row, you bend over with the weights in your hands, palms facing the knees. Bring the weight straight up toward the chest and bend your elbows out to the sides. Variations: Barbell row, T bar rows, Seated Cable rows

Lower Back

Hyperextension- This exercise is done on a roman chair. Cross your arms over your chest and bend over. Use the muscles of your lower back to bring you back up to standing position.

Barbell Deadlifts- With the barbell on the floor directly in front of your toes, bend over keeping your legs straight. Don’t bend your knees. Pull the weight up with you as you return to standing position.

Supermans- For this exercise you lay face down on the floor with your arms out like superman resting on the floor. Bring your arms and feet up off the floor but keep them straight. It is a small movement but you can feel the muscles working.