I want to make back day great again. It’s always been my favorite day in the gym, so I thought I’d share a few back exercises you probably aren’t using that can help give you big, powerful looking back muscles.
I’ll give you 4 new back exercises, with videos… plus a full back workout to help you join the MBDGA movement. You’re in, right?
Note: This article contains affiliate links to products I use and believe in. They come at no additional cost to you. Also, consult your doctor before performing any exercise program. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.
A Big Back is What Makes You Look Big and Strong.
What’s the true sign of a powerful body? It isn’t big arms, and it’s not a big chest either.
While most people in the gym focus on the muscles they can see while facing a mirror, it’s your back that really makes you look big and strong.
Big, thick traps. Wide Lats and a chiseled upper back. That’s what makes you look like a beast. That’s the power look. Powerful guys (and gals) have the look. And so can you.
3 Exercises For a Big, Strong looking Back
Here we go. Back day is getting an upgrade. Don’t skim this article and forget about it. You were searching for this and you found it, so digest it all and implement it.
Keep what you like and discard the rest. That’s what a smart lifter would do.
#1 Snatch Grip High Pull
The snatch grip high pull is an amazing back exercise. It can give you a bigger back faster than any other exercise, especially in the traps.
It can do this because it’s an explosive movement, targeting the most powerful fast twitch muscle fibers.
How to Perform the Snatch Grip High Pull:
- Hold the bar with a snatch grip (wide, with arms around 40 degrees from the body.)
- Use lifting straps so you can really focus on pulling with the upper back
- Push your hips back as if you were going to vertical jump.
- Explode the hips and pull violently with the traps.
- Keep the bar close to your body, elbows high.
- The bar should come at least up to your chest. If not, it’s too heavy.
- Return to starting position and repeat for 3-7 Reps.
You can see bigger traps after just a few workouts with these. The fast twitch muscle fibers are much more capable of growth, and the upper back isn’t used to being hit explosively like this.
#2 Reverse Shrugs
Reverse shrugs are an amazing way to work the middle and lower traps.
As you can see in the image above, the traps are not just the part you see when you look in the mirror. They extend down the middle of the back in a trapezoid shape. Hence the name “trapezius,” or just “traps.”
The trap muscle stabilizes the shoulders. It is responsible for elevating, rotating, depressing and retracting the scapula. It’s a postural muscle that you want to be strong. Plus, big traps just look badass.
How to Perform the Reverse Shrug Back Exercise
- Start on a set of dip bars, arms locked out.
- Let your body sink down, bringing your shoulders up towards your ears.
- Push through your arms, focusing on using the upper back to pull your body back up, bringing your shoulders back down.
- Hold the up position for 1-2 seconds, and repeat for 10-15 Reps.
- Use a dip belt to add weight if you like. It definitely makes the movement tougher.
Reverse shrugs are an excellent addition to your back day. Developing the middle and lower traps can really help build your upper back. It’ll also strengthen the muscles that stabilize your shoulders and move your scapula and neck. Kind of a win-win.
#3 Band Pull Aparts
Band pull aparts can hit your rear deltoids in ways you’ve never felt before. They’ll also target your rhomboids and traps, making them an awesome option to help you get a chiseled and strong upper back.
On top of that, Band Pull Aparts can help boost your other lifts like the bench press and overhead press by strengthening the muscles that protect and stabilize the shoulders.
How to Perform Band Pull Aparts:
- Grab a resistance band (aim on the lighter side) and hold it out in front of you around chin height, hands shoulder width apart.
- Pull the band apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Hold for a one second squeeze, and return to the starting position.
- perform sets of 10-20 reps, or perform as a finisher at the end of the workout by hitting 50-100 reps on short rest.
The burn you feel from these can’t be replicated by rear delt raises. Resistance bands are a really great tool to have and are very versatile.
#4 Farmer Carries
Farmer carries work your entire body. In particular, they really work your forearms (grip), traps, core and upper back.
Your arms can get bigger and stronger simply by holding onto heavy weight for prolonged periods of time. Farmer carries are an incredible exercise to add to your back day.
To Perform Farmer Carries:
- Grab a heavy set of dumbells, kettlebells, or any other heavy implements.
- Start walking at a quick pace. Keep your body upright while you’re walking.
- Walk a set distance, or until you feel like you can’t hold onto the weight much longer.
- Drop the weight, rest and repeat.
Farmer carries can put a lot of muscle on your body. Forcing your upper body to hold onto heavy weight and move is a huge stimulus for muscle growth, and can definitely help you get a big strong looking back.
Back Day is Back!
Use these 4 back exercises and build yourself a big, strong back. If you need help implementing them into your own back day, here’s a solid back workout you can use.
It’s split up into two training days. You should hit a muscle group like the back more than once per week to really get it to grow.
Supastrong Big Back Day Workout:
It should go without saying, but warm up first.
Back Day Workout A: Monday
|3-4||5 – 7||2 min|
|Chin Ups||4||Max||90 sec|
Back Day Workout B: Friday
|Dmbl Row||4||8-10||90 sec|
|Farmer Carries||4||40 yards||90 sec|
|Hammer Curls||4||15-20||60 sec|
|Band Pull Aparts||1||50-100||None!|
Additional Tips for Back Day Greatness
I do have a few more tips to help you make back day the best day and to help you get a bigger, stronger back.
1. Eat before your back day workout
On back day, you’ll be hitting a large amount of muscle and placing serious demands on your body.
Having a high protein and carbohydrate meal 1-2 hours before your workout is shown by research to lead to bigger muscle gains and better recovery.
Overall, make sure you’re eating a surplus of calories and getting around 0.7 grams of protein/pound of body weight each day to make sure your body has what it needs to build muscle.
2. Use the right supplements
Supplements can definitely help you get bigger and stronger faster. Just stick to the ones that are actually proven to work. Creatine, L-Citrulline, Whey Protein and a handful of others are all you really need.
I recommend checking out Bulk Supplements. You can get large quantities of pure supplement ingredients like creatine, protein or BCAA’s for much cheaper than you’d get at a store or by buying from other supplement companies.
3. Use BFR Bands for additional muscle growth
BFR (blood flow restriction) Bands are proven by research to force faster muscle growth using lighter weights and higher reps.
Using them as a finisher at the end of your back day workouts with some high rep curls and band pull-aparts can lead to additional muscle growth you’d otherwise be missing out on.
Check them out here for around $28. They’re high quality and have lasted me almost 2 years so far and payed dividends to my workouts and progress.
4. Keep learning. Knowledge is Power
I think it’s awesome that you’re looking for new ways to make progress in your workouts. Never stop learning.
Working out is a never ending journey of learning, trying out new things and finding what works and what doesn’t.
Check out these 2 articles if you want to learn more about how your body builds muscle:
Implement these 4 back exercises into your back day workouts however you see fit. Keep what works, and leave the rest behind.
I have no doubt these 4 back exercises can give a huge boost to your back training and help you build a bigger, stronger back.
As always, I hope this article helped in some way to get you a little closer to that best version of You! No get out there and make back day great again!