Build A Bigger, Badder Back

By Steve Hall

January 31, 2013

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Who wouldn’t want a bad ass back. Sick lat width and nice meaty depth. Sexy lats create the sought after v taper all gym bros and gals search after. But how in the heck is it done. Seems like everyone has some tricks or tips up there sleeves. But compare bodybuilders of old to the guys today and the muscle just isn’t stacking up!

Look At My Lats Bro!

“Woah! Your lats are so wide, you could fly away with those wings, freaking sick bro.”

You know you want to be the envy of all your friends, walking into the gym like a superstar. It isn’t going to happen with this sissy lat pull downs or your little cable rows. You wanna build a bigger back then you gotta put the work in. Real work. There is a reason why most of the old school bodybuilders had bad ass backs. Did they know something magical that has been long lost? Nah, just that people got scared and keep trying to reinvent the wheel.

In an article somewhere in internet space Ronnie Coleman was asked what three exercises would he do if he only had time for three. Guess what those three were. Squat, Bench Press, and Barbell Row! Holy moly the barbell row! Bet you forgot all about that one. I’m not talking about your half way bent over sissy pull barbell row. I’m talking about super mean parallel barbell row. Get with it.

So You Wanna Know How To Build That Bigger Back?

congress1970_5I bet your sitting on the edge of your seat itching to know how to get that back looking like it should. Gotcha hooked. Saliva dripping from the mouth like a dog waiting for a treat. You wanna know I’m gonna tell you. And guess what. It’s easier than you think.

Build a bigger, wider back with three basic movements and simple techniques to achieving superiority over your training partners.

Barbell Parallel Row

Numero Uno is the Barbell Row. If you are not doing a bent over parallel barbell row then my friend you are short changing yourself. This move is king and adding the barbell row into your routine simply is a must. Proper execution of this beast is relatively simple so don’t get scared just do it.

Set up with an overhand, slightly wider-than-shoulder-width grip on the barbell, place your hands in the same way if you were going to do bench presses. Think of barbell rows as the opposite of the bench presses.

Now that you got the grip, stand on something that is going to get you off the floor a block of wood or a bench can work, but they might be a little unstable. You want the barbell to come down a bit farther giving your lats can a good stretch before hitting the floor. Keeping the knees bent and your lower back slightly arched, pull that bar up to your sternum, the area right between your lower pecs and your upper abs. Keep the elbows flared out to the sides.

Slowly lower the bar for a good stretch, don’t let it hit the floor. Keep your back arched and your knees bent during this exercise, pull the bar back into the sternum keeping the elbows flared out to the sides. This move is about power, pile on the plates. Heavy weights and good form will bring you massive, thick lats.

Common mistakes made include too narrow a grip on the barbell, keeping the elbows too close to the body, raising the chest above parallel at the finish of the exercise, not arching the lower back or keeping the knees straight. The bent-over barbell row is a true compound movement that includes several muscle groups,  do it right in order to avoid lower-back injuries or hitting the biceps instead of the lats.

Wide Grip Chin Up

chin-upSecond in command is the Wide Grip Chin Up. If you want to add a third dimension to your lats, this is the exercise for you. It’s much better than lat pull-downs for building width; most bodybuilders choose lat pull downs and never touch the chin up bar. Big mistake if you want big lats.

Grab the chin up bar with your hands a little farther than shoulder width. Keep your lats tight and lock your elbows, arch the lower back at the start and tilt your head so you look at the ceiling. In that position, pull yourself up, touch your collar bone to the bar. Having the lower back arched, your elbows are going to pulled back, forcing your upper lats to contract.

Returning to the starting position, make sure you keep that arch in your lower back but don’t lock out your elbows at the bottom. Keep looking at the ceiling, maintain the tightness of the lats. Keeping the arch in the lower back, leads to a greater contraction and will build more muscle.

Close Grip Chin Up

close_grip_biceps_chinsLast but certainly not least developing lower lats, the close-grip chin is a must. A lot of people prefer to do this exercise on the lat machine. Don’t forget about this exercise if you want to build up the lower lats.

Grab yourself one of those V-bar handles and slap it over the chin up bar. Start in the same basic position like the wide grip chins.  Get that arch in your lower back and eyes up to the ceiling. With the arms slightly flexed. Slowly pull your body touching your chest to the handle, hold for a second. This will help get an peak contraction in your lower lats.

Slowly lower yourself for a good stretch, don’t lock your elbows. Elbows and arms should be close, keep them from flaring outward. The elbows are in front of your torso until the finished position, at the point they are pointed at your waist. Trust me, if you’re doing it right, you’ll feel a contraction in the lower lats.

Boom, there you have it three top quality exercises that you better be throwing into your routines. I mean seriously you say you wanna build muscle then get it done!

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Steve Hall

Steve is a strength training fanatic who geeks out over the best, most efficient workouts, nutrition and gear to help get you stronger and healthier!

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