The Top Three Exercises for Developing a Monstrous Back

Developing an awe inspiring physique requires patience, dedication and sacrifice.  It is not enough to simply display upper arms that are enveloped by ropey veins or calves that are built like meaty bowling balls. 

One of the most noticeable and impressive parts of the human anatomy is the back.  A thick, wide upper back that is accompanied by tall, dense shoulders can evoke admiration and even intimidation from onlookers.  The following article will provide some guidance, tips and advice on how to develop a monstrous back. 

Proper exercise selection is critical for those that desire an award winning back.  The delicate balance between work load, exercise frequency and recovery time must be maintained at all times.  When adhering to and applying the tried and true principals of progressive resistance and overload, three primary exercise will produce the desired result of a well developed, muscular back.


The deadlift is a compound exercise, meaning multiple muscle groups are utilized to perform the movement.  Muscles of the upper back, lower back, mid section and legs are used to accelerate the weight from a resting point through a full range of motion.  Because so many large muscle groups are used when performing the deadlift, the potential to move incredible amounts of weight is present.  Some of the benefits of performing dead lifts as they apply to back development are as follows:

                1.  Increased density and thickness of the lower back.
                2.  Enhanced height and thickness of the trapezius muscles.
                3.  Expanded width and development of the upper back. 

Deadlifts should be performed no more frequently than one time per week as the possibility for over training and injury exists with greater frequency.  Repetition ranges should vary, but as a general rule, the best muscular development occurs when dead lifts are performed in the eight to twelve repetition range for three to five sets.  Of greater importance to the actual number of sets and repetitions performed is the amount of effort exerted when performing the movement.  Work load should be adequate enough to provide a continuous challenge through the entire course of the exercise consistent with maintaining proper form and technique. 


Rows can be performed a variety of different ways.  The primary purpose of rows is to target the upper back and trapezius muscles.  Generally, weight loads are not as significant as those associated with dead lifts because of the use of many smaller muscle groups and exclusion of larger, stronger muscle groups when performed correctly.  Rows can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells, cables, and specialized machinery.  Some of the benefits of performing rows as they apply to back development are as follows:

                1.  Increased width and density of the upper back.
                2.  Increased height and density of the trapezius muscles.
                3.  Development of posterior deltoids muscles, biceps and forearms.

Because of a lower demand on the body’s nervous and muscular systems than that of dead lifts, rows can be performed as often as two times per week.  Maintaining continuous tension of the back muscles during the performance of the exercise will result in the greatest development of the upper back. 

Pull Up

Pull ups are one of the simplest, but often most challenging, exercise to execute.  The upper back, shoulders and arms are used to pull the up body from a hanging position by contracting the muscles to a point of exhaustion.  For decade, bodybuilders have been using pull ups for total back development.  Arnold Schwarzenegger attributed his monstrous back to his use weighted pull ups as part of his back training routine.  Some of the benefits of performing pull ups are as follows:

                1.  Expanded width and development of the upper back.
                2.  Increased size and density of the posterior deltoid muscles.
                3.  Development of bicep and forearm muscles. 

Pull ups can be performed several times per week as the potential for over training as a result of their performance is minimal.  Sets can be done to complete muscular failure, and for those that can perform many repetitions with ease, weight can be added for greater resistance and provide for greater back development.

It must be mentioned that simply performing the above listed exercises will not result in back development to the fullest potential.  Sound nutritional practices must be adhered to in order to achieve maximal growth and development.  By consuming high quality foods in the appropriate quantities, exercise recovery time can be reduced and adequate amounts of nutrients can be utilized to synthesis muscle tissue. 

The combination of regular, intense workouts, proper nutrition practices and adequate rest, will result in the greatest potential for muscular development.  By applying the principals discussed in this article and demonstrating a willingness to work hard, be patient and sacrifice, the development of a truly monstrous back can be achieved by just about anyone.      

Also Read:
The Key to Building Big Forearms
The Top Three Reasons You Should Be Doing Zercher Squats

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