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Get Dense: Big Back Workout

Your back might be ripped to shreds, but if it's missing that dense muscle mass, you won't perform as well as you want to. Add some size and strength to your back with this basic workout. It might be simple, but it gets the job done!

Physique and bodybuilding shows are often won and lost from behind. Although judges at men's physique shows aren't supposed to take our back into consideration in scoring, I credit mine for helping me to stand out against competitors who outweighed me by 20-40 pounds.

Everywhere I look, I see people taking selfies to show off how shredded they are. Although they do a great job of leaning out, one thing I see both online and on stage is a lack of muscle density. A super-shredded physique is great for getting more "likes" on Facebook, but it won't do much for you if you're performing on the athletic field or competition stage.

A strong back helps protect the spine and allows for correct posture when training every other body part. If you're spending all your time trying to bring up those little details, then you're missing out on a much more important training aspect: building a big, thick back.

Let's build one. Here's how it's done:

WARM-UP // Pull-Ups
(100 reps, for time)

I like to use pull-ups as a warm-up. It's a great compound bodyweight exercise that will prepare your back for the upcoming work.

Rather than doing traditional sets and reps, I like to go just short of failure before I dismount and recover. Feel free to change hand positions and types of pull-ups to ensure that you hit your back at different angles.

EXERCISE 1 // Deadlift
(5 sets of 5 reps)

I consider the deadlift one of the best exercises out there, including variations like the sumo deadlift. The deadlift should be a staple in everyone's training routine. Because it's a full-body exercise, you move more weight and burn more calories than you would doing isolation movements like the hamstring curl.

The deadlift is all about building strength—the stronger you are the more weight you can lift. When you lift more weight, your muscles are forced to adapt. The result of that adaptation is more quality muscle.

EXERCISE 2 // Pendlay Row
(3-4 sets of 6-8 reps)

This exercise is named after Olympic lifting coach Glenn Pendlay. If it's good enough for Olympians, then it should be good enough for anyone. This exercise will strengthen your back and teach you how to keep you core tight when you do other lifts like squats and deadlifts.

The Pendlay row is a bent-over row that starts at a dead stop each rep. You won't be able to lift as much as you can on the barbell row, but the amount you can lift on your barbell row will improve by doing this movement.

EXERCISE 3 // Dumbbell Row
(3-4 sets of 6-8 reps)

This is an awesome movement for the lats, rhomboids, and traps. Guys usually love this exercise because you can move some heavy weight. However ego tends to get in the way; I see a lot of guys doing more cheating than lifting. Avoid excessively rounding your back, pull with your lats, and focus on maintain control of the weight on each rep!





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About The Author

Bobby Ashhurst is an IFBB Men's Physique Pro and social networking addict who blogs about health, fitness & nutrition.

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Simaem

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Simaem

Def. a must train muscle, and a good article. :)

Jun 14, 2013 6:16pm | report
 
Stummi386

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Stummi386

No offense whatsoever to the guy they took pictures of in this article because he obviously is a BEAST, but I would never hold the bar like that for a Deadlift personally. Just isn't comfortable and I don't see the point in it. Just my opinion.

Jun 14, 2013 6:46pm | report
 
Stummi386

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Stummi386

But I love this work out. It's basic and good. 100 Pull-ups in itself is killer.

Jun 14, 2013 6:46pm | report
BloodType3R

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BloodType3R

He's performing a snatch grip deadlift.. it's just another variation.

Jun 14, 2013 8:46pm | report
dylanrpxxx

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dylanrpxxx

Snatch grip deads are favored by a lot of people. I did them for the first time a couple weeks ago, just started deadlifting again after an injury, and i liked them.

Jun 14, 2013 11:34pm | report
samerym

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samerym

Wide-grip deadlifts force your trapezius to work extra hard. Try them, you should feel your traps burn up--in a good way. Stay strong!

Jun 15, 2013 9:34am | report
Perseus3

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Perseus3

I was about to say I hope pull-ups and deadlift are in this article! They were! Two single best exercises for a cobra back in my opinion

Jun 14, 2013 10:03pm | report
 
Adonis1120

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Adonis1120

Pendlay row... a new exciting variation of back exercise and core strength. Wow!

Jun 15, 2013 12:29am | report
 
Rilof

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Rilof

Pendlay row looks interesting! Got to try that one!

Jun 15, 2013 2:09am | report
 
Hurtzdonut

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Hurtzdonut

This dude is awesome...deadlifts are like my main go to! ill have to do this one on back day for sure!

Jun 15, 2013 8:41am | report
 
itsJustAROD

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itsJustAROD

His form on deadlift is just terrible honestly. wide legs with wide arms is the best way to tear your bicep. and yes iv seen it happen. I never have my arms wider than my shoulders on deadlift. and i lift both conventional and Sumo styles. Im a powerlifter so yes, i do know form.

Jun 15, 2013 9:25am | report
 
Mudvayne24

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Mudvayne24

You should also notice that he's using a hook grip as well, which takes a lot of stress off of the bicep. When I deadlift I always use a hook specifically for that reason.

Jun 15, 2013 9:38am | report
McZanders

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McZanders

Oh, you're a powerlifter, huh? I'm sure this guy will take your pro advice now...

Jun 15, 2013 12:03pm | report
itsJustAROD

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itsJustAROD

well iv lifted with a lot of pros, so im pretty sure i have an idea about what im talking about. but to each his own.

Jun 15, 2013 10:09pm | report
Kadin11

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Kadin11

yeah rite.

Jun 16, 2013 7:45am | report
mckitter

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mckitter

Can you point me to some of your articles please, id love to learn from a "pro"

Jun 16, 2013 12:11pm | report
Mudvayne24

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Mudvayne24

I've actually had a 1 hour run-in session with a man named Joe McAuliffe in which he gave me some pointers on deadlifting. He has won many American/World powerlifting events and still holds plenty of records. He also has a bachelors in kinesiology and a masters in exercise science. He personally told me to go wider than shoulder-width when I was lifting for him.... Think I'll be sticking with that advice for now.

Jun 16, 2013 5:51pm | report
PancakeOfDoom

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PancakeOfDoom

I doubt anyone is tearing anything with 135 lbs and a hook grip.

Jun 16, 2013 11:57pm | report
semico23

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semico23

so many people are unaware of snatch grip deadlifts.....oh lawd

Jun 17, 2013 5:22pm | report
itsJustAROD

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itsJustAROD

well my comment has generated a lot of hate i see. i guess i was unaware of snatch grips. never have seen it. i was always taught to have shoulder width over under grip. Steve Rodenberg my dad, 1997 world powerlifting champion for 242s taught me. along with Ricky Dale Crain and Eddy Vaughn

Jun 17, 2013 6:07pm | report
Razorvanya

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Razorvanya

I think it was that you went off half-cocked, criticizing the author of an article who obviously knows what he is talking about. Results speak for themselves. You have to realize this is a mass building workout, not a power lifting workout. The over under grip is great if you are trying to break records; but if you are going for mass and symmetry, there is a whole lot more out there than your standard powerlifting techniques. Not doggin it whatsoever...just sayin...

Jun 17, 2013 6:59pm | report
Razorvanya

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Razorvanya

For those who are against wide grip deadlifts, you should try them before you talk about them. I always have to drop a little weight, but they hit my back like nothing else does. People ask about my back, I say pullups and wide-grip deadlifts. My humble opinion.

Jun 15, 2013 11:51am | report
 
samingleton

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samingleton

I'm not bloody surprised people ask about your back

Jun 15, 2013 2:12pm | report
bornaddicted

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bornaddicted

good one, i am happy that i am already hitting 3 of them except pendlay row, will try that one next time

Jun 15, 2013 3:15pm | report
 
bornaddicted

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bornaddicted

good one, i am happy that i am already hitting 3 of them except pendlay row, will try that one next time

Jun 15, 2013 3:15pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 48 Comments

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