In the bodybuilding world of vein-popping guns and ripped abs, no one will argue the fact that there is nothing more impressive than a freakishly wide and dense back. Even the industry's best find it difficult to get the thickness and definition that will cause head-turning stares of jealousy.
In the early stages of his career, Dexter Jackson understood the challenges of trying to build a back worthy of competing at the highest level. With focused movements and a well-rounded training regimen, these hardships quickly faded.
After adding some insane width and crazy detail, Dexter won the 3rd place title at the 2007 Mr. Olympia and has now been crowned 2008 Arnold Classic Champ. Being a man of focus, his secret to building a superior v-shaped back is to hit the weights hard while also targeting each complex back muscle from every angle.
Dexter reiterates the importance of not falling into the trap of improper form and sloppy execution. Every muscle-tearing mission requires intense focus while performing full ranges of motion.
Deadlifting 600lbs gives you some serious bragging rights, but there is no way you're going to build the physique you hunger for if you have to call it quits after one physically draining exercise. To build a back that has barn-door width and 3-D thickness, there are 4 key exercises that must be a part of your weekly training session.
Blast Your Back - Dexter Jackson Style
Lat Pull-Downs (4 sets x 8 to 10 reps)
Nothing tears apart your back better than the popular lat pull-down. One of Dexter's favorites, this back sculpting exercise is hugely responsible for his incredible width.
The muscle-exhausting variety that comes from using different bar options is important and all should be used at one point or another to maximally stimulate all muscle fibers. Grip the bar tightly with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
Take a seat and lock your knees under the pads. With a straight back, slowly pull the bar down to your chest without hunching your shoulders forward. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together during the pull portion of this exercise to spark true muscular definition.
Bent-Over Barbell Rows (4 sets x 8 to 10 reps)
The bent-over barbell row is one exercise that most forget about or are just simply too lazy to perform. Any serious bodybuilder will tell you that no back workout is complete without the addition of heavy bent-over barbell rows.
This exercise is perfect for adding pounds of muscle to every inch of your back. Following strict execution guidelines is needed for optimal results, so pay attention!
With a slight arc in your lower back, position your upper body at an angle somewhat higher than parallel to the floor. Grasp the bar knuckles-up and slightly bend at the knees. Pull the bar into your waist, rather than your chest, and squeeze your shoulder blades together in the contracted position. Keep your head up at all times and remember to breathe.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows (4 sets x 8 to 10 reps)
The single-arm dumbbell row is great for adding mass to your lats. Its long range of motion puts continuous strain on this particular muscle, working them harder than most other exercises.
Working one arm at a time also helps to prevent muscle imbalances. If you want to fill out that XL t-shirt of yours, this is one exercise that must be a part of your weekly routine. For this exercise, Dexter takes his time completing each and every rep while making sure he keeps proper posture and correct form. Either standing with one hand on the dumbell rack, or with one knee on a bench, bend at the hips so that your arched back is slightly above parallel to the floor.
Grasp the handle of the weight and slowly bring your hand up to your waist while keeping your elbow in tight. Focus on pinching your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement without twisting your body.
Deadlifts (4 sets x 8 to 10 reps)
The dreaded deadlift. They're painful, challenging, and down right exhausting, but you have to suck it up if you're looking to gain some serious size.
You can't build a massive back without incorporating heavy deadlifts into your program. Remember these words and tighten that belt because deadlifts are now in session. Squat down and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
With the top of your head facing up, a bend in your knees and straight lower back, pull up on the bar and think about driving your heels through the floor while keeping the bar close to your shins. At the top of the motion, slightly roll your shoulders back and together to contract your entire back.