Photo Credit: Frankie Batista

Photo Credit: Frankie Batista

Our back…because we rarely see this part ourselves, man devoted gym-goers forget it, as is less of a “vanity muscle” like the chest, arms or abs. Out of sight out of mind, right? However, correctly training and developing ones back, is vital to muscular balance, overall health AND good aesthetics.

The Major Muscles that make up the back are the Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Teres Major and Minor as well as the Erector Spinae.  In order to fully develop the back you need to work muscles vertically (pulling down or up), horizontally (rows) and finally in extension. BONUS: ensure full contraction by pausing for a full second at the peak contraction point of each repetition.

The primary foci should be the Lats, in order to add width to the back and give goal V-shape. Accomplish by doing vertical pulling movements such as pull-ups and pull downs.  Aim to work in the 8-12 rep range in order to maximize hypertrophy. Try not to use aids such as wrist straps unless absolutely necessary, instead focus on also developing grip strength.

Lat PulldownFor pull-ups, if you are able to do more than 12 reps, begin adding weight rather than increasing reps. In order to add depth to your back focus on the Traps, Rhomboids and Teres. Do this by working different row or horizontal pulling movements such a dumbbell rows, cable rows and reverse flies. You will still be working in the 8-12 rep range. For dumbbell rows, try performing the exercise in a 3-point stance (feet shoulder width apart, legs slight bent, one hand supported by a bench) as opposed to the more common knee on bench technique. This will also work the erector spinae muscles in the back and the abdominals as the body will need to work against the rotational force generated by the DB row.

So you want the perfectly muscled back with the athletic V-taper shape? Here’s how to get it. Do the exercises one at a time, finish all sets and reps before moving on to next exercise.


Pull Ups: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Pull Downs Wide Grip: 4 sets of 8 reps
Pull Downs Under Grip: 3 sets of 12 reps
SA DB Rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
Low Pulley Cable Rows: 4 sets 0f 8 reps
Reverse Flies: 3 sets of 12 reps
45 Degree Back Extensions: 4 sets of 15 reps