Back Workout for Mass - Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Back Workout for Mass - Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

If you like to only work your glamour muscles, this article may not be for you.
If you want that thick back that makes your big upper body look balanced, you need to turn those chicken wing lats into some beef ribs.

Unfortunately, all of those pressing exercises you do are causing your body to be imbalanced if you don’t adequately train your back. Knowing this, you can see that we need to work on our weaknesses instead of only improving our strengths.

Related - Best Back Workout for Huge Traps

Continuing to train your back guarantees you have a balanced body with strong muscles that will support you and protect your vital organs.

A stronger back allows you to lift more, do more, and produce more power…so what’s not to like about that?

As your back gets stronger, you’ll be able to deadlift more. Along with that, you’ll burn more calories, have an easier time doing functional life moves (moving a couch, carrying all of the groceries in one trip), and your balance and posture will improve.

Meet Your Back

Becoming familiar with how your back works can give you a better understanding of how to train. The back supports the function and movement of all of your limbs and does many jobs throughout the day.

Lower Back

Your lower trapezius depresses your scapula and is located from your scapula all the way down to the top of your butt. It’s basically the lower portion of your back around the spine.

Middle Back

Your rhomboids also retract the scapula, but they also perform downward rotation of the scapula.

You can find this connected to both of your scapula and the spinal column in the middle of your back.


Your latissimus dorsi functions with extension, adduction, and medial rotation.
Lats are inserted in your lower 6 thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and also inserted into the middle side of the armpit area.


Your traps elevate your scapula, depress your scapula, and they also perform adduction of your scapula.

Your traps are located at the top of your neck and travels all the way down your spine, inserting just above your butt.

They are the mountains of meat that make elite powerlifters look like they have no neck.

Recommended Back Exercises

There are a lot of great back exercises, although I’m going to pick my five favorites.

#1 - Deadlifts

Deadlifts are extremely popular — and for a good reason. If you see any well-developed lifter, I guarantee you they deadlift. They require the majority of your body to perform.

The only other exercise that is more effective at building muscle would be the squat.

The deadlift uses your back for support and stability; you aren’t actually using your back to deadlift. Learn how to deadlift properly and focus on improving.

I love the pain in my lats and upper back after a good deadlift session.

#2 - Bent Over Barbell Rows

A great exercise that helps build your bench, bent over barbell rows is a great compound lift to build a bigger back.

Take the time to learn proper form and don’t stack plates on too quickly — it’s better to rep 135 for quality reps than 225 with half reps.

#3 - Pull Ups and Chin Ups

Pull ups and chin ups are both wonderful exercises to build a thick and well-defined back.

This exercise is challenging and many inexperienced lifters may not be able to do many. This is where the machines for pulldowns come in handy.

#4 - Shrugs

Barbell shrugs mean you get to hold lots of weight in your hands. Shrugs only attack your traps, so make sure you plan your routine accordingly.

Your grip width can make a difference with how it trains your traps, so play around with your grip width.

#5 - Face Pulls

Face pulls or bent-over lateral raises should be in every lifter’s routine. We overdevelop our front and mid delts with all of these pressing movements, and our rear delts, traps, and upper back go unnoticed.

Perform high-rep face pull sets two to three times per week to start rounding out your shoulders, build bigger traps, and increase your bench press.

Beginner Back Workout for Mass

  • Barbell Deadlifts - 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Bent Over Barbell Rows - 2 sets of 12 reps
  • Assisted Pull Up or Lat Pulldown Machine - 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows - 2 sets of 12 reps
  • Face Pulls - 3 sets of 15 reps

Intermediate Back Workout for Mass

  • Barbell Deadlifts - 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Lat Pulldown or Chin Up - 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Rows - 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Barbell Shrugs - 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Face Pulls - 3 sets of 15 reps

Advanced Back Workout for Mass

  • Barbell Deadlifts - 5 sets of 8 reps
  • Pull Ups or Chin Ups - 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Wide-Grip Seated Cable Rows - 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Bent Over Barbell Row - 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Barbell Shrugs - 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Reverse Hyperextensions - 3 sets of 8 reps
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