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If you have been looking for a full back workout to gain muscle and build a bigger wider back, especially if you are a skinny guy, then this is the video for you. Jesse from ATHLEAN-X is back to show you the exact back workout he used to develop thicker wider lats and traps from the top down. There is no doubt that the changes are noticeable and every part of the back are developing as a result of the hard work being put in.
To start, Jesse picks a staple compound lift to form the centerpiece of his back workout. For him, this is the deadlift. Not only does this movement have tremendous carryover to other elements of his training and function but it did a great job in helping him to overcome some of the postural deficits that were causing him significant problems early on in his training.
From here, he moves onto a horizontal rowing movement. There is a choice between two back exercises at this point. The first is the barbell row to gain muscle. This classic movement is done to help thicken the back from front to back by building more depth in the interior muscles of the back (namely the rhomboids, paraspinals and even the lats). The movement is done from the more traditional hang position as opposed to from the floor in a pendlay variation of the exercise.
If the barbell row is not chosen then the alternative option is the seated row. This is typically done with a cable machine but of course can be done with bands if you are training at home. The key to this is the hand position in relation to the torso. Rather than holding the hands at the level of the navel, it is helpful to set the hands at a position lower. This demands that you reach forward and down, which will create a great stretch on the lats and prime there for a stronger contraction on every rep due to the stretch reflex created from this position.
Moving on, the next focus is a vertical pulling movement. Here the back exercise options are either the classic pullup (this can be done weighted or unweighted) or the lat pulldown. Obviously, the pull-up is going to be more accessible of an option to those training at home but either will suffice. If able to use the pulldown machine, make sure to experiment with the rocking variation shown. This allows the elbow to not only have an easier time getting into adduction (driven into the side of the body) but also behind the body into extension. The combination of these increases in range of motion allow for a better recruitment of the lats on this key pulling movement.
This is the point when many back workouts would end. That said, given Jesse’s history of chronic postural issues, there are three additional exercises that are done every time he trains his back. The first is one that is actually done at the end of every workout he does (along with facepulls not shown here), and that is the weighted carry.
There is no need to do lots of volume here. The key to gain muscles is consistency, and the accrued volume over time that makes the biggest impact. A few laps with dumbbells at the end of the workout is enough to stimulate the traps additional to the work they are already doing on the heavier deadlifts and rows.
Next up is the plate trap raise. This works on the all important lower traps. If you fail to acknowledge the traps as two separate areas you will likely overlook the benefit gained from working this area of the muscle with a different exercise. You will gain much more stability with overhead movements when the lower traps are strong and developed. This back exercise is one of the best ways to achieve that.
Finally, the hyper row is an exercise that helps to target the lower back. The addition of the dumbbell row to the movement will have some direct impact on the rear delts but the act of rowing is actually done to prolong the time that you must stay in the extended position and therefore allows for better recruitment of the lumbar paraspinals on every rep. Don’t focus on the number of reps here but rather the quality of the rep if you want to make the most of this back exercise.
As you can see, Jesse’s complete back workout is focusing not just on the different functions of the back but on the different muscles that make up the back.
For a complete program that walks you through every workout step by step and overlooks nothing that needs to be in a comprehensive training plan, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and get the ATHLEAN-X Training Plan that matches your specific goals.
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