T Nation

Being Tall, Training Back?


Hello there,
so I have a problem I am 6'2 with long arms and it is very hard to feel my back when doing any sort of back exercises. My arms always start to fatigue long before my back. Is there any way to fix this?
Maybe just get my arms strong then my back will fatigue before my arms?

thanks in advance




What does your training look like? What type of exercises are you doing for back?


thumbless grip or straps


I do mostly, seated rows, bent over rows, lat pull downs, and the T bar row.

It's not the traps that are a problem, its the lats and most rest of the back


Next time you do back start with pulldowns and use the narrow neutral grip attachment. Make hooks with your hands and don't wrap your thumbs around the bar. keep your elbows in front of you and ramp the weight up to a top set. Try and find a ROM that hits your lats.

I think MM connection comes with time. keep working at it and you will eventually get it. You might be arms dominate lifter.


I'm 6'2" also and I think my back is my best body part I start with pulldowns with as wide a grip I can get or assisted pull ups wit very wide grip then I do t-bar rows with as wide a grip as possible which is not much then I do bent over rows with barbell on smith machine for tall people I think smith machine rows are perfect then I end with straight arm pulldowns deadlifted alot in high school because of powerlifting you should try those also mainly being tall doing back gotta focus on the squeeze


^THIS^ I'm 6' 1" and I was the same way when I started. Especially with Rows BB or Seated. Arms always got tired. You might want to lighten the load and really CONCENTRATE on FORM for awhile. Stay in the higher reps area and try to feel/squeeze your back as much as possible. Thumbless grip works good as well. I use it on everything from pull ups to seated close grip rows. Once you mentaly remove the arms out of the equation, you'll feel your lats burning. Good luck!


I'm also long- 6 3.

Focus on light/mod weight to get the MM connection. Leave your ego at the door. Also straps help a lot. I don't know your experience but I wouldn't recommend staps until you've built some decent strength (back and grip). Lastly, try the movements outside the weightroom. I visualize and go through a movement before I lift sometimes to ensure that muscle is being used.


There was an article a while back on perfecting the pull-up. Lots of great stuff in there on training the mind muscle connection with the lats on the pulldown machine and for pullups more generally. i worked through some of that (with a chin-up grip) and now get good lat activation on my chins (rather than feeling myself muscle up the movement with my biceps). might be worth a look...

in particular...

focusing on pulling the elbows down and back


Lots of good advice so far. Adjust the ROM for maximum tension, make grip a non-issue by using straps and/or not wrapping the thumb around, and pre-exhaust the lats with a pullover variation (straight-arm pulldowns with a rope handle are a wicked choice).

I'm 6'2" and pretty much whenever I do pulldowns, I don't sit on the seat, I "kneel tall" on the ground right behind the seat for get a much better stretch at the top without the weights resting on the stack.

But definitely play around with straight-arm pulldowns as the first exercise if you want to pre-exhaust the lats so they get fully worked before the arms can contribute too much. I'll sometimes start things with 2-3x8-12, going by feel. The worse the burn at the end of the set, the better.

It's the first exercise shown by our very own Mighty Stu here. :slight_smile: I believe he's said they're a staple in his routine.

Jimmy Smith had a pretty good article with a bunch of tall guy training tips a while back (hehe. Back.):


^^Can't wait to try both of these^




Did you create an account just to hand out that sage-like wisdom? Gold star for your 1st post!


All good advice. I'm 6'3" with long arms as well. Some things that worked for me:

-Strengthening grip
-Focusing on pulling with elbows
-More "core" training(I found that the lats and abdominals seem to work off one another pretty closely, i.e. when one works better, so does the other) Avoided crunching motions though, went more for planks and anti-rotational/flexion/extension work.
-not fully extending arms at the bottom of reps(helps prevent arms from 'taking over' and getting fatigued)
-Tuck chin
-Squeeze glutes
-Adding negative chin-ups to back training
-Practice back posing after a workout to develop mind-muscle connection
-Stretch out the lats

Back was a serious weak point for me. These all helped and are still things I practice. Good luck developing that wingspan.


I'm 6'5". Just so you know you need very strong biceps to fill out your arms and back at this height. so do hammer curls and regular curls often.

As for back:
one armed dumbbell rows work real good
so do seated cable v-rows

machine and cable pull downs are good
hammer strength lat pullover is good

barbell rows are awkward as fuck for tall people