T Nation

I Have NO Back


Literally. Seriously. And I'm tired of it. I NEED to figure out what to do. I know that I have to do a lot of rowing and such, but can you guys be more specific about exercises which helped you develop your backs?

Please tell me what info do you need about me so you can help me out with this. I'm 21, 6'1", 165lbs, and angry how I treated my body up till about last year(imagine a skinny guy with a pot belly). Or please link me to threads/articles that would help me


sounds like you have NO everything. check out some of the articles, and stick with the basics. lift hard and consistently and you will consistently see progress.


You're 6'1" and 165 lbs. It's not that you have no back, it's that you have very little muscle anywhere. So you might want to work on that.

As far as exercise selection...rows, chins and deadlifts.


Sorry man, I really don't want to sound like a dick, but how have you hung around these boards for almost two years and decided now that you have no back? Especially at 6'1" 165?


Check out the discussion this thread sparked. There's some really good info in there. Use the pyramid principle in your workouts for all your movements. There's no reason not to include isolation moves in your routine also, just as long as your compounds are priority number 1. I don't know why people make such black and white statements with compound and isolation movements around here.

And for God's sake... EAT.


let's see the back of your avatar, and no cat pics this time


rack pulls
rack chins
high pulls



do you deadlift?


nude pix of your girlfriend

and a sandwhich


Fuck I forgot to mention that I DO eat NOW, so you can skip that one.

matsm21 and wfifer- yeah I know I have no everything, but I feel like taking care of the posterior chain will help me put on mass better and quicker. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

SSC- I don't even remember why I made an account here 2 years ago. I haven't really been going on here up until few months ago, and needless to say I went about it the wrong way. Check out how pathetic I look in the pix in my profile. Feel free to point and laugh

jehovasfitness and LiveFromThe781- Lol, You guys, come on already.

elusive- yeah I started doing that. can't seem to break through more than 265 lbs at this time for a 3 rep set.

And to all of you- THANKS!


I hear posting nude pics of your girlfriend online is really anabolic. Like 10 times better than steroids with no PCT required.



Eat more and double the numbers you use now on all your back exercises and you'll be well on your way to a built back.


I'm thinking of doing the deadlifts German Volume Training style.
Should I go for it or stick with heavier weights but lower reps?

Yes yes, I'll eat more (and train more)


For the record, I am not going to imagine a skinny guy with a pot belly.


i already did.


duly noted


My back started changing when I first realized I should make myself do pullups instead of wasting time by the pulldown machine (I suddenly realized that no one using that machine seemed to look like Haney despite moving a big stack of weights). I could barely do 3 in a row (and probably jerking around like a salmon), but I kept doing them until I had done 20.

After a few weeks, I upped the target number to 30. It took me about 6-8 sets to do 30 pullups! Each week, I would do a couple more, and the number of sets it required for go down. Soon I could knock out 30 in 2-3 sets. Suffice to say, I was making progress, and things started showing.

What's my point besides admitting what a puss I was? (15b0 lbs in college my friend!)Simple, pick a DIFFICULT, compound exercise, and stay with it to make some progress. There's no magic exercise, program, supplement, anything. Some folks will suggest deads, others BB rows... both great exercises (I do both), but the trick is making your body HAVE TO ADAPT TO SOMETHING THAT IS NOT WITHIN ITS COMFORT ZONE in order to deal ("survive") impossed stress you're putting on it.



Something that helped me alot was getting my pulling numbers up to my pushing numbers. My bent over rows were far behind my bench press and believe me that is not saying much.

I also agree with Stu. Pull ups should a a priority. I had focused on DLs because I wanted better glutes and hams but my back really.

You do need to eat and really focus on getting stronger. At 6'1 165 you are going to need lots more strength as a foundation.

Good Luck - keep us posted.


I second the pullup>pulldown thing. It's obviously advice for smaller and lighter guys, but I swear by it. In combination with deadlifts, they are guaranteed back-builders.


Deadlift helped me make the fastest progress mostly because of the weight you can utilize vs any type of rowing movement.


At this point, I would stay with a moderate rep scheme such as 5x5 or similar. Lower reps let you focus on form and on getting stronger. Unless you have your form nailed don't go for max effort singles on deads (regular, snatch grip, rack pulls, etc.) or go to failure. Nothing fucks up progress like an injury.

As already stated, pullups, chins, rowing variations are all solid choices. Stu's example was excellent...go for progression, don't wimp out on the effort and be consistent.