T Nation

Upper Back Mass-Building Exercises

[quote]Holden Caulfield wrote:
Rumble Fish wrote:
Don’t mean to hijack the forum, but how is spider rowing, I’ve never done it but keep meaning to give it a try, anyone in here tried it?

like this?[/quote]

That video looks much like a hex bar row, just with less weight :wink:

[quote]Holden Caulfield wrote:
Rumble Fish wrote:
Don’t mean to hijack the forum, but how is spider rowing, I’ve never done it but keep meaning to give it a try, anyone in here tried it?

like this?

[/quote]

The positioning is right in the vid, but from the way it’s been described to me it sounds like more of a lat pulldown type of exercise so the resistance angle would have to be a bit more vertical and less horizontal… but yeah that’s pretty much it.

:slight_smile: Since I have acces to a squat rack thus I’m being able to do rack chins, I experienced a hell of a progress on my back.

Not to mention my favourite, the one arm dumbbell rows. Last time I used 137 pounds, and got 10 reps, while I felt my lats to explode from the pump.

Unfortunately, training lats is still my favourite thing to do in the gym, and my back is generally more advanced than any of my other muscles. I can work my upper back with pretty much every pulling motion, so I don’t really care what I do as long as I keep progressing.

[quote]Holden Caulfield wrote:
Rumble Fish wrote:
Don’t mean to hijack the forum, but how is spider rowing, I’ve never done it but keep meaning to give it a try, anyone in here tried it?

like this?

[/quote]

second to last exercise.

My upper back grew a lot when I added kettlebell snatches and swings to my training. Happened totally by accident. If you have never used kb’s I highly recommend it. My deads are going through the roof. :slight_smile:

I like heavy t-bar rows for lats and shrugs with the bar on the shoulders for traps.

Deadlift, pullups, bentover bb rows are my favorite. I’m adding high pulls into this cycle as well.

Are you guys counting traps as “upper back thickness”?

I really don’t think that counts. Having big traps doesn’t really do a whole lot for your back aesthetically. When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.

Obviously this would make much more sense if I knew the names of the muscles, but alas…

I would say my favorite exercises to build that area are 1 arm T Bar rows, rack pulls, and even BB rows. Face pulls are good too, but you can’t really load that exercise much.

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
Are you guys counting traps as “upper back thickness”?

I really don’t think that counts. Having big traps doesn’t really do a whole lot for your back aesthetically. When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.

Obviously this would make much more sense if I knew the names of the muscles, but alas…

I would say my favorite exercises to build that area are 1 arm T Bar rows, rack pulls, and even BB rows. Face pulls are good too, but you can’t really load that exercise much.
[/quote]

You’re right man, overlapping traps can take the movement when doing T-Bar rows and pulldowns.

[quote]phishfood1128 wrote:
BB Bentover Rows[/quote]
x2
personally i think this one is the best.

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
Are you guys counting traps as “upper back thickness”?

I really don’t think that counts. Having big traps doesn’t really do a whole lot for your back aesthetically. When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.

Obviously this would make much more sense if I knew the names of the muscles, but alas…

I would say my favorite exercises to build that area are 1 arm T Bar rows, rack pulls, and even BB rows. Face pulls are good too, but you can’t really load that exercise much.
[/quote]

almost all of your visual upper back is your trapezius muscle.

thats what youre seeing in a rear double bi

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.
[/quote]

Its just the mid/lower part of the traps, I’m pretty sure, unless there is another muscle over it, but I think thats just the traps.

After starting to seriously train the deadlift, in sets of 5, w/o intentionally trying to gain mass, that part of my traps hypertrophied significantly.

[edit… I forgot power cleans, I was hammering those too. Not the most conventional body building technique, but it might fit in w/ CT’s activating the CNS concepts.]

[quote]Holden Caulfield wrote:
waylanderxx wrote:
Are you guys counting traps as “upper back thickness”?

I really don’t think that counts. Having big traps doesn’t really do a whole lot for your back aesthetically. When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.

Obviously this would make much more sense if I knew the names of the muscles, but alas…

I would say my favorite exercises to build that area are 1 arm T Bar rows, rack pulls, and even BB rows. Face pulls are good too, but you can’t really load that exercise much.

almost all of your visual upper back is your trapezius muscle.

thats what youre seeing in a rear double bi

http://www.criticalbench.com/images/big-back-muscles.jpg [/quote]

Cool thanks, that clears things up nicely.

T-Bar Rows, BB Bent-Over Rows, Single Arm DB Rows, Pull-Ups, Seated Face Pull. Just a few things that have worked for me so far.

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
Are you guys counting traps as “upper back thickness”?

I really don’t think that counts. Having big traps doesn’t really do a whole lot for your back aesthetically. When I think of upper back thickness I picture the thickness that is built on top of the scapulea when performing a rear double bi shot and the area in between the scapulea as well.

Obviously this would make much more sense if I knew the names of the muscles, but alas…

I would say my favorite exercises to build that area are 1 arm T Bar rows, rack pulls, and even BB rows. Face pulls are good too, but you can’t really load that exercise much.
[/quote]

I second those exact exercises. I had to an invent a new back thickness exercise after running out of weight on dumbell rows, and no access to a regular d handle for t bars so i started doing 1 arm tbars and love em. I can’t really get a great feel for bb rows personally although they work very well for others. Rack pulls focusing on the scap retraction at then end is great. I like the height about 1 in below the knee for pin setting.