T Nation

Wider Back

I know yall can help me and I hope you will.
I want to add some mass to my back (espacially upper part) and have figured out which exercises I should do (deadlift walks, pull ups, rows, m press), but am not quite sure about reps and sets.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!Before I answer your question, let me say this: I urge you to look through the (blue) Article Library section, where hundreds of articles are archived under appropriate headings. Look under “Training” and you’ll find articles that refer to building a bigger back as well as articles that discuss the benefits of certain set/rep schemes.

There’s a general rule that using fewer reps(3-5) with heavier weight leads to gains in strength, but not necessarily size; using reps in the higher range (8-12) with a weight that you can handle in that range, leads to increases in hypertrophy/size.

That having been said, there is a lot of synergistic benefit to using both, either changing every 4-6 weeks, or even changing within a week’s cycle of workouts (search for the phrase “oscillating wave” to find a program that has you using 4 different set/rep schemes).

The philosophy, of course, is that the stronger you are, the more weight you can handle. The more weight you can handle, the more efficient your workouts whether you want strength or hypertrophy or both. So I’ll remind you as you read through the Article Library that any set/rep scheme, whether 10x3 or 2x20 (and you’ll see references to both) is not meant to be a 12-month/year program.

Once you’ve read more and had more feedback in this thread, I’d suggest putting your program into wordsa and posting it, so the experienced folk can comment.

Good luck on your quest for a bigger back!

Give high rep Pull-ups (as opposed to Chin-ups) a try. Pull-ups work the Lats to a greater extent than Chin-ups as you are not using the bicep muscle nearly as much. This puts more emphasis on the Lat muscle which will give you the width which you are referring to.

I like Pull-ups far more than Chin-ups, as I think they are a better and safer movement. And as I stated they hit the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to a greater extent.

As far as rep range, I think that one or two reps short of failure is the way to go. Perform 5 sets in this fashion. Give yourself plenty of time to rest between sets.

Good Luck,


Thanks TShaw

The one variable that needs to be considered is current strength. How many pull ups can you currently do? If not many a great program to get going is a ladder type program, or an assisted weight pull up machine can also be of help. Depending on current level even wide grip pulldowns could be where you need to go. Wide for width is what you want to focus on for sure.

Plan it out for a cycle or two–post if you want feedback–then hit the gym running. Good luck. It’s great to see a beginer who is looking to focus on his back and not on his bench press.

Now I’ve come up with my routine and I’m interested in what you think.

MON and SAT:
-bear (2-3 sets)
-deadlift+shrug (5x5)
-bent press (4x6 each arm)
-hanging leg raises (2sets)

-pistols (3/4xAMAP)
-bent over rows (4x8/10)
-wrist roller (2sets)
-pinching (2sets)

And I’m also doing pull ups on the days I don’t train (ladders).

What you think?

Make sure you have a place for upright rows. I left them out for too many years and they play a big role in upper back and shoulder development (which add to the look of wider back). Just my 2 cents

I would advise against doing the pull-ups on off days. Give yourself the off days as off days. They are mucho (that’s ‘alot’ in spanish) important for recovery.

Also is there a reason you aren’t doing barbell squat?

Rack pulls.

A reason for not doing them?
I know some will shit on me becausce of this but I don’t care: it’s my fucking BIG ass (person that doesn’t have this problem won’t understand me).

[quote]Hrastnik wrote:
A reason for not doing them?
I know some will shit on me becausce of this but I don’t care: it’s my fucking BIG ass (person that doesn’t have this problem won’t understand me).

Lol, I understand your problem bro:) But so far, I haven’t given up on squatting yet. Maybe someday when I’m mistaken for a chick from behind:)

You know what you really pissed me off.
I’m going to incorporate them in my routine cause nobody will call me a fuckin chick.

Eventually the hope is that your thighs will become so massive that they’ll overshadow your big ass. Of course then you have to buy only certain makes and models of pants. It really is a double edged sword I guess. But with one edge you’re just a fairy with a big ass and with the other edge you have hamstrings like animals. I say good work in choosing the latter.

Now I’m sure I’m going to squat.

Don’t want to squat because you have a big ass? Is the current ass mass all gluteal muscle? Or is it ass flab? If the latter, squat. I doubt anyone’s ass got ugly(er) due to deep squatting.


Check out this article:


The gluteal fold indicates a lack of hamstring hip extension strength. This means that doing exercise that work the hamstrings as hip extensors will DECREASE the gluteal fold. These are exercises like (you guessed it) squats, deadlifts, glute-ham raises, sprinting, and the olympic lifts.

So actually the best exercises I can do are the exercises I tought I shouldn’t do? I’m glad you told me that.
Oh, yeah, thanks for the link Ross.

I’ve been thinking and came to an idea:
I should try Westside. I came to that conclusion after all you had told me and I’m curious if this is what I should try. What you think?
And how could I incorporate pull ups into westside.