T Nation

Wider is Better

Hey guys I need a little more help with another dilemma. I have been attempting to add some width to my back for the last year. My back is pretty well developed just not very wide. Well anyway my workouts have been centered around chin/pull-up variations with my reps varying from 3-15 and tempo varying from explosive to super-slow and then I will do a row variation for a secondary movement. I still have been unable to obtain the width that I looking for. Any suggestions?

The chin-ups will tend to hit the rhomboids, and will give you a good lump right behind the shoulder, but not much in width. The reason is mainly scapular retraction – very difficult to do on chins. Try pullovers. Cable rows with the elbows held in tight can help, make sure to really squeeze the contraction as hard as you can and hold it a second or two on each rep.

when doing a chin/pull up, force your elbows back-this will help tone down your bi’s role in the movement-I would also throw in a few towell chins (throw a towell over the chin bar and do a chin/pull up), this will not only hit the lats from a different angle, but develope your grip which often fails before one’s lats do

For width and back mass in general, I find that NOTHING works my lats (and hey that’s where the width comes from) like upright barbell rows. I like to mix up sets with both an over-hand and under-hand grip. Make sure that when you do them you use strict form, don’t round your back, pull the barbell up to your abdomen and absolutely no rocking (unless you have to cheat-up the last rep or two). This may require you start with relatively low weight to get the form under control. This is my favorite back exercise and my wife says my back is as wide as half a barn door.

I believe you mean bent over barbell rows. I can’t think of a safe way to do underhand upright barbell rows (doesn’t that become a curl?). But yes, a bent over barbell row with and underhand (supinated) grip will hit the lats well.

I never really got any width using pull-up movements or their variations. Then I watched a video of Flex Wheeler (yeah, I know he’s juiced o the gills), but one thing stuck out from his back workout - he didn’t do any pulldowns or chins. All rowing movements, and I don’t think anyone can argue with his back development. Try the bent-over rows like the other guys said (an excellent all-round back movement). Varying your grip (on all of your row movements) is also good advice. Just experiment and find what works, but definitely add some serious row work in. Good Luck.

I can’t believe people left this one out…heavy deadlifts!! Although I don’t want to get into any science here, I already have a good back from hard chins, but done properly nothing has ever hit my traps and delts quite like deadlifts did when I first started doing them properly! I noticed huge gains in the width of my back!!! Cheers.