1 – Start Doing Deadlifts
If you think you can build a huge back without doing some deadlifts, we’ve got some bad news for you. There is a reason deadlifts are known as the king of all back exercises. When you pull from the floor you are working your entire back as well as a ton of other support muscles. It also builds crazy grip strength, not to mention it is actually a functional skill that will make moving heavy objects easier.
When it comes to doing deadlifts it’s important to learn the form first. We understand you want to start lifting heavy weights ASAP so you can put on some mass, but hear us out. If you rush into the deadlift without learning proper form you will put yourself at serious risk of injury. In fact, deadlifting incorrectly can lead to some of the nastiest injuries out there – the kinds that you never recover from. We know guys who were making insane gains but had their lifting careers ruined due to deadlifting injuries. If they had taken the time to learn proper form and increase the weight more gradually they’d still be making gains today.
2 – Train Back More Often
Instead of training back once per week, try splitting it into multiple workouts. When you go to the gym and do deadlifts, a couple row variations and pull-ups you are putting a lot of stress on your body. Instead, try breaking things up a bit. Do heavy rows and deadlifts on different days so you have more energy to perform them properly. If nothing else, training twice per week instead of once will shock your muscles and help you break through a plateau you’ve been stuck on.
We also recommend training rear delts on one of your back days. A lot of people don’t give rear delts enough attention on shoulder day and as a result it ends up hurting the overall look of your back. However, by training rear delts on back day you are essentially training it with other muscles that serve a similar purpose.
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3 – Use Lifting Straps
Do you know what limits most people’s back exercises? It’s not actually the strength of their backs or arms, it’s weak grip strength. When you do rows or deadlifts does it feel like the bar is slipping out of your hands? If so it’s likely because your grip just isn’t quite strong enough. Don’t worry, this is relatively common and easy to work around. Simply pick up some lifting straps and use them to help reinforce your grip. You will be able to lift more weight and perform more reps.
Now, a lot of hardcore bodybuilders are against lifting straps. They feel that they are a band aid solution and that people should simply improve their grip strength until they are able to handle the weight. While we are definitely in agreement that grip strength needs to be improved, there is no reason it should limit you from making more back gains. Keep working on your grip strength with other exercises and even do the first few warm up sets without straps. After a while you will have enough strength that you will no longer need the straps.
4 – Do Tons of Pull-Ups
Did you know that Arnold used to start every back workout with tons of pull-ups? They are without a doubt one of the best compound exercises out there. They work the lats, arms, deltoids and core and require very little equipment or setup. Some guys start out every back workout with 50 pull-ups. We aren’t saying you have to jump right to that level but even starting with 10 or 20 pull-ups can help warm up your muscles and improve your gains.
Pull-ups are also a good way to test whether or not you need to go on a cut. If you start to struggle with pull-ups you know you are putting on too much fat and need to go on a cut. Pull-ups are an exercise that, even when performed alone, can help you build a physique that is better than 99% of men out there.
5 – Take a Testosterone Booster
One of the reasons people recommend deadlifts so frequently is that they cause your body to produce more testosterone. In fact, deadlifts work so many muscle groups that your body has no choice but to boost t-levels in order to handle the workload. That results in not only faster back muscle gains but also faster gains for every muscle group. You get a similar effect with all the big compound exercises (bench press, squats, rows, etc.) which is one of the reasons so many bodybuilders swear by them.
In addition to lifting heavy there is another thing you can do to drastically boost your testosterone levels. No, we aren’t talking about taking steroids. We would never suggest doing something that is dangerous and illegal. Worst of all, the gains aren’t even permanent! We do, however, recommend taking a testosterone booster. These products use natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost testosterone levels. By taking them together you get a powerful synergistic effect that will boost your strength, energy levels and most importantly – muscle. There are a lot of products out there and some are better than others. In order to make things easier for you, we’ve put a detailed guide together. Click here to check out our dedicated testosterone boosters page to learn more.
6 – Pull Properly
You would think that pulling would be easy (after all, it’s a natural movement) however most guys tend to mess it up. Most pulling movements over-emphasize the arms resulting in less direct work for the target muscle. In order to improve your back workouts it’s important to make sure you are pulling properly. Focus on starting every rep from the shoulders – they should move backwards before your arm begins bending. Don’t grip the bar too tightly otherwise you will emphasize the biceps and forearms too much. Also, as a general rule underhand grips tend to work the biceps more while overhand grips focus on the back.