To supersize your back—build wider proportions, denser, more sizeable muscle mass, and greater functional strength that enables you to lift more—you need to put your body through a variety of movements, rep ranges, and strategic high-intensity workouts, according to Joel Seedman, Ph.D., exercise physiologist, athletic performance specialist, and owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta, Georgia.

"The following 10 workout plans involve key movement patterns that optimize muscular hypotrophy in the upper back, including horizontal pulls (rows), vertical pulls (pullups, pulldowns, and chinups), Olympic lifts, deadlift variations, pullover movements, rear delt exercises, shrugs, and loaded carries," Seedman says. These facilitate growth throughout every major and minor back muscle: lats, rhomboids, upper traps, lower traps, rear delts, upper neck, and shoulder stabilizers. 

Follow these routines whenever you've penciled in back day. You'll be growing in no time. 

Prescription: Perform 1 heavy back routine once every 3-7 days for optimal growth and strength gains.

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Back-Specific Dynamic Warmup

Directions: Repeat this circuit 2x with 15 sec rest between exercises.
- Super-Slow Lat Pulldowns with Light Weight: 8 Reps
- Low Back Extensions: 10 reps (on floor, stability ball, or incline bench)
- Med Ball Slams: 8 reps
- Jump Rope for Speed: 50 reps
- Plank on Single Leg: 30 sec per leg
- Bent-Over Lateral Raise: 15 reps (with 5-pound plates)
- Bird Dog Quadruped: 5 reps per side (Kneel on all fours and lift opposite arm and opposite leg straight out; hold each for 5 seconds.)

Also, before you get started, check out 7 Ways to Make Your Back Workouts More Effective, courtesy of Seedman.

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Workout 1

Directions: Perform 4 rounds of each exercise in Group A, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, complete 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B, taking 45 seconds rest between sets. Do the workout finisher last. 

Group A 
Rack Pulls: 5 reps (Set the bar on the pins of a power rack, below or above your knee, or mid-thigh. Position and lift as you would a deadlift.)
Weighted Chinups: 5 reps
Ab-Wheel Rollouts: 8 reps

Group B 
Single-Arm Seated Cable Row: 8 reps
Standing Cable Reverse Flye: 10 reps
Incline Dumbbell Shrugs: 15 reps

Workout Finisher:
Chest-Supported T-Bar Row: 10 reps @ max effort (Load the T-bar Row Machine with a weight you can perform at least 10 reps of. Adjust the height so your chest is at the top of the pad. Lie face down and grab the handles. Lift the bar, fully extending your arms in front of you; then, pull the weight up toward you, keeping your elbows in, retracting your shoulder blades, and squeezing your back muscles.)

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Workout 2

Directions: Perform 5 rounds of each exercise in Group A, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, complete 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B, taking 45 seconds rest between sets. Do the workout finisher last. 

Group A 
Deadlift: 4 reps
Wide Overhand Pullups: 5 reps
Dumbbell Pullovers: 6-8 reps (Place a dumbbell within easy reach or have a spotter pass it to you. Lie perpendicular on a bench so only your shoulders are making contact, feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Grab the dumbbell with both hands and hold it over your chest. Then, lower the weight in an arc behind your head. Repeat the motion to come back to the start.)

Group B 
Seated Cable Row: 8-10 reps
Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 12-15 reps
Underhand Lat Pulldowns: 6-8 reps

Workout Finisher:
Straight-Arm Lat Pulldowns: 12 reps @ max effort (choose a weight that allows at least 12 reps)

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Workout 3

Directions: Perform 5 rounds of each exercise in Group A, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Next, complete 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, do 3 rounds of each exercise in Group C, taking 45 seconds rest between sets. Do the workout finisher last. 

Group A
Snatch Grip Deadlifts: 5 reps
Single-Arm Lat Pulldowns: 5 reps

Group B 
Pullovers with Kettlebells: 8-10 reps
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row (one knee on bench): 8-10 reps

Group C 
Farmers Walk with Dumbbells: 50 yards
Reverse Pec Dec Flye Machine: 10 reps

Workout Finisher:
Neutral Grip Pullups: to failure

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Workout 4

Directions: Perform 4 rounds of each exercise in Group A, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Next, complete 5 rounds of each exercise in Group B with 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, do 3 rounds of each exercise in Group C, taking 45 seconds rest between sets.

Group A
Hang Cleans: 3 reps
Single-Arm Plank: 30 sec. per side

Group B 
Trap Bar Deadlifts: 5 reps
Weighted Overhand Pullups: 4-6 reps

Group C 
Seated Cable Row with Rope: 8 reps
Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 12 reps
Straight-Arm Pulldown with Rope: 10 reps

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Workout 5

Directions: Complete the moves as an AMRAP routine—so you'll perform as many quality reps as you can for that exercise in 10 minutes, typically using a load that's equivalent to your 10 RM. "It's up to to you, how you prefer to break it up to try to find the rest and rep combo that allows for the least fatigue and maximal number of reps," Seedman says. "Usually it's 4-8 reps every 20-45 seconds, but it will vary for each lifter based on a number of physiological factors." You might do 6 reps, then 45 seconds later do 5 reps, then 1 minute later 6 reps, then 45 seconds later 5 reps, then 4 reps every 30-45 sec thereafter until you reach 10 minutes. Go through all three exercises, then end with the workout finisher. 

- Deadlifts: with 70% of 1RM
- Pullups
- Inverted Row On Rings or TRX with Feet on Bench 

Workout Finisher:
Weighted Plank Drop Set: Perform a weighted plank for as long as you can, then immediately perform a bodyweight plank for max time.

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Workout 6

Directions: Complete 4 rounds of each exercise in Group A with 90 seconds rest between sets. Next, perform 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, do 3 rounds of each exercise in Group C with 45 seconds rest between sets. End with the workout finisher. 

Group A 
Hang Snatch: 3-4 reps
Bent-Over Barbell Row with Underhand Grip: 6-8 reps

Group B
Straight Arm Pulldown: 8 reps
Underhand Lat Pulldown: 6-8 reps

Group C 
Farmers Walk with Kettlebells: 50 yards
Bent-Over Lateral Raises: 12 reps

Workout Finisher:
Overhand Pullup Isometric Hold: Perform 1 pullup and hold the top position for as long as you can.

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Workout 7

Directions: Perform 4 rounds of each exercise in Group A with 60 seconds rest between sets. Next, complete 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. End on the workout finisher.

Group A
Power Shrugs: 5 reps
Barbell Pullover: 6 reps
Super-Slow Lat Pulldown (5 sec up, 5 sec down): 5 reps

Group B
Single Arm T-Bar Row: 8 reps
Single Arm Bent Over Lateral Raise: 10 reps

Workout Finisher:
Chinups: to failure

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Workout 8

Directions: Perform 5 rounds of each exercise in Group A, taking 60 seconds rest between sets. Next, complete 3 rounds of each exercise in Group B with 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, do 3 rounds of each exercise in Group C with 45 seconds rest between sets.

Group A
T-Bar Row: 5-8 reps
Kneeling Abdominal Walkouts: 6-8 reps

Group B
Mid-Pause Pullups (pause midway up and midway down): 5 reps
Suitcase Carry (Single-Arm Farmers Walk): 40 yards per side

Group C
Incline Dumbbell Shrug: 12 reps
Front Raises on TRX or Suspension System: 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Row: 10 reps

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Workout 9

Directions: Perform 4 rounds of each exercise in Group A with 60 seconds rest between sets. Next, complete 4 rounds of each exercise in Group B with 60 seconds rest between sets. Then, perform 3 rounds of each exercise in Group C with 45 seconds rest between sets.

Group A:
Negative Pullups: 3-4 reps (Use weight belt with more than 1RM and have partner assist you up.)
Single-Arm Plank with Feet on Bench: 20 seconds per side

Group B:
Mid-Pause Deadlifts: 3-4 reps (Pause mid way up just below knee before standing to top position.)
Single-Arm Dumbbell Pullover: 8 reps

Group C: 
Single-Arm T-Bar Row: 8 reps
Bent-Over Lateral Raises while Standing on 1 leg: 7 reps per leg, per set (14 total reps per set)

Workout Finisher:

Double Drop Set Row (on any machine): Aim for a load that allows 6-8 max effort reps then drop the weight by 40% and perform 6-8 more reps, or until failure.

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Workout 10

Directions: Follow instructions for each exercise in German Volume Training workout. If you’re not familiar, German Volume Training is a method bodybuilders made popular in the 70s. The idea is to trigger the growth of lean mass by overloading your muscles. The volume is high, so start with a lower weight if you’re just beginning since you’ll fight more fatigue than you’re used to. 

 

Deadlift: 10x10 (use 50-60% 1RM, taking 1 minute rest between sets)

Lat Pulldowns: 10x10 (use 50-60% 1RM, taking 1 minute rest between sets)

Seated Cable Row with Supinated/Underhand Grip: 3x10 (take 45 sec rest between sets)

Ab Wheel Rollout While Kneeling on One Knee: 3x5 per leg (take 30 sec rest between sets)

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