Sumo deadlifts, conventional deadlifts, beyond the range (from a deficit), rack pulls – it doesn’t matter, just do them. The back not only works antagonistically to stabilize the torso (and spine) it works to lock out the weight to finish the movement. Deadlifts, by definition, are an exercise where you can move big weight.
Implement: barbell, trap bar, dumbbells
Stances: Conventional, wide
Range of Motion: Beyond the range (deficit), partial – rack pulls
Overloaded: Bands, chains, straight weight
BENT OVER ROW
Biggest flaw? Being too upright. Most guys use this exercise with too much weight and either throw it up, don’t arch their back or have too limited range of motion from being too upright. Keep your torso as close to parallel to the ground as possible while keeping your back in neutral.
Alternative: Seated Rows
Don’t throw them, don’t hyperextend, don’t tuck your chins and many other bad technique flaws you see everyday in the gym. Do them correctly and you’ll be targeting your lats, rhomboids, biceps, grip and posterior delts.
When you see someone walking around the gym with a big back, you can guarantee they can jump up and kill 15-20 pull-ups without even breaking a sweat. See the connection? Pull-ups and chin-ups are two of the best mass builders for the back. Targeting the lats, shoulders, biceps and grip, these exercises have so many different varieties, you’ll never get bored.
Change the grip; wide, narrow, alternated
Change the grip again; towels, thick ropes, two fingers, three fingers, gloves
Overloaded; dip belt, med ball, sandbag, dumbbell, kettlebell
Change the movement; side-to-side, slow negatives
Targeting the erectors, hamstrings and glutes. Stay neutral and don’t hyperextend or hyperflex your lower back. Head should also be in neutral with the back. You can overload this movement with a variety of implements like; kb’s, db’s, med balls, barbells or just holding an Olympic plate.
FACE PULL/BAND PULL APART/FOAM ROLLING
Even though exercises 1-4 are vital for adding layers of muscle to the back, #5 is the key.
That’s because #5 is the difference between fighting through a crappy injury or lifting a long time with the greatest strength potential. Focus on the little muscles that balance and stabilize the joint and are responsible for the health of the shoulders and you’ll be golden.
Face pulls and band pull-aparts target the upper and lower traps, rhomboids, posterior delts and teres major.
Foam rollers improve soft tissue quality and extensibility while releasing tension and removing scar tissue and adhesions.