Back training for mass, To row or not to row

Building a huge back

Back training for mass. To row or not to row. Have you given it thought on making the most of your back training by what rowing exercises that you include in your back training routine?

How many times have you been inspired to pick up a barbell and start rowing to build a muscular back after you have witnessed the musculature of some bodybuilders back that looked similar to the Swiss rolling alps?

There are many great back rowing exercises that do an incredible job at building a thick well muscled back.

Today we are going to take a look at various rowing exercises and how these exercises come into play for developing the muscular back that you have always dreamed of having.

Is there a rowing exercise that works best?

There are a wide variety of different rowing exercises that you can do for back. Personally I think the best deal would be to incorporate all of them at one time or another, but you shouldn’t just limit yourself to only one rowing exercise for back.

When it comes to doing a rowing exercise that works best, basically it comes down to what you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to add an unprecedented amount of muscle size on your back, your best bet would be to incorporate barbell rows.

This is not to say that barbell rows are the best exercise that you can do for back, but when you do barbell rows, this has always been the king of rowing exercises and you can pile on lots of weight, it’s all about lifting heavy weights, isn’t it?

There are plenty of other great rowing exercises that you can do in your back training routine, such as the one arm dumbbell rows. This is a great exercise for adding size to your back and you can concentrate on doing one arm at a time, plus you can also get a great stretch when doing dumbbell rows.

There are other rowing exercises that do a great job such as cable rows, t-bar rows and various other rowing exercises. It would be best to not limit yourself to only one rowing exercise when there are many if you put all of them to use, it will do a much better job at targeting your back from all different areas.

Here is a list of some back rowing exercises

How many rowing exercises should you include in a workout?

Typically, for a back training routine, I would recommend doing three exercises, one for lat muscles and the other two as rowing exercises.

This is not to say that you should only do one lat exercise for a back routine. Quite often I do two lat exercises, it just depends on how I feel. Sometimes I do only wide grip chins, other times I might do reverse grip chins and lat pull-downs.

When you do your rowing exercises for your back training routine, I would recommend doing two rowing exercises if you want to put extra emphasis on thickness for your back muscles. Other times you can concentrate on just doing one rowing exercise and doing two lat muscle exercises.

Basically it comes down to what you feel like putting into a workout, given your energy levels or what area of your back you want to concentrate most on development. It also depends on what your goals are, and how long you have been training.

If your goal is to just get into better shape or tone your muscles, you can accomplish this by doing only two back exercises, one for rowing and the other as a lat exercise.

For building muscle, I would recommend doing either 3 or 4 exercises in a back workout. If you do three exercises, it is basically up to you if you want to do two for lats and one for a rowing movement. If you do 4 exercises in a back training routine, then you can split the difference and do two as rowing and two as lat moves.

How often should you train your back?

There are many bodybuilders out there that only work each muscle group once per week, but I think that if you are in the building stage and want to add a lot of muscle to your frame, it is much better to work each muscle group at least twice a week and make sure that you get 3 days of rest between each workout.

After you have trained back, your muscle fibers are at a point where they have been broken down and they are in a stage where they need to recuperate and mend, this generally takes 72 hours, or three days.

After that three days, they should be good and recouped by then. If you go longer than three days between training body parts, they may not be getting the muscle stimulation that they need in order to grow to their fullest potential.

How many reps should you do?

If you are serious about building muscle size, I would recommend that you stick to a rep range of between 8 to 12 reps per set. If you do more than 12 reps per set, this is more for getting into shape and toning your muscles or you can do high reps to burn calories.

If you are doing less than 8 reps per set, this is more for building strength. Many people are into building strength and following a rep range of 1-6. This is an excellent range to stay within for building strength.

Should you train heavy when doing back?

The best way to build muscle is to train heavy, so it may be in your best interest to train heavy, but when training heavy, that is to follow with a weight that you can still perform 8 to 12 reps with.

For example, if you are doing barbell rows with 135 lb and can easily rep out 15 times, then you are training to light. If you notch up the weight to 185 lb and can barely push out 10 reps, then this would be a good weight range for you to follow with.


Back training has always been one of my favorite body parts to train, because there are a wide category of exercises to choose from and having a wide, well muscled back can give the appearance of wide shoulders.

Some people have a tendency to pick and choose which body parts they want to spend 90% of their time training. There are some guys I swear that the only thing they train is arms.

If you spend all your time training arms and never do anything else, pretty soon you will start to take on the appearance of Popeye.

To get the most benefit out of your training and have the best experience putting muscle on, I invite you to check out one of my reviews on supplementation, simply go here.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to drop a message in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


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Back training at home – without weights

Building a muscular back.

These are some difficult times we are living in right now with the covid pandemic going on, with more people trying to stay at home and keeping themselves distanced from others, it can be a challenge to get a good workout in, but there is definitely the option of training at home and not everyone has access to free weights or weight machines in their own home, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce back training at home without weights.

Back training is a very rigorous type of workout that can take a lot of energy. So in today’s post I will be covering some back training exercises that you can do in your own home without weights, the only additional apparatus you will need is a door-jam bar.

The type of chinning bar that I use is a door-jam chinning bar which I feel works perfectly sufficient to accommodate what I need to achieve in my own back training routine at home. So for anyone who is interested in training at home and would be interested in some exercises for back you can do in your own home as well as some tips and tricks, follow along as I will lead you on this in-home back training routine.

What types of exercises work best?

I have found that the best, and actually only back exercises are ones that are referred to as combination moves which means that you are working more than one muscle group at a time. For example barbell rows stress the back, but there are other muscle groups that come into play, such as biceps and rear deltoids.

Since this post is talking about exercises that you can do without weights, obviously barbell rows do not fit into this category, an exercise that you can do in place of the barbell rows are wide grip pull-ups, this is not the typical kind of pull-ups you are thinking of when using a chinning bar, but rather you put two chairs back-to-back with a bar or even a broomstick braced across the back of each chair, lie down on the floor on your back between the chairs grasping the bar and you pull yourself up keeping your heels on the floor, this exercise is a great rowing exercise which is simulating the barbell rows.

Other exercises that will work great for training your back are various chinning exercises. First there is wide grip chins keeping your palms facing away from you with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip, second is the reverse grip chins, you have your palms facing towards you with a shoulder-width grip.

The final exercise I have listed are hanging shrugs which are a different variation that you can use in place of the barbell or dumbbell shrugs. Some people like training traps with shoulders while others like training their trap muscles with back, I have tried both variations but I for the most part have always enjoyed training traps with back.

When performing the hanging shrugs, you can either have your palms facing away from you or facing toward you, it is a personal preference, although rotating your hands either way will target your traps at a different angle, it may be best to try performing this exercise with both hand grips and see which way you prefer the best.

Start this exercise out with a shoulder-width grip hanging down with your arms at full length and slowly shrug body weight upwards not using your arms, just strictly use a shrugging motion. This exercise is a completely different variation to the typical shrugs that you may be used to, but when you perform this exercise right, and get used to performing them, they can be a very effective method.

The importance of combination moves

Combination moves can be a very effective way to train anybody part, especially if you are training for muscle size. When it comes to back training, any exercise that you do for back will involve other muscle groups. The only exercise in this program that would be considered an isolation move would be the hanging shrugs, when it comes to any of your typical rowing moves or chinning moves, they will all involve more than one muscle group at a time which is excellent for muscle stimulation as well as burning calories and speeding up your metabolism.

How often should you train back?

If you are new to weight training, I would suggest that for your first six months of training you stick to training each body-part once per week, once you have graduated to six months of training, you can increase your training sessions to twice a week per body part. This not only goes for back training, but any muscle group that you train.

What exercises are best for each individual back segment?

For this list of body weight back training exercises, I have a list below of each exercise noted with its typical muscle range that it will work.

  • Broomstick pull ups

This exercise is a rowing move, so it will typically work the overall thickness area of your back.

  • Wide grip chins

Wide grip chins will develop the width, or upper lateral muscles of your back.

  • Reverse grip chins

Reverse grip chins target your lower lateral muscles.

  • Hanging shrugs

Hanging shrugs develop the trapezoids (traps)


Back training never used to be one of my favorite muscle groups to train because they can take a lot of energy out of you, but after consistently training back and training in as efficient manner as possible, that is making the best use of my time with training, making sure that I train back with maximum intensity, I started to see decent results and soon back became one of my favorite muscles to work.

Once you get used to performing these exercises that I laid out in this article, you can experiment and come up with some different variations of your own and customize your own personal back training program.

After training back, I always make it a point to take in some protein immediately after a training session. I always like to rely on using Gold Standard 100% Whey protein powder with milk.

If you are interested in checking out a product review on Gold Standard 100% Whey protein powder, simply click on the link.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment in the box below.

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