Top 5 Exercises for a Totally Shredded Back

Looking to get a ripped back but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with these 5 back exercises

When it comes to perfecting your physique, the back can be one of the most complicated parts of the body to work on. A lot of the muscles aren’t intuitive, meaning you don’t use them in everyday life that often, so it can be hard to figure out how to train them properly. Not just that, but you also cannot see your back while you are training, so establishing a proper mind-muscle connection is not the easiest task.

Another thing worth mentioning is that there is a huge overlap between back and arms, as you use a lot of your biceps during back movements, so a lot of these you can expect to help out on arm day as well. In this post, we will spotlight five great exercises to get a totally ripped back.

1. Reverse Lat Pulldown

The reverse lat pulldown is one of the most challenging exercises you can do for your back, but definitely has a high impact and increases muscle gains. 4x Mr. Olympia champion, Jay Cutler, stated that the reverse grip lat pulldown was one of his favorite exercises to build the back.

A reverse lat pulldown is a regular pulldown with your hands reversed, which increases the amount of work done by your back. It’s also a great workout for your biceps, as it is essentially a modified chin up, which puts a lot of strain of those muscles. This is a great high impact workout that should definitely be included in any back workouts you have planned.

strong man

2. Bent-over Barbell Row

The bent-over barbell row is another great back workout. To perform the barbell row, you are going to be bent over at about a 90-degree angle, hinging at the hips, with the barbell in hand. Dorian Yates was a big fan of an underhand grip, which like the reverse grip lat pulldown works a lot of the biceps, but you can do overhand grip as well. By keeping your back completely straight while you lift, you get a great, old-school back workout, as this hits the erectors as well as the lats.

Another variation of the barbell row, favorited by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is when the lifter is on an elevated surface and the barbell goes all the way down, almost like a Pendlay Row. This gives a greater stretch in the lats. Again, another great workout that serves a dual purpose.

3. Rowing Machine

rowing machine

The rowing machine is definitely an underrated piece of equipment in the gym. Typically used for cardio, it is definitely not a fan favorite, but it gets the job done well. Spending 20 or even 30 minutes on the rowing machine in the gym can really work our your arms and back as a whole. Just back sure to use proper posture, otherwise the workout will only be in your arms! You should be bending forward and pulling all the way back with a straight back each time. You can play around with the resistance to get an even better workout too, and you will burn a lot more calories.

4. The Barbell Deadlift

An old school workout used by powerlifters and bodybuilders alike is the barbell deadlift. Unlike the stiff leg barbell deadlift where you keep your legs completely straight, the barbell deadlift involves picking the weight up off of the floor with your knees bent. You hinge at the hips and bend your knees to lower the barbell to its starting position and repeat.

Form is crucial on a movement like the deadlift, you really want to make sure you have the form down pat before going into the heavy weights. Make sure to keep your back completely straight that’s the key to a lot of back workouts. Not only is it the only way to make sure your gains are actually in your back, but hunching your back can result in injury, so it is important to prevent injuries like pulling a muscle.

5.  Wide-Grip Pull-up

pull-up bar options

Wide-grip pull-ups are another great way to keep your back in shape, easy to do as they are bodyweight and do not require too much equipment, as you really only need a pull-up bar. A wide-grip pull-up is essentially just a pull-up where your arms are really far apart. This increases the use of the muscles of your upper back and the area in between your neck and along your spine. It’s definitely an exhausting style of pull-up, but worth it for the killer workout you get through the upper back and arms. When you place your arms on the bar, keep them shoulder-length apart, and then add about four to six inches on either side of that.

Importance of Training Back

Many people may have the idea that training back is not as important as other muscle groups, because it is, well, the back of the body. Lifters will focus more heavily on training chest and arms, which are essential, but you want to have a complete physique. It is worth mentioning that besides being aesthetically pleasing, have a strong and ripped back can help with your day to day life and tasks.

A strong back helps you walk and keep a good posture, helps you be able to lift things, helps with spinal stability, prevent lower back pain, amongst other things. Do not skip out on your back days!

Back Exercises for a Ripped Back Wrap Up

Overall, training your back may not be the easiest task, but there are so many different things you can do to make sure it is not the most difficult. Training back can be a fun day, with the proper exercises. Having a strong, shredded back also brings a load of benefits to your every day life.

Do you agree with our list of 5 exercises to build a shredded back?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.