What Are Best Back Exercises For Mass? – Top 5 List You Need To Know

Summary: What are best back exercises for mass? Learn these 5 best back workouts that will pack on huge amount of muscles in your frame in way less time!



I used to be like those guys in the gym that have huge biceps and chest, but have chicken legs and skinny back. Little did I know that a wide and powerful back will make me stand-out from the rest of them.

Having a powerful back gives you the foundation--a powerful base to hold your physique together and prevents you from getting injured. Like in every structure, a strong foundation is NECESSARY for it not to crumble. It's the same for your body--your torso is your base, and the back takes a huge art in it. So it's just smart to make it your focus and make as much effort as you can to build it.

I learned from my mistake, and now I've worked hard to turn my lagging body part(back) into one of my strongest features.

So, you want a huge back too, you say? Well, in this article you'll learn the fundamentals of building a huge, jaw-dropping back and the 5 best back exercises for mass that will make people say "wow." So keep everything aside and read on.

The Back Muscles

There are five muscles that make up the size of the back, and these are the muscles we want to develop:

  • Trapezius or Traps (Upper Back)
  • Latissimus dorsi or Lats (Middle Back)
  • ​Erector spinae (Lower Back)
  • ​​RhomboidsTeres Major/Minor

Here is how they look:

Functions Of The Back Muscles

Trapezius (Upper Back)

Trapezius Muscle - Upper Back

The trapezius muscles are located between your shoulders and extends up to your neck, which is responsible for that "cobra" look. A well-developed traps is very noticeable from a frontal view, and they look very good coupled with a well-developed lats.

However, there are two things I always notice in the gym: Either guys don't work their traps, or they work it too much. They don't look good in both extremes.

The traps functions are:

  • Scapular elevation - shrugging up.
  • Scapular adduction - drawing the shoulder blades together.
  • Scapular depression - pulling the shoulder blades down.

Latissimus Dorsi (Middle Back)

Latissimus Dorsi Muscle - Middle Back

The largest of the back muscles and the one responsible for that "wings" is the Latissimus Dorsi or Lats.

Once developed, the lats are responsible for the body's V-taper, because the muscles protrude under the armpit and extend low down the torso.

As you might already know, these are the muscles most commonly trained by gym rats using different kinds of pulldown and pullup variations.

The functions of lats are:

  • Pulling the arm down towards the pelvis
  • Supporting your body and stabilize your torso in a variety of movements

Erector Spinae (Lower Back)

Erector Spinae Muscle - Lower Back

See the muscles on his lower back? That’s the erector spinae muscles.

The erector spinae, or the spinal erectors, is a group of muscles that support your spinal column from the lower back to the upper back. They include Longissimus, Spinais, and Iliocostalis, and they connect to the vertebrae, ribs, and pelvis.

The functions of these muscles are to extend your back in any direction, as well as provide support for the spine. Strong spinal erectors lead to a good posture and core stabilization.

Teres Major and Minor

Teres Major and Teres Minor

The teres major, or "the little lats," is a small muscle located underneath the lats. It starts on the outer edge of the shoulder blades and extends to the humerus.

The teres minor is a thin, small muscle within the rotator cuff, located in the shoulder.

These muscles work with the rotator cuff muscles and the lats to stabilize the shoulder joint, pull the arms downwards, and rotating them inwards.

On the other hand, the teres minor is only involved in the external rotation of the shoulder joint.


Rhomboids Muscle

This muscle is located on the spinal column and connected to the middle surface of the scapula, underneath the traps.

The Rhomboid muscles got their name from the shape called rhomboid(isn't it surprising?).

The rhomboid muscles' functions are:

  • Bringing and squeezing the scapula, retracts it
  • Being responsible for the downward rotation of the shoulder blades.

Principles To A Massive Back

  • Focus on compound, multi-join movements that trigger hormonal response and send signals to the body to do nothing but grow.
  • Focus on heavy ass weights that you can only do for 4-8 reps to recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibers.
  • Select exercises that work these 5 muscle components of the back that will provide the overall back size.
  • Have to rest to grow.

Now that we have the basics of building a huge back, let's now dive in and break down the 5 best back exercises for mass.

Best Back Exercises For Mass & Strength

1. Deadlift

Deadlift Exercise

The king of all exercises. This exercise not only builds the entire back--from lats to traps to rhomboids and to erector spinae--but also almost all the muscles from the neck to the calves.

Since deadlift is the exercise that uses the most muscles, one can be able to lift a very heavy weight doing this.

Studies show that lifting heavy weights, around 85-90% of your 1 rep max, will produce a surge of testosterone and growth hormones in your system. That's why the deadlift is the core exercise of a good exercise program.

However, I'd like to point out, as fast as the deadlift builds muscle, it could also be as dangerous as that when done in poor form--the potential of getting injured in this exercise is higher than the others.

To learn the proper way of doing the deadlift, I will give the floor to Mark Rippetoe:

Always keep in mind to prioritize form and leave your ego at the door when performing this lift, especially when you progress to heavier weights.

You can also do sumo deadlifts for variation and for different muscle stimulation.

2. Barbell Row

Barbell Row Exercise

Barbell row is also an exercise that works a lot of your back muscles--from the erector spine to the traps, and the potential of going heavy on these exercises is high and will permit additional overloading that will force the muscles to grow.

The conventional barbell row:

It is a staple in my back routine coz it helps to put thickness on the upper back. It works the all the 5 components of the back muscles.

You can substitute seated machine row for variety.

3. T-bar Row

T-bar Row Exercise

This is a machine version of the t-bar row.

This exercise, like the barbell row, works the thickness of the upper back, but it uses more of the traps than the lats.

Another advantage of this exercise is you're allowed to squeeze the upper back at the contracted position, allowing the rhomboid muscles to work and get stimulated.

4. Chins or Chin-ups

Chin-ups Exercise

This is a great exercise for the lats, and it is the staple for building the wideness of the back.

Chins works the overall latissimus dorsi--from the upper to lower lats, thus, creating the "wings."

Scooby doo doing the chin-ups:

If you're not strong enough to do chins, you can substitute it using a lat pulldown with an underhand grip.

5. Wide Grip Pullups

Wide Grip Pullups

Like Chins, this is an exercise for building the wideness of your back. The only difference between them is this exercise focuses more on the upper lats, the muscles that start from your armpit to the middle.

Here it is:

You can substitute wide-grip lat pulldowns if you're not yet strong enough to do pullups.

You can refer below article to know all benefits of pull ups.


These are the 5 best back exercises for mass that will pack on pounds of muscle in your frame. Just make sure to eat and rest well along with training properly and I assure you - you will grow like a weed.

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