The wide v-taper back is one of bodybuilding’s most prized posessions. Many people think it is because of Ronnie Coleman’s perfectly developed back muscles that he was so successful at winning so many Mr. Olympia titles in a row. I think they are right.
But out of all the famous backs in the world I think Bruce Lee’s is the most popular. When he did his signature cobra flex in Way of the Dragon millions of people were inspired to develop a v-taper back.
Training the back is quite difficult but can be very rewarding. The feeling of a sore back after a good workout is second to none. If you want to start making widening your back the goal of your back workouts then this post is a good place for you to start.
There is something very important that you should now about widening your back. It is not so much which exercises you do but how you do them that counts.
Let me explain. Take the chin up as our example. The chin is one of the best back building exercises there is. However, you will work a different part of your back depending on where you put your hands. This means that the same exercise can work many different functions for the back. In this post I will show you not only what are the best back exercises, but how you should do them to maximize your results.
The best exercises to widen the back are the one’s that target the lats and cause them to grow faster than the rhomboids.
1. The wide grip chin up
If your shoulders can handle this exercise it is hands down one of the best exercises there is. Some people (me included) cannot handle too many wide grip chin ups as it puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders. If you think this might be you try starting with about a shoulder width grip and work your way out.
The main trick with the chin up is to pretend you are pulling yourself up by your elbows. Really make sure you are tensing your lats and closing your shoulder blades. If you keep the reps nice and slow and remember these two tips your will feel a greater contraction in your lats.
You should also start to add weight to your feet or waist as soon as you can do more than about 10 reps. If you do this your back will explode into some really amazing growth.
2. Bent over rows
The bent over row is probably the favorite of most bodybuilders for building the lats. It is a lot easier to do than the chin up (people are lazy!) and it hits the lats pretty well.
The problem with the bent over row is that it is hard to get the technique right. Most of the time when I see people doing it at the gym they are doing some retarded version which ends up working their posterior deltoids instead of the back.
If you want to do it properly don’t try to be too tough. Use a light weight, keep your back straight and work on the contraction of the muscles as opposed to the lifting itself. Back training is mostly a mind game.
These are the two best exercises for widening your back by developing your lats muscles. In both exercises experiment with an underhand and an overhand grip and try different hand grip widths. You should always do more than one exercise for things that are hard to build like your back when you fist begin training your lats results will come faster. By mixing it up your back will be forced to grow and adapt.