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Best Back Workouts for a Barn Door Back

June 13, 2017

Best Back Workouts for a Barn Door Back

Most gym goers don’t put enough emphasis on a killer back workout routine, and nothing showcases a powerful physique more than a barn door back.

Having a strong and muscular back puts your physique together and gives you a powerful base.

Not to mention if your back is lacking, you will be more susceptible to injuries during training.

Having a weak back actually holds you back from building lean muscle mass all over your body because you will be weaker on every single compound exercise such as the deadlift, bench press, squat, and barbell row.

Building a strong back is the foundation to big gains!

If your body has no glaring weakness and you can lift with maximum intensity on all of the best compound exercises, then you will be able to stimulate an incredible amount of anabolic hormone release.

This alone will transform you into a muscle-building machine. Because your back is one of the largest muscle groups in your body, it is vital that you train it with intensity and overload, creating the ideal amount of hypertrophy.

The Connection Between Bigger Arms and a Strong Back

Morgan MacDonald doing back excerciseMany naturally skinny guys have weak biceps and small arms from this lack of a functional foundation.

The stronger your back muscles are, the more your opposing muscle groups can fully develop.

If you have a weak back, it will be nearly impossible to reach your full arm growth potential.

Take for instance your chest and bicep muscles that are the opposing muscle groups to your back.

Having a really strong and fully developed back will help you press more weight on the bench and curl more weight with your biceps as your body works in symmetry to opposing muscle groups. This will elevate your functional strength a great deal.

This is why one of Arnold’s favorite workouts from his bodybuilding prime was the classic “push and pull” workout.

This helps put equal emphasis and equal amounts of strength on your back and chest muscles, which creates a powerful and impressive physique.

There are actually four main groups of muscles in your back, and it is crucial that you develop all four components.

Just as extremely impressive shoulder muscles involve working all 3 deltoid heads – you need to make sure you are performing a wide array of back exercises that focus on building each section of your back.

The four components to your back muscles are the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae.

Back Training Principles

You’ll need to follow a few principles with your back training if you want an aesthetically pleasing and strong back. These principles will help build an incredible foundation to your upper body.

These are the principles to back aesthetics:

  1. Make sure you are training your traps with heavy weight to establish the upper back “caps” that bring everything together

  2. You need to put an emphasis on your upper and mid lats to create that aesthetically pleasing V-taper that forms the basis of aesthetics.

  3. You need to emphasize heavy weight and time under tension with row exercises to build those bulky rhomboid muscles.

  4. Direct lower back work that will create structure in the lower back.

  5. Deadlifts will develop your entire back like no other.

Now, most guys train their back but only have a slight V-taper due to a lot of lateral pulldowns but don’t have the other components of their back muscles.

If you want to have an incredible back that looks aesthetically pleasing and also builds an awesome foundation you need to follow these principles and train each of the 4 main groups.

The best back workouts that emphasize a “barn door back” and stimulates the maximum amount of muscle growth and anabolic hormone release will follow these principles:

  1. Compound exercises that work the lats and hit other components of the back.

  2. Heavy training in the 5-8 repetition range that is 75-90 percent of your 1 rep max.

  3. Exercises that build depth, thickness, and width in the back.

  4. A high amount of focused and heavy reps with 5-7 days rest between. 50-70 reps every 5 to 7 days seems to be the perfect amount for an experienced lifter.

With that being said, what does the best back workout look like that will emphasize all four components of your back muscles and give you that incredibly strong and aesthetic looking back?

Let’s dive in and break down the best back workout for an incredible barn door back. Do this workout every 5-7 days for maximum lean muscle gains!

The Barn Door Back Workout for a Thick Back

1. Deadlifts

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 3-6
  • Rest Time: 120 seconds

Note: This is an incredible back workout because you are emphasizing the erector spinae all the way to your traps. Another benefit is that this exercise will blast your hamstrings. Make sure to emphasize your form and stay tight during this movement.

2. Seated Cable Row (Close Grip)

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6-10
  • Rest Time: 90 seconds

Note: This is a fantastic exercise for emphasizing the large rhomboid back muscles, so make sure you get a great pump and really squeeze those muscles as you row the bar into your abdomen.

3. Wide Grip Lateral Pull Down

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest Time: 90 seconds

Note: This exercise will build your lats and really emphasize the middle portion, which brings together that V-taper look. Make sure that your hands are wider than shoulder width apart to emphasize the mid lats.

4. Barbell Row

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 8
  • Rest Time: 2 minutes

Note: The barbell row is another awesome exercise for strengthening the erector spine and building up your back muscles. Another bonus is that you will be getting an incredible bicep pump during this exercise.

5. Underhand Grip Pull-Ups (Weighted Optional)

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6-10
  • Rest Time: 90 seconds

Note: This one is going to drill your upper lats and also build thickness and depth in your biceps. Underhand grip pull-ups are one of the best bicep builders since you are working your bicep muscles from a different angle.

If you are strong enough, make sure that you do these weighted either with a dumbbell between your feet or with a weight belt.

6. One Arm Dumbbell Row

  • Sets: 3 (for each arm)
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest Time: 90 seconds

Note: This exercise is going to sculpt your rhomboid muscles and is the best iso-lateral type movement for building that barn door back. The one arm dumbbell row allows you to work each side of your back individually, chiseling your rhomboids to aesthetic perfection.

7. Weighted Reverse Hyperextension

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10-12
  • Rest Time: 90 seconds

Note: This is the best exercise for targeting your lower back and building a strong foundation. Unlike the other back exercises that are working your upper and middle sections of the back, the weighted reverse hyper-extension will target your lower back muscles, which is most guys’ weakness.

This exercise will also help you to deadlift more weight and build a solid foundation. Many injuries occur due to weaknesses in the lower back.


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