Build a Bigger Back
The focus of this four-week plan is to develop all of the muscles that comprise your back.
Your lats – or latissimus dorsi – are the broadest muscles on your back. Lats exercises make for the foundation for a stronger back and core, from which you will benefit in other areas of lifting. Their job is to adduct (move a body part towards the midline of the body, or towards another body part), extend and internally rotate the arm. The latissimus dorsi supports various different movements of the shoulder. It pulls the humerus towards the torso (adduction) and behind your back (retroversion).
Along with your lat’s you’ll be working the rear deltoids (the backs of your shoulders) and you trap’s, which is located on the top half of your back and are developed by elevating your shoulders with shrugs and upright rows.
The following plan doesn’t exclusively mean you’ll be working the aforementioned muscles. You can carry on with your chest, shoulder and leg days. However, it’s important to bear in mind the rest and nutrition you’ll require in order to properly grow your muscles. We’ll get into more detail on that in a moment.
Your back muscles are developed with pulling, rowing and reverse fly exercises, so we have accordingly separated them so that you can pick and choose. For weeks one and three of your four-week plan you will choose four different exercises from the rows list and two from the flies list.
During weeks one and three you will work on strength by performing 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps of a heavyweight for the exercises you choose from the rows list. You will end these workout sessions with 4 sets of 12 of a light to moderate weight on the flies exercises.
For weeks two and four you will go for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of a moderate weight for both rows and flies.
✓ T-bar row
✓ Seated cable row
✓ Front cable pulldown
✓ Wide grip pull-up
✓ Bent-over barbell row
✓ Machine row
✓ Dumbbell row
✓ Reverse Flies
✓ Cable reverse flies (diagonal high to low)
✓ Cable reverse flies (seated, horizontal)
✓ Cable reverse flies (standing, horizontal)
✓ Cable reverse flies (diagonal low to high)
Your back muscles require adequate rest to grow. There are no extra marks for working them when they need to be rested; on the contrary, this could result in injury or at least hinder your performance. Because many of the above exercises will require muscles that are worked during shoulder workouts, we suggest you keep 24-48 hours between these days. Better yet, if your sole aim is to develop your back, make this day one of your workout weeks so that your muscles are fresh and rested.
This is arguably the most important part of your plan. That saying (you are what you eat) well it applies to bodybuilding above all else. This isn’t a point about fad diets, rather the fact that your body requires a surplus of protein and calories in order to grow muscles and develop their strength. Because your aim isn’t to pile on the body fat, you will increase the number of calories and protein you consume according to your four-week development.
For example, week one will see you consume 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. In terms of calories, the rough estimate is your bodyweight x 15-17 calories. With each week you will increase the amount of weight you’re lifting by 5 percent of your one rep maximum capability. In correlation, you will increase the amount of protein and calories by 5 percent.