What is the best scientific way to train back muscles? If you want to grow a big back, it’s important you know what muscles to target and how to do so in the most efficient way.
Jeff Nippard, a YouTuber and pro natural bodybuilder, goes over the best training techniques for the back.
The back is split into four main muscles:
- Latissimus dorsi: contribute mostly to the appearance of back width
- Trapezius: contribute mostly to the appearance of back thickness
- Rhomboids: their main function is scapular retraction
- Erector spinae: functions to extend the entire vertebral column
Best Scientific Way to Train Back Muscles
Perform a lats pre-activation movement is helpful to engage the mind muscle connection and get blood flowing to the appropriate muscles.
This idea was supported by a 2009 study that found that thinking about engaging the lats was able to increase their EMG activation.
After pre-activation it’s time to properly work on your back.
Add vertical pulls to your training:
A medium grip is generally better than wide or closed grips for more muscle activation in the eccentric phase of the lat pulldown. A pronated grip also elicits more lat activation.
Horizontal pulling exercises are also important:
- Dumbbell row
- Chest supported T-bar row
- Rope face pull
For rows, periodically using a variety of grip positions makes sense. There’s not much research on the topic, so use a grip that feels comfortable to you.
Dumbbell rows are a great exercise to train the back muscles because they allow both sides to be worked evenly, which is helpful for preventing or fixing asymmetries.
Barbells shrugs with a slightly wider grip is great for training the traps muscles.
Deadlifts from the floor, while primarily being a leg exercise, also target the traps, shoulder stabilisers and lower back. To make them more trap-focused, perform rack pulls to reduce the range of motion and maximise the load placed on the erectors and traps.
Volume and frequency
“Specific volume and frequency recommendations will be individual,” says Nippard. Generally, he recommends training the back two to three times per week.
If your back is a weak point in your physique, then prioritising it by training it early in the week after a rest day can have big benefits.
Two to three sets of wide grip pull-ups on non-back training days can be a great way to increase total weekly volume.
Time to make the most of your back training!
- what makes muscles grow: Alora Griffiths on Unsplash
- Back-Muscles: Nigel Msipa on Unsplash