When you take a look at bodybuilders, you will notice they all feature a large, wide back. The V-shape you commonly associate with these athletes provide an important aesthetic benefit.
For one thing, it makes your waist appear smaller than it actually is.
If you were to build huge biceps but you didn’t work on your V-tapers, it would look ridiculous. If you’re looking to build on your V-shaped look, the following 4 exercises will help.
1. Wide Grip Pull-Ups
One of the key exercises that will help you build a strong, wide back is the wide grip pull-up.
This intensive exercise involves gripping the pull-up bar slightly wider than you typically would. Ideally you want to aim for a grasp that is past the shoulders.
The key is to ensure you pull yourself all the way up, before coming back down. The pull-up bar should be level with your chest when you reach the top of your rep.
Start by doing just 10 of these in each set. Once you have got used to doing around 5 sets at a time, you can then think about adding a little more weight.
2. Straight-arm pushdowns
Famously Doug Young, the Iron Legend, used to love this exercise. Your lats will be practically completely isolated when you perform this exercise; it won’t work your biceps at all really.
You will need to use a straight bar attachment and remember to keep the arms straight as you lower it towards your thighs. Be sure to lean forwards with the top so you emphasise each stretch. Aim for 15 reps in each set and 5 sets in total.
3. V-Grip Pull-ups
Another great pull-up exercise, these actually used to be used quite a lot in early back-training days. You will need a V-Grip attachment which fits over the pull-up bar.
As you pull yourself up, make sure your chest touches the attachment. The key is to use your upper back and lats to pull yourself up.
Remember not to swing and aim to do a minimum of 5 sets.
4. One-arm Lat Pull-downs
This exercise will isolate your lats which in turn will help to really increase the width of the back. You will need the handle attachment connected to the lat pulldown stack.
Use one hand to grasp the bar so you can feel a large stretch at the top of the arm. Then pull it down until the handle is at your shoulder. Remember to keep your form strict and use muscle intention to make the most out of the workout.
Your lats should be doing all of the work. Aim for 5 sets with 10-15 reps in each one.
Overall the key to building up a wide back is to follow a strict form and use muscle intention. If you incorporate the exercises above into your routine, you will soon notice a huge difference in the width of your back.
Don't forget that working out is just one par of the puzzle, to gain muscle you also need adequate rest and nutrition. Our bulking guide will help with these aspects.