10 Tips to Get a Bigger Back and Wider Lats

The only muscle group that separates the pros from the amateurs is… 

The back!

The back muscle is one of the hardest muscle groups to develop and grow.

That’s because it constitutes half of your body. It is also hard to establish a mind-muscle connection with your lats, mid-back, or lower back. 

Moreover, the number one mistake lifters do when working out the back muscles is using the incorrect form, especially when they attempt to lift heavy.

In this post, I am not going to tell you what the best back exercises are.

Because there is no best. Everyone is different. 

You may not feel the barbell rows working for you and prefer dumbbell rows, for example.

Instead, I am going to give you tips and strategic actions to perform when working out your back muscles.

Start incorporating these tips in your back workout and watch it grow in the next 3 months.

10 Tips to Grow Bigger and Stronger Back

Here are 10 pieces of advice to grow bigger back muscles and wider lats.


Lat pulldowns: Keep your goddamn chest up and back straight

Do not arch forward when you get tired. This will shift the tension from your lat muscle to your biceps.

If you get fatigued, lighten the weight.

Do not arch your back forward. Keep your chest up and your back straight. 

Resize_get bigger back_arching back forward _wrong

Correct Form. Stick your lower stomach to the pads, chest up, and straight back.


Lat pulldown: Do not use momentum

If you lean backward, it’s because the weight is heavy. Drive the movement with your elbows, not with your arms.

Squeeze your back.

Do not learn too much backward.


Seated Cable Rows: Pull with your elbow

Pull with your lats and drive the movement with your elbow. Do not pull with your biceps. Also, one common mistake is that lifters tend to lean far backward. Don’t do it.

Think about drawing your elbows back. Not your body! Don’t use much momentum. 

Do not learn backward and use momentum to pul the weight.

get bigger back_cabel rows_lean back_wrong

Correct form. The chest is up, the back is straight and not leaning backward. 


Dumbbell rows: Do not twist or arch your back

Again drive the movement with your elbow. Keep your back straight, your chest up. Do not use momentum. Feel free to use a bench if that will help you keep your back flat.

Do not twist your back away from the arm pulling the weight. Drive your elbows past your back not below.

Resize_Grow bigger back_ dumbbell rows_wrong

Do not arch your back. The chest should be up, and the back should be straight. 

Correct form. Elbow pulls the weight past the back level for a maximum squeeze. The back is straight and not twisted from one side.

Resize_get bigger back_ dumbbell rows right


Dumbbell rows: Rest in between the two Sides

If you are using a demanding weight, rest for a minute or two after finishing rowing with one arm before going over with the other side. This way you could avoid muscle strength imbalances.


Barbell rows: Keep your Spine Flat at 45 degrees

This is a hard exercise and conducive to egos lifting. Do not jerk your body. Control the form on this exercise if you really want to grow your back. Use your belt when doing heavy sets. Do not arch your back.

Keep your spine flat, and chest up. Form 45 degrees from the horizon. Keep your back straight, and pull with your elbows.

Mover the barbell up and down. Don’t bring the barbell in front of you when stretching. 

Correct form. Straight back forming 45 degrees from the horizon. Pull the bar to the lower stomach.

Resize_Barbell rows_correct


Rack Deadlift Over Full Deadlift

Deadlifts (especially off the ground) are great for lower back and spinal erectors but not your lats! 

Instead of deadlifts, do rack pulls from mid-shin below the knees. They are better for lat development than the full deadlifts.

Rack deadlifts. Notice the barbell is racked at the mid-chin level. Photo credits: The King of the Gym.

Rack deadlift - get bigger back and wider lats


Dumbbell pullover: Straighten your arms.

Use a relatively lighter weight. This movement is delicate. If you’re not very comfortable doing it, skip it. But it is a great movement for the upper lats.

When stretching your lats, extend your arms and lock your elbow. Keep your arms straight. Move the weights with your lats while keeping your arms extended. Do not bend your elbows much. 

When stretching stop at the head level and don’t go past that point as you become more vulnerable to a shoulder injury.

When flexing your lat, stop at the mouth/chin level and don’t go over your chest.

Correct form. Arms are straight and extended to the head level when stretching. When contracting, arms are still straight and the dumbbell is brought to the chin level.

Resize_dumbbell pullover_correct


Do not ignore the spinal erector.

Use the hyperextension machine. Do not turn this into a glute exercise by setting the machine pad too low. Set the pad at your pelvis level.

When flexing, do not overdo it. Stop when forming a straight line with your legs and your spine become flat. Do not squeeze past the glutes, as could cause a lower back injury.

Correct form. Hyperextension pads are at the pelvis level. When contracting, the back is forming a straight line with the legs. 

Get bigger back_hyperextension_correct


Use Straps only on The Heaviest Sets.

Don’t let using straps become a habit. Use them on the heaviest sets only, not every set.

This is especially when using heavy free weights (dumbbell or barbell ) as your forearms and grips will give up much faster than your lats. 

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