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Back: The Only Two Exercises You Need For Growth!

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Posted by Scott_Herman - June 13th, 2018

Today I’m going to show you the only TWO exercises you need to build a bigger back. If you missed the other video I did called Chest: The Only Two Exercises You Need For Growth, you can view that by clicking on the highlighted link in this paragraph.

When it comes to the back, a lot of people think that because it’s such a big area of muscle that you have to do a lot of different exercises to hit it properly. In reality, when you break it down and think about it in the simplest way, there’s only two main functions that you need to focus on when training your back. This first is SHOULDER EXTENSION, when you bring your arm down and behind you, and the second is DEPRESSING / RETRACTING THE SCAPULA, also known as shoulder packing. You can accomplish these two very specific movements with these two very specific exercises.

Exercise #1: Pull-Up / Weighted Pull-Up

What makes this exercise so great, is that not only can you overload on it a lot more than any other exercise, but you’re also moving your entire body through space, compared to a lat pulldown or reverse pulldown where you're only moving your arms. If you do the weighted pull-up correctly, you can disengage your biceps by not griping the handles as hard as possible. A lot of people grip the bar so hard that they instinctively flex their biceps throughout the entire movement. Instead, try taking your thumbs and putting them ON TOP of the handles, and then pulling up that way.

The other great thing is that the pull-up does work through those functions mentioned earlier. As you pull yourself up you’re getting shoulder external rotation, then as you get to the top portion of the movement, you’re going to also be retracting and depressing your scapula. This means you’re working through those two major functions that you want to hit. Also, when doing a pull-up, you should be taking a 1 second pause at the bottom, so that you can really get that DEEP stretch in those lats.

You may remember another video I did explaining how you could just do a dead hang weighted pull-up to see lat growth, with ZERO reps, you just literally hang there for as long as you can with as much weight as you can. I will link to that HERE. A lot of people were able to use that to then move onto doing full bodyweight pull-ups, so overall, pull-ups should be number 1!

What If I Can’t Do Pull-Ups?

If you cannot perform a weighted pull-up, or a pull-up in general right now, I still would rather you do jumping negatives, rather than just going to a lat pulldown. This is where you jump up to the top of a pull-up, control the negative on the way down, hold it for a second at the bottom, and then reset yourself for reps. If you’re not able to do a pull-up, you need to eventually be able to do one to maximize the efficiency of one of the best exercises you can do for your back. And yes, maybe you can use the lat pulldown in your back workout every now and then to switch things up, but overall, you should be doing pull-ups as much as possible.

Exercise #2: T-Bar Row

So what makes this the best choice out of any other exercises you could do in order to grow a bigger back? Firstly, whenever your palms are facing together, and your hands are close together, that is always going to be your strongest position to pull as much weight as possible. When it comes to the T-Bar row, you can put a belt on if you’d like to, but for the most part, as long as you’re sitting in-between your legs with your knees slightly bent, you can overload with a lot of weight and avoid lower back pain. Also, you get not only a deep stretch on your back, but when you pull up, you’re getting that should extension, and you’re also getting that scapula retraction you need to spark that muscle growth.

Proper form is literally bending over as much as you can, pulling the bar all the way up, and repeating for reps. For those of you who have done my Cheat & Recover program, when doing this exercise, you’re able to overload with four, five, or maybe even for some of you, six 45lb plates and get 8 repetitions out of your cheat reps. Because of the position you’re in, you’re able to really overload for growth.


When it comes to the pull-up, as has already been said, it’s an exercise where you can overload with a lot of weight. When it comes to the T-Bar row, you can overload with a lot of weight. And these are safe exercises to overload with because even when overloading, if you are in control of the negative, your chances of injury are slim to none.

You’re also going through the main functions that you need to in order to spark muscle growth. That’s why these are the only two exercises you need for your back workouts, and you can literally do 5 - 8 sets of pull-ups, 5 - 8 sets of T-Bar rows (aiming for 8 - 10 reps per set on both exercises), and you’re back workout is going to be done!

Related Videos:

CHEST: The ONLY TWO Exercises You Need For GROWTH! | UPPER & LOWER!

Heavy Weights Vs Light Weights EXPLAINED! | Your Training Is WRONG!

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Hey Scott, Absolutely loving the content in your app Cheers Steve
Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@stevemulry hey cheers for the support Steve! Glad you are loving the app! 😁