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4 Inner Back Exercises To Stack On Back Thickness And Mass

Inner Back Exercises For Mass & Thickness

When it comes to building an impressive back the majority of guys overlook building their inner back.
You can do as many wide grip pull-ups as you like and yes,  to an extent you’ll build a wide cobra-esque back… but it takes more than a V taper to build a jaw-dropping back.

You must hit inner back exercises in order to build up the thickness of your back.

A combination of wide grip exercises such as the pendlay row and pull-ups combined with the 4 inner back exercises below will build you up a thick, wide back.

1 – Close Grip Lat Pulldown

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Back

Required: Lat Pulldown Machine

Optional: Close Grip Attachment

Close Grip Lat Pulldown Form

Assume a grip on the  close grip lat pulldown bar with your palms facing towards each other.

Tilt your torso 30 degrees, this will be the angle your torso maintains for the duration of your set.

Pull your arms down and back, contracting your shoulder blades while maintaining the 30 degree torso tilt, when performed correctly you should feel the stretch coming through your lats as opposed to your arms.

Once the bar reaches your upper chest hold and contract this position for 1 second.

Slowly extend your arms to return the bar to the starting position with arms fully extended.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

2 – Seated Cable Row

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Back

Required: Cable Machine + V Bar Attachment

Optional: N/A

Seated Cable Row Form

Sit down on your cable row machine and place your feet on the platform to keep yourself in place during your set.

Grasp the V bar attachment from your cable row machine while maintaining an upright torso.

Pull the V bar attachment back until your legs and torso form a 90 degree angle.

Maintain a slight backward lean and push your chest forward before squeezing your shoulder blades and contracting to pull the V bar attachment toward your torso.

Squeeze for 1 second once you’ve reached your abdominals.

Maintaining your posture slowly extend your arms, returning the cables to the starting position.

Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

3 – Chin-Ups

Movement: Compound

Targets: Back & Biceps

Required: Pull-Up Bar

Optional: Weight belt for added resistance or resistance band for assistance

Chin-Ups Form

With arms fully extended and slightly inside shoulder-width grasp your pull-up bar and assume a dead hang position with palms facing towards you.

Tilt your head to look slightly upward and maintain a small arch in your back, this will create the slight angle you’ll maintain in your torso for the duration of the set.

Drive your arms down and back, pulling through your back and biceps until your chin clears the bar (ideally reaching chest height with the bar).

Squeeze the biceps and contract your shoulder blades together while holding at the top of the rep for a second.

Slowly lower yourself back down to the dead hang starting position.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions with this full range of motion.

4 – T-Bar Row

The T-bar row is an excellent, old school exercise designed to add mass and thickness to the back.
Form is particularly important on this row as many guys attempt to replicate the amount of weight Arnold used to lift on the T-bar row, resulting in jerking and potential back injuries!

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Back

Required:  T-Bar Row Machine

Optional: N/A

Lying T-Bar Row Form

Lift the barbell from the machine ground by grasping the close grip handles while driving through your hips and legs.

While maintaining straight arms proceed to pull your chest up and widen your stance.

Pull the weight to just below your chest by retracting your shoulder blades and flexing your elbows.

Slowly lower the weight back down until your arms are fully extended.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

A Few Sample Back Workout Routines To Build A Thick Back…

Now you know the exercises, but where to from here? Below are a couple of sample back day workout regimes incorporating key exercises for both back width and inner back thickness.

Workout #1

4 x 8 weighted pull-ups
4 x 6 pendlay row
3 x 6 T-bar row
3 x 6 close grip lat pulldown
2 x chin-ups ’til failure

Workout #2

4 x 8 weighted chin-ups
4 x 6 pendlay row
3 x 6 close grip lat pulldown
3 x 6 T-bar row
2 x wide grip pull-ups ’til failure

Make Sure You’re Not Making These 3 Back Training Mistakes! 

1 – Not Contracting Your Shoulder Blades

In order to add size and increase back strength we need to be using our back when we’re performing rows and pull-ups.

By default most guys attempt to pull through their arms (especially when lifting heavy) as opposed to their lats… this results in a bicep pump and a half assed back workout.

Using correct form and ensuring you’re activating the right muscles requires conscious effort without a doubt.

At the beginner of each set I ensure I lean back and have a slight arch in my back to ensure I’ll be driving through my lats to row the barbell or pull myself up to the bar.
Sitting completely upright or hunching forward is a sure-fire way to set yourself up to struggle the weight through your arms.

The video below demonstrates Ido Portal, Connor McGregor’s movement coach performing strict form pull-ups, note the leaning back and the engagement of the lats while pulling his chest up to the bar. Incorrect form would show a perfectly straight torso pulling through the arms and barely clearing the chin over the bar.

2 – Wearing Straps For Every Exercise


Straps are an incredibly basic yet very effective training accessory that you’ll most likely find in the duffle bag of every serious gym-goer.
Deadlift one rep maxes, the last set of weighted pull-ups, high rep hanging leg raises for core training… the straps have there time and place without a doubt.

The primary purpose of straps is to ensure your grip strength is not the ‘weak link’ during your exercise, causing you to finish your set before the targeted muscle is exhausted.

Using straps for every rep of every exercise throughout your back workout may seem like a good idea at the time, however long term you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Straps are a band-aid fix for a lack of grip strength, heavy deadlifts, bent over rows and weighted pull-ups will all assist in building your forearms and grip strength.

Save your straps for testing your deadlift one rep maximum and 150lb weighted pull-ups.

3 – Rounding Your Lower Back

Injuries suck, regardless of whether it’s a shoulder, arm or a leg you’ve damaged… However lower back injuries are on another level, as just about anyone who has slipped or ruptured a disc will tell you, your back and confidence performing back related issues are never the same.

The most common cause of back injuries in the gym is you guessed it, poor form – particularly on rowing exercises.

Your back should never be rounded, when performing bent over barbell rows or deadlifts if you’re constantly rounding your back this is a sign that on the ascent you’re lacking strength in your back and you should lower the weight, or if you’re rounding your back on the descent/struggling to isometrically hold the weight in place that you need to increase your core strength as your issue is the stabilization.

As I mentioned in back training mistake #2 if you’re not practising strict form you’re not getting the best bang for your buck out of your workout – the rounding of the lower back makes it impossible for you to engage the targeted muscles correctly while risking a severe injury.

What’re Your Favorite Inner Back Exercises? Let Me Know Below! 

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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