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The Width Solution


Whether you’re talking about a physique contest or you just want to leave a lasting impression in the minds of those around you, an impressive back makes a big statement. Some athletes are good when it comes to width but want the knots and details that demonstrate power personified. Others can hide coins in the crevasses of their back muscles but appear to be able to walk through a crack in the wall due to a lack of width in their lats. Regardless of which category you fall into, keep reading, because we have a remedy for you. You could also take both workouts and alternate them to keep your back day challenging and attain the best of both worlds.

The Width Solution

Although many exercises serve the purpose of helping improve the back overall, you can use some
movements in a program to help target one’s weakness with that area. If you want to improve your V-taper so your waist appears narrow from the rear, then give this routine a try for a couple of months.


Perform one warm-up set of 20 reps before starting your work sets. Rest 60 seconds between sets.


Wide-Grip Pull-Up: 3-4 sets to failure

Dumbbell Pullover: 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Wide-Grip Seated Row: 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Straight-Arm Rope Pulldown:  3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Wide-Grip Pull-Up

Grab the handles or bar at a grip that is wider than shoulder width but comfortable. Let your body hang at arms’ length. Using force in your lats, pull yourself up until your chin is level with the bar. Try to hold that position for a second before slowly lowering yourself to the starting position and repeat. If you can’t do pull-ups with your bodyweight, use a band to assist you or substitute with wide-grip pulldowns. If your bodyweight isn’t enough resistance, use a belt with additional weight hanging on it.

Dumbbell Pullover

Lie across a bench with your middle back on the bench and feet flat on the floor with legs bent 90 degrees. Hold a dumbbell at arms’ length overhead. Lower the weight behind your head as far you can to stretch the lats. Think about leading with your elbows rather than your hands as you bring the weight back up overhead until it’s above your chest. Repeat.

Wide-Grip Seated Row

Take a long handle cable attachment, fasten it to a low cable pulley, and hold it at a grip wider than shoulder width. Once you are seated, hold the handle at arms’ length in front of you. Pull in the handle until it touches your stomach and hold it for a second to squeeze the muscles. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position until your arms are fully stretched out and repeat.

Straight-Arm Rope Pulldown

Stand in front of a high pulley with a rope attachment. Grab both ends of the rope and stand away from the weight stack so when you hold the rope at arms’ length, the weight with the pin is not touching the rest of the stack. While keeping your arms as straight as possible and standing tall, engage the lats and pull the rope down to your waist. Once the rope reaches waist level, separate the ends of the rope to get a better contraction. Return the rope to the starting position and repeat.


Thickness Therapy

There are some people who are blessed to have wider lats, but it’s the big knots in the middle
that make the statement that you’re a walking beast. If you want to add the beef to your back so
you’re as thick as you are wide, then this is the protocol for you.


Perform one warm-up set of 20 reps before starting your work sets. Rest 60 seconds between sets.


Rack Deadlift: 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

T-Bar Row:  3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Close-Grip Pulldown: 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Rack Deadlift

Place the safety bars in the squat rack so the barbell will rest at knee level. Bend at the waist and grab the bar at a grip a little wider than shoulder width. Push your feet into the floor, keep your chest up, and lift the weight up off the rack as you pull your torso into a vertical position. Bring your hips forward once you’re close to standing straight to complete the rep and lock out the lift. Slowly return the weight to the starting position, let the bar rest on the rack for a second and repeat.

Close-Grip Pulldown

Attach a V-handle to a high cable pulley and sit in front of it so when you hold the handle, your arms are extended overhead. Place your knees under the pad. Using force from your lats and keeping your upper body straight, pull the handle down until it touches your chest. Hold this position for a second before returning to the starting position.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Grab a dumbbell with one hand and brace your opposite hand and knee on a sturdy bench. Bend over so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbell hang at arms’ length in front of you. Keeping your elbow close to your body, bring the dumbbell up and back toward your hip. Once you’ve pulled the weight in as far as you can, squeeze and hold it before lowering the weight to the starting position. Repeat for reps before switching to the other arm.

T-Bar Row

While keeping your back as straight as possible, bend yourself at your waist until your body makes a 45-degree angle. If you have access to a T-bar bench, your chest will make contact with the pads of the station. Take a hold of the handles on the T-bar. Engage your lats without recruiting your traps and pull the bar as close to your sternum as you can. Squeeze and hold this position for a second before lowering the weight to the starting position.



Regardless of whether you’re focused on width or thickness, the lower back should be a serious point of focus if you want to complete the masterpiece. Improving strength in your lower back will help you not only with back training but with other exercises like the squat, deadlift, and many core moves. This will also help you outside of the gym, as you may notice benefits like improved posture and less back pain.

Consider adding one of these three movements for three sets of 12 to 15 reps along with your upper-back plans and you’ll be certain to have that Christmas-tree development that will improve the total package from the rear. 

Weighted Hyperextension

Position yourself at the hyperextension bench so your legs are locked in but your upper body is not. Hold a weight across your chest and bend over at the waist while trying to keep your back as straight as possible. After you’ve bent over as far as you can, concentrate on using force in your lower back to return to the starting position.

Cable Pull-Through

Straddle a low cable pulley with a rope attachment so your feet are over the rope. Now take a few steps away from the stack. Holding each end of the rope with your arms straight, lower yourself like you would for a deadlift. Let the rope pass through your legs and behind you. Next, activate the extensors in your lower back and raise your upper body up and straighten yourself out while bringing the rope in front of you. The weight with the pin should leave the stack as you do this. Once you lock out, slowly lower the rope back down between your legs.

Banded  Good Mornings

Stand on the inside of a thick exercise band with your legs spread wider than shoulder width. Wrap the other end of the band over your head and around your neck so it forms a V-shape. Slowly bend at the waist and keep your back as straight as possible while doing so. You should feel like you’re sticking your rear end out. Don’t bend your knees while doing this, and don’t strain to look ahead, as this will place unnecessary stress on your neck. Once your back is parallel with the floor, focus on using force from your lower back to straighten yourself so you return to the starting position.

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