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How To Get A Thicker Back – The 5 Best Exercises For Back Thickness

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When training your back for thickness a big mistake is often made because only the lats are taken into consideration for your program. Although the lats are definitely one of the most important parts of your back to train it won’t give you that thickness your looking for, but instead it will give you a wider back. Now if you’re looking for thickness then you must also train your upper back muscles specifically the rear delts, traps and rhomboids.

One way to get faster muscle growth is to improve your mind to muscle connection and one way to improve this connection is by understanding the anatomy of the muscles you are training. So here is the anatomy of your rear delts, traps and rhomboids:

The Upper Back

Rear Delts

The rear delts (posterior head) starts at the bridge of your shoulder blade/scapula and ends up at your arm bone.

Trapsback anatomy

The trapezius is a large superficial muscle that extends from the back of the skull along the neck and all the way to the thorax. It contains 3 distinct smaller muscle groups and these are the upper traps which run from your neck to your clavicle, middle trapezius that run across from the upper/middle back area attaching directly to your scapula and the lower trapezius which goes from the lower/middle back area and then it runs upwards also attaching to your scapula.


The rhomboids are a deep muscle and lie underneath your traps that can only be seen if you’re lean. They run from your thoracic spine down to your scapula and you’ll see it being worked a lot when doing any kind of rowing or horizontal pulling type movement.

Now that you understand what muscles make up the upper back here is a brilliant routine for you to try that will thicken your back like no other, but remember you must also be eating the right foods and getting enough rest to allow the muscles to repair/grow bigger. Ensure you choose the right weight to use when performing these exercises so that you actually feel each part of the upper back working or else you’re just wasting your time.


The king of compound movements and the greatest strength exercise. The deadlift works your lats, lower back, abs, glutes, hamstrings and calves, but it will also provide a lot of work for your entire upper back even though it’s not a conventional upper back exercise.

To start your feet need to be shoulder width apart and your shins need to be close to the bar. Place your hands on the bar just outside of your feet and ensure you keep it even on both sides (use the lines on the bar as a guideline). MAKE SURE your starting posture is you sitting back in to it with your bum stuck out, chest out, shoulders held back and head up. This will help you keep a neutral spine throughout the whole motion. Now drive through your legs first and not your back if you don’t want to injure yourself.

3 Sets 8-10 Reps

2 Minute Rest Inbetween Each Set


Face Pulls

One of the best exercises to isolate the rear delts. Position your hand palm facing inward when holding the 2 ropes, retract your scapula then pull it straight back to the front of your forehead until you end up in the double bicep pose, repeat every rep just like this.

3 Sets 12-15 Reps

1 Minute 30 Second Rest Inbetween Each Set

face pulls

Bent Over Barbell Row

This may be the best rowing exercise ever for your back as it hits the lats, rhomboids, traps, upper back and even the rear delts. Grab the bar just outside of shoulder width and bend over at a 45 degrees angle, now pull the barbell up towards your upper abs. The lower you pull the more the lats will be engaged and the higher you pull (don’t pull anywhere higher than above your upper abs) the more the traps, upper back and rear delts will be engaged.

3 Sets 10-12 Reps

2 Minutes Rest Inbetween Each Set

bent over barbell row

Barbell Shrugs

Go to a squat rack and grip the bar a little bit wider than shoulder width and simply shrug your shoulders all the way up then back down, making sure you feel the traps and rhomboids being worked. Furthermore, please don’t move your neck while performing this exercise or else you could injure yourself really bad, just keep your neck straight throughout the motion. When you start to use heavier weight your grip may suffer if you don’t train your forearms and grip strength often, so using gym straps and wrist wraps will prevent the bar from slipping out of your hands.

3 Sets 12-15 Reps

1 Minute 30 Second Rest Inbetween Each Set

barbell shrugs

T-Bar Row (Close Grip)

This will build massive thickness in the back and hits your lats, traps and rhomboids. Stand with a wide stance and bend over at a 45 degree angle, pull the bar all the way up towards your chest/lower abs and then all the way back down.

3 Sets 10-12 Reps

2 Minutes Rest Inbetween Each Set

t-bar row

To get the most out of this routine it would be best for you to do it twice a week 3 days between each training session. If you have anymore questions about this routine or the upper back then please feel free to leave a comment down below.

8 thoughts on “How To Get A Thicker Back – The 5 Best Exercises For Back Thickness

  1. This is a good reminder to work my back when I’m at the gym. It’s my least favorite body part to work on, so if I miss the gym any given week, it usually the body part that gets skipped over… probably because it’s the least seen. Out of sight out of mind I guess, plus I suck at pull ups 🙁

    I like how you explained how to do each movement with great visuals and that you took the time to explain how to avoid injury as the back seems to be the most common injury you hear about in the gym.

  2. Hi, great tips on how to get better back muscles. I like the fact you have provided an understanding of the anatomy of the back muscles because It’s very easy to just start lifting weights without understanding what muscles they are working. I also like the use of images as they make things clearer and the actual exercise date great too. I will certainly be doing them in my next gym session !

    1. Yes it’s always important to know what muscles your working because many people just go through the motions when doing an exercise, which is why many don’t get the results they want. 

  3. When people talk about working on the back muscles I realised that they are actually working towards making their backs wider, instead of bigger and thicker. Now I know why this is so.

    It’s good to know that there are exercises that we can do to get a thicker back. My shoulders are quite broad already so I don’t intend to make my back any wider, which is why I have always avoided training my back muscles.

    However, thanks to your article Andrew I now know what muscles I should be targeting and how I should be training to get my ideal body shape.

    Very informative guide. Keep it up !

  4. The back isn’t only one of the body’s biggest and strongest body parts, but also the most complicated in terms of it being a series of interconnected muscle groups.

    It’s definitely one of my least favorite areas to work ! and I need motivation to get me going.

    With this guide I have no choice, but to work my back next time I’m in the gym.

    Thanks Andrew !

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