How to Widen Your Back (with Images)

Table of contents:

How to Widen Your Back (with Images)
How to Widen Your Back (with Images)

While the back is usually the part of the body that people see last, they are nonetheless important. As no one can see this region when looking in the mirror (at least, not in the same way you can see the abdomen and biceps), it is largely ignored. Still, it's important to develop your musculature. Having a strong back is not only beautiful, it also helps prevent pain and improve posture and performance in everyday activities and sports. If you want to stick with the famous "V", start training using weights and change your eating habits.


Part 1 of 4: Developing the latissimus dorsi muscle

Get a Wider Back Step 1
Get a Wider Back Step 1

Step 1. Set up a weightlifting program

It's not difficult to go to a gym and start lifting weights. Since you have a specific goal - to widen your back - it's nice to put together a sheet that will help you develop those muscles in the best way possible. You can do it all yourself or ask a physical education teacher for help to give you tips for different and effective exercises.

  • Determine how often you want to train. Train each muscle group at least twice a week and add a third day of workout to optimize results. Keep in mind that it's also important to set aside rest days when the body can recover and gain more lean mass.
  • Incorporate seven to eight exercises that work the large and small back muscles to make them wider and more defined. For this you must make very wide movements. Do two sets and vary the number of repetitions over the weeks to optimize your results in power, size, strength and endurance. You can also do unilateral (one-armed) versions of the exercises to gain more localized strength. Finally, rest for 45-60 seconds between each set.
Get a Wider Back Step 2
Get a Wider Back Step 2

Step 2. Combine some back exercises

In technical terms, people with "broad back" have a well-developed latissimus dorsi muscle, which gives them a "V" shape. Combine three or four of the following exercises to work the region.

  • Raise your weight on the bar. This is one of the most effective (and difficult) ways to develop the latissimus dorsi. You can mix some positions and grip to change the effects.
  • Grasp the bar with your hands close or far apart. When you are stable, lift your entire body until your chin is above the equipment.
  • Make some easier alternatives if you don't have as much strength. For example: put a crate under your feet and jump towards the bar until your chin is above it. Then return to the starting position. Do this movement until you feel ready for something more advanced.
Get a Wider Back Step 3
Get a Wider Back Step 3

Step 3. Do the horse stroke with a long bar

Practicing this exercise with the barbell and the machine are different things. In this option, you will lift a bar off the ground while bending your back.

  • Get a gym bar with 15-20 pounds. Put more weight on the tip if you can, or gradually increase it, 2 kg at a time. Start with the accessory in your hands, palms facing your side.
  • Slightly bend your knees and throw your hips back, with your back straight. Suspend your arms toward the floor without locking your elbows. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and use your forearms to lift the bar toward your groin. Stabilize your elbows and torso; stop and tighten your back muscles.
  • Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position and keep repeating the movement until you finish the repetitions.
  • Keep the shoulder blades glued to the back to work the latissimus dorsi. In some cases, you can pre-contract the latissimus dorsi to optimize the exercise effects.
Get a Wider Back Step 4
Get a Wider Back Step 4

Step 4. Make the horizontal pull

This is another form of rowing, ideal for those who cannot lift the bar or prefer to do the exercise in an alternative way.

  • Sit at the puller machine at the gym. You can use several different bars and positions, including the "V" or "W" piece, the longer bars, the strings, and so on. Put on a load that you can pull but is still a little difficult.
  • Sit with your legs and arms slightly bent, your back straight, and your abdomen tight. Then pull the machine handle towards you until your elbows are at a 90° angle to the side of your ribs. Do not pull in too much of a hurry, or it will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Slowly release the cable and return to the starting position to develop the musculature. Keep repeating the movement until finished.
Get a Wider Back Step 5
Get a Wider Back Step 5

Step 5. Make the front or rear handle

Like the barbell exercises, the puller is a very effective exercise for the latissimus dorsi. In it, you must pull the weight from the pulley.

  • Make the knob sitting or standing. Each version of the exercise involves different loads.
  • Sit in the same position as the horizontal handle. Make sure the bar is above your head and hold it with your palms facing forward. Align your shoulders and use the muscles between your shoulder blades so you don't get injured. Contract the latissimus dorsi and pull the bar toward the sternum. If you can't get it all the way down, don't worry: lighten your weight and gradually increase your strength. Return the bar to the starting position and continue until the series ends.
  • Stand in front of the machine with the bar at shoulder height. Put your hands on top of her and retract her shoulder blades. Remember to lighten the load for this exercise. Pull the bar down until you extend your arms, with your elbows slightly bent, while trying to touch your thighs. Control the weight rise as you return to the starting position and continue until you finish the set.
  • Throw your shoulder blades back and down before and during exercise to better work the latissimus dorsi.

Part 2 of 4: Developing the Deltoids

Get a Wider Back Step 7
Get a Wider Back Step 7

Step 1. Work the deltoids

You also have to develop the deltoids (shoulder muscles) to widen your back. Pass through all parts of them: anterior, medial and posterior, as well as the rotator cuff. This can optimize your strength gain and loosen you over time. As with the latissimus dorsi, incorporate three to four of the exercises listed below into your routine.

Get a Wider Back Step 8
Get a Wider Back Step 8

Step 2. Do the dumbbell lift

This is one of the most effective exercises for developing your shoulders. Lift the weights until they touch directly over your head.

  • Use a pair of dumbbells or, if you prefer, a barbell that is a little wider than your shoulders. Load a comfortable but still heavy load. Contract your abdomen, straighten your back, and lift the weights with your arms straight. Return to normal position and continue until the end of the series.
  • Start with a light load and gradually build up as you get stronger, until you complete ten reps with some difficulty.
Get a Wider Back Step 9
Get a Wider Back Step 9

Step 3. Do the side lift with dumbbells and kettlebells

This exercise is also great for working the three parts of the deltoids. Lift the weights with your palms facing the floor. Kettlebells are easier for those who are more used to it.

Hold the weight or kettlebell in a natural position, palms facing inward. Lift the load with your shoulder muscles until they are parallel to your shoulder blades, with your palms facing the floor. If you like, alternate your arms to rest a little between each rep

Get a Wider Back Step 12
Get a Wider Back Step 12

Step 4. Do the side lift lying down

Many people ignore the posterior deltoid, which connects to the back muscle. You can make an inverted crucifix to define the region between the latissimus dorsi and the deltoids.

  • Lie face down on an inclined bench. Raise your arms with the weights as if you were making a crucifix. Leave them parallel to your back and then return to the starting position.
  • This part of your shoulders may not be as strong as the others. Don't be alarmed if you can lift much smaller during exercise.

Part 3 of 4: Developing Other Back Muscles

Get a Wider Back Step 14
Get a Wider Back Step 14

Step 1. Train the rest of the back

You might even want to widen the area, but it's also important to train the other muscles to get to the dream "V" and get everything balanced so you don't get injured. Keep in mind that many latissimus dorsi and deltoid exercises also affect your mid and lower back muscles, but it's also ideal to practice one or two movements specific to them. See some examples:

  • Lumbar extensions.
  • Pendulum exercises.
  • Deadlift.
  • Standing horizontal pull.
Get a Wider Back Step 15
Get a Wider Back Step 15

Step 2. Do aerobic exercises that build your back muscles

Part of the process also involves burning fat and building lean mass. You'll already burn fat and calories by gaining muscle, but adding some aerobic exercise can further streamline the whole process.

  • Do two to four brisk 20-30 minute bouts of aerobic exercise each week. Just don't overdo the amount, or you'll get the opposite effect. Some good examples: swimming, paddling, using the elliptical or a kayak etc.
  • Do HIIT exercises (High Intensity Interval Training) to optimize the benefits of your workout session, for example, keep a brisk pace for one minute and relax for another.

Part 4 of 4: Adapting Lifestyle to Increase Back Muscle Growth

Get a Wider Back Step 16
Get a Wider Back Step 16

Step 1. Take vitamin supplements

Exercising increases blood circulation to the muscles in use. Therefore, it is good to take a vitamin with amino acids and carbohydrates to develop more muscle. Drink a whey protein shake at least half an hour before you start training to optimize the effects.

  • Buy shakes at health food stores. Read the label to see if the product has adequate amounts of amino acids and carbohydrates. You might try to get 6g of protein for every 35g of carbohydrates, for example.
  • Eat a whole grain bread sandwich, turkey breast, and a slice of cottage cheese if you don't want to try any vitamins. This alternative has very similar effects.
Get a Wider Back Step 17
Get a Wider Back Step 17

Step 2. Eat five or six small, nutritious meals a day

Such a habit can help you build muscle, especially if you have a healthy snack like a cup of cottage cheese after your workout. Incorporate different options from each food group (fruits, vegetables and legumes, whole grains, proteins and dairy products) to have the energy needed to obtain the desired effects. You can also add some of the alternatives below to the diet:

  • Beetroot.
  • Brown rice.
  • Orange.
  • Cantaloupe.
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Quinoa.
  • Spinach.
  • Apple.
  • Sprouted whole grain bread.
  • Wheat germ.
  • Chickpea.
  • Lentils.
  • Bean.
  • Linen.
Get a Wider Back Step 18
Get a Wider Back Step 18

Step 3. Increase your protein intake

Proteins help with muscle development. Eat them from wholegrain and lean foods like chicken and dairy products (Greek yoghurt, for example). Some other interesting options for your diet:

  • Organic milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Beef produced on pasture.
  • Nuts and dried fruit butter.
  • Grilled chicken.
  • Bison.
  • Seafood such as scallops.
  • Fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines.
Get a Wider Back Step 19
Get a Wider Back Step 19

Step 4. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is just as important as taking care of your diet to help your body recover and build muscle, as well as improve your workout performance. Try to drink between two and four liters of fluid a day, depending on your activity level.

  • The fruits and vegetables you consume also contain water and are ideal for your diet.
  • Hydrate well before you start training to optimize your performance. Use a water bottle during your workout to replenish lost fluids.
Get a Wider Back Step 20
Get a Wider Back Step 20

Step 5. Get plenty of rest

Everyone needs a good night's sleep to recover from the day's activities, especially when they involve heavy training. It is during rest that muscles recover and grow; if you don't take care of that part, you'll end up sabotaging your own advancement.

Sleep seven to nine hours a night. If you are very tired or even fatigued, take a half-hour nap to relax and recover


  • Consult a physician before embarking on any weight lifting program to see if you are in good health.
  • You can hire a professional personal trainer to learn how to do the exercises correctly.

Popular by topic