Dick isn’t a word most want to hear when talking about their fitness goals and progress – unless you try Build an impressive back!
In this case both THICK and WIDE should be your goal!
In previous articles, we showed you ours Favorite exercises for back width.
Today we focus on BACK STRENGTH.
If you want a balanced back, it is important to learn Differentiate between exercises that are best for your back thickness and width…. and do both!
How you do that? It takes a strategy that we’re going to help you with today! If you don’t care about any of this and you just want the exercise CLICK HERE.
Before we dive in, it can be helpful to understand the basic anatomy of your back.
The back is made up of several powerful muscles that are all interconnected – the lats, traps, teres major, rhomboids, and spinal extenders (and that doesn’t even include all of the other muscles in your lower back).
Your back is a KRAFTHAUS with many different muscles, so there will always be some overlap. But if you are strategic with your back workout, there are many ways you can favor certain back muscles over others – which will determine whether you target muscles that are responsible for width or thickness.
TRAINING FOR THICK -VS- WIDTH
Something as simple as setting up an exercise, your grip, your arm movement, your hand placement, how much you lean forward or backward, etc. can all determine which part of your back you are exercising.
We’re focusing on back thickness, so the exercise we’re showing you today prefers the parts of your back that are most responsible for creating density.
Which muscle is that
It actually is pretty much every muscle in your upper and middle back – and even your back delts to some extent!
Tensing muscles like traps, rhomboids, and spinal extenders are touted for developing a thicker back – while isolating your lats, you get a wider back.
Lat density is also important to “fat” though, and your lats will no doubt be hit hard with the row variation we’re showing you today!
HOW TO REBUILD THICKNESS
The best way to achieve density is to incorporate heavy multi-joint compound movements Designed to hit ALL of your upper and middle back muscles!
Deadlifts and Bent Over Rows are great examples – keep it up!
But there is another fat back exercise that most people don’t think about. And this is … The one-armed T-bar range.
It is also often referred to as “The Meadow Row” and less often as “The Perpendicular Landmine Row”.
WHAT’S THE SINGLE-ARM T-BAR RANGE
Dumbbell rows are a back day staple for good reason. They are excellent at building strength and density.
This exercise is very similar to a one-armed dumbbell row, except you use a bar instead of DBs and have both feet on the floor instead of one knee on a bench.
Another important difference is that this row allows for a more pronounced outward elbow movement that hits the upper back even better – while also providing a wider range of motion so you can hit the lats pretty hard too.
This additional “stretch” puts additional strain on the lats and promotes even more muscle damage and growth overall – what you want to do when muscle density is your goal!
Some secondary muscles are also used for this row – like the lower back, abs, biceps, and shoulders. It’s also great for developing grip strength.
Oh .. and the reason it’s sometimes called The Meadow Row is because this movement is said to have been popularized by legendary bodybuilder John Meadows.
Whatever you want to call it – Single Arm T Bar Row, Meadow Row, or Perpendicular Landmine Row, This is undoubtedly one of the best row variations especially if you have “outgrown” the DB selection in your gym. Just read our “Form Tips” below carefully as you DO NOT want to use large 45 pound plates for this exercise!
HOW TO MASTER THE SINGLE ARM T-BAR RANGE
WITH PERFECT SHAPE
We break it down step by step and give you some basic setup and execution tips so you can focus on what you need to do to achieve BACK THICKNESS.
If you’re more of a visual learner or need a little more in-depth help performing this line variation, We shot a short video which you can check out below!
We really recommend you watch first – because remember, one tiny change in arm movement or grip and you could focus on width instead of thickness. Or worse, not even your back!
The set and rep range will vary depending on your fitness level, where you place them in your program, etc. In general, we recommend aiming for 3-5 sets of around 12 repetitions.
- Position a barbell wedged in the corner of a wall (or a land mine tower if your gym has one).
- Load the T-bar / barbell with the desired weight.
- Don’t use large 45 pound plates! Instead, you should use smaller plates so that you can achieve the full range of motion!
- This is really important to this exercise and one of the biggest mistakes we humans make.
- Due to the size of the barbell, you may want to use lifting straps or handles to help relieve wrist pain.
- Your body is not positioned behind the bar as in a typical row. Instead, position yourself in a “staggered stance” with your leading foot perpendicular to the bar.
- Grasp the end of the barbell with the hand opposite your leading foot with an overhand grip. (Example: If your right foot is leading, grasp the bar with your left hand.)
- Rest your right elbow on your thigh for support if needed.
- Experiment with head position to see which works best for you.
- Most prefer to look up slightly. Bend forward, twist your body slightly, and bring the hips of the side you are training up in the air as high as possible so you get a really good stretch!
- Row the weight up, out, and away from your body.
- Stop when your elbow is on (or just behind) the center line of your body and squeeze your upper / middle back firmly!
- Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position (as close to the floor as possible). ** see form tips **
- Repeat for the number of repetitions you want. Switch and do the same number of repetitions on the other side.
- Hold on to your core.
- Do not arch your spine or let your back “rotate”. You want to focus on keeping your back motionless!
- Do not jerk the bar up or use momentum. If this is what you feel you need to … drop the weight!
- Do not let the weight return to the starting position. You want to control the movement from start to finish! ** The eccentric (lowering) part should take TWICE AS LONG as the concentric (lifting) part of the stroke.
- While doing light work on the biceps, try adjusting your grip a little if you feel this movement more in your arms than your back. For example, you may want to use something called a “false grip” – where you DO NOT wrap your thumb around the barbell.
- Let your arm hang down for greater stretch and freedom of movement, but don’t lock the shoulder blade down. ** Because of this, you don’t want to use large 45 pound plates. They are too big and restrict your freedom of movement.
- Don’t forget to breathe !!! Exhale as you lift and inhale as you lower.
– ONLY WITH REGULAR DB ROWS YOU CAN ONLY GET THAT FAR –
If you want to build a thicker (denser) back, try adding this unique row variation to your current back routine!
BUT NOTE …
MeYou can’t just hit the weights hard and expect your back to grow!
Even with a perfectly structured training program that includes many exercises that affect back thickness – Your back will never get the density you want if you don’t eat for your goals!
You need to know your macros and then hit them consistently.
If you want to know what your macros should look like, we have one FREE MACRO CALCULATOR that is part of us FREE BODY TYPE QUIZ.
This quiz will not only help you determine your macros and your calorie needs, it will also tell you the 3 most important things you can do to get in shape faster and easier based on your genetics!
There are just a few questions, it’s free, and your results are instantly available. So if you’re interested, you can CLICK HERE!