3 Best Exercises to Build a Wider Back

3 Best Exercises to Build a Wider Back

Follow these exercises to get a WIDER back!

So, you have been going to the gym for a while or you are just starting out, and you want to know how to get a broad, defined back? Check out these exercises below to build a wider back.

Disclaimer – Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not establish any kind of personal trainer-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from or related to your use of this information. You should consult a physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician prior to starting any workout or nutrition program.

The Issue

You want the following:

  • A broad back
  • A wide back, or
  • You have a job that requires a lot of pulling or lifting motion, and you want to be stronger

The Anatomy of the Back

The Latissimus Dorsi Muscles, or Lats, are the large muscles on both sides of your back, and these muscles are what create the “V-shape.” The Lats are responsible for adduction, extension, and internal rotation of the shoulder. 1

The Insertion Point

Bicipital groove of the Humerus

The Origin

  • Spinous processes of T7 – L5 vertebrae.
  • Iliac crest of sacrum.
  • Thoracolumbar fascia
  •  The inferior angle of the scapula
  • Lower three or four ribs
Grow bigger lats. Fitmanfitness
Insertion Point and Origin’s of Latissumus Dorsi

Follow the fiber of the Back Muscles

As I explain to my clients when trying to build lean muscle, you must remember to follow the muscle fibers. Notice in the illustration above the direction of the fibers. The lat muscle goes from the upper arm and curves down to the lower spinal area. It is really important that you pay attention to the Insertion Point’s, the Origin, and the direction of the muscle fibers.

The Exercises to Build a Wider Back

Warm up and Stretch

Be sure to always warm-up and stretch the back muscles prior to working out. In doing so, you will less likely to pull a muscle.

The Lat Pull down

There is no secret that the lat pulldown is the most common exercise, but you have to make sure you are doing this exercise correctly. When done correctly, this is arguably the best exercises to build a wider back. To perform this exercise, sit down on the bench and grab the bar just out of shoulder-width with your hands over the bar, palms facing away from you. Put your desired weight, but do not use excessive weight on this exercise. Understand that you will build lean muscle by performing the exercise slowly and with a controllable weight.

Lat pull down Wide Back Fitmanfitness.com

Activate your core, put your chest out, and pack your shoulders (Shoulders back and down). With the above illustration in mind, pull the bar down to your upper chest. Make sure that when you lower the weight your elbows go down and towards the sides of your body. This will ensure that you get a full contraction of the muscle. When you raise the weight back up, control the weight, and go slow.

3 Exercises to build a wider back. Fit Man Fitness
3 Best Exercises to Build a Wider Back

The One Arm Pull down with Cables

This is a great exercise for the full contraction of the lats. To begin this exercise, you will need to be using a cable machine or resistance bands. If you don’t have a set of resistance bands, check out this blog post, and get yourself some. Stand in front of the cable machine bent over at the waist, and put the cable to the very top on the machine. Grab the handle with one hand, keep your arm straight, and pull the weight down. Your arm is going to remain straight through the movement.

As you bring it down, bring the handle and your elbow just past your body. That is one rep. Afterward, slowly bring the weight back up to the top and really stretch out your lat. An alternative this exercise is the pulldown with a bar, but I find that you can get a better contraction using a one-arm version since you can bring your arm back past your body.

The Underhand Bent Over Row with a Barbell

Because the muscle fibers of the lats run diagonally, you will want to incorporate exercises that target the fibers both vertically and horizontally. The first two exercises are great for targeting the fibers vertically, and the bent-over row is a great exercise for building width and targeting the muscle fibers horizontally. Put your desired weight on the barbell. Put your feet shoulder-width apart, pick up the weight, and bend over at a 45-degree angle. Grip the bar with your palms facing up and shoulder-width apart. Now, bring the weight up to your rib cage area. Bring the barbell as far as you can and contract the lats. Lower the weight in a controlled manner.

Barbell Row. Great exercise for middle back
Barbell Row


Nutrition is an important part of any workout program, and if you are not taking in the correct amount of proteins, carbs, and fats, you will not see any gains; in turn, you will not grow a wider back.

Go to my free calculator’s page on my website fitmanfitness.com, and input your information. Once you have done that, I suggest going to MyFitnessPal, sign up for a free account, and put in everything you eat for 3 days in the food diary section. You will then need to compare your results from my free calculator to the number of calories you are consuming daily. Please, do this step! As a personal trainer, and someone that has been doing this for a long time, I cannot stress the importance of feeding your body proper nutrition.

In Conclusion

These are the 3 best exercises to build a wider back. By using resistance training, you will definitely build muscle. You must remember to contract the muscle from origin to the insertion point. By doing so, you will build lean muscle. As you progress, you can increase the weight you are using. Use the three exercises, feed your body the correct macronutrients, and you will be on your way to getting a wider back. If you have any further questions, please visit my webpage www.fitmanfitness.com, and contact me.

  1. Wikipedia, “Latissimus Dorsi Muscle.” May 28, 2020

*The information provided on this website is not intended to replace a face-to-face relationship with a qualified health care provider and is not intended as medical advice. The material provided here is for educational and information purposes only. The information contained in this site should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness, disorders, disease, or other health problems. By using this Website, you agree to absolve me of any liability or loss that you or any other person may incur from the use of the information, products, or materials that you request or receive through or on my Website. 

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