7 Best Back Workouts for Mass Gains

7 back workouts for mass gains

Your back is the largest muscle in your upper body. And if your goal is mass gains, it’s crucial that you focus more on this powerful, ‘huge’ muscle.

But the problem is that back can be a difficult muscle to grow. This is why many put more effort into their chest, arms, and shoulders, and often put their back on the ‘back’ burner.

Fortunately, I have a solution for you. Below, I’m giving you seven awesome back workouts with proven methods to help you pack on more muscle mass back there!

These are the best back workouts that I’ve done over the years and ones I still do today. I’m confident that these workouts will help you take your back development and overall physique to the next level!

1 – Back Attack Workout

Back 10×10

I call this the ‘back attack’ workout because you’re going to literally be attacking your back muscles from multiple angles. And many of the exercises will be done with different grips to target different areas.

This is an excellent way to ‘beef up’ your back development. With the different grips, you’re going to be using parts of your back muscles you’re not used to working. So you can expect to be sore after this workout!

ExerciseSets x Reps
Close-grip Pulldowns4 x 10
Reverse-grip Barbell Rows4 x 10
Wide-grip Seated Rows3 x 10
T-bar Rows4 x 10
Cable Pullovers3 x 12
Lat Pulldowns3 x 15

*Side note – the name of this workout ‘Back Attack’ was almost a pun as I was thinking about the ‘Zack Attack’ band from the late 80’s-early 90’s TV show Saved By the Bell!

2 – Back for More Workout

If you’re an 80’s metal music fan, then you’ll recognize this name to be inspired by the ‘Back for More’ by Ratt. But there’s a greater reason for the name of this workout…

You’re going to end your workout with the same exercise you started with. You’ll also be doing fewer exercises but with more sets.

This is to really focus on forcing more muscles to be worked with fewer exercises. The sheer volume along is going to make your back fatigued. So as you continue, your back will incorporate more muscles to continue pulling the weight.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell Rows5 x 5*
Seated Rows3 x 8
Lat Pulldowns3 x 8
Barbell Rows5 x 10*

*Use the same (heavy) weight for all 5 sets in the beginning and rest about 2 minutes between those sets. Do the same method for your last round of barbell rows but use a lighter weight that you can do 10 reps with.

3 – German Volume (10×10) Back Workout

plate loaded rows for a massive back

Are you ready for an extreme pump that will result in mass gains? In this back workout, you’re going to be using a variation of the German Volume Training method, also often called ’10×10.’

Now, this isn’t an exact German Volume Training workout; it’s a variation.

You’re essentially doing 10 sets of 10 reps for three different exercises. This is going to do a few things for you:

  • Pump more blood into those muscles
  • Condition your muscles to handle more volume
  • Make your muscles grow
ExerciseSets x Reps
Plate-loaded Rows10 x 10
Lat Pulldowns10 x 10
Seated Rows10 x 10

Here’s a back workout video I created (many years ago) for this workout method. You could actually apply this method to whatever exercises you want. Just make sure you have some sort of row in the beginning, like barbell rows or t-bar rows.

4 – Rows-only Back Workout

There’s nothing that builds mass like doing rows for back. In fact, any type of row exercise, when done right, will work wonders for your physique.

This is an all-row back workout. There are four different types of rows and you’ll be using some alternate grip methods for a couple of the exercises.

I don’t suggest doing this particular workout all the time. But it’s great to throw in like once a month, or even once every other workout. Or you could also do this as a 2nd back workout that week.

You can read more about training muscles twice a week as opposed to just once a week in my post: Training Frequency: Once VS Twice a Week

ExerciseSets x Reps
Dumbbell Rows4 x 10
Barbell Rows4 x 10
Wide-grip Seated Rows4 x 12*
Reverse-grip Barbell Rows4 x 12*

*Do a drop set on the final set, reducing the weight by about 30%.

5 – Heavy Metal Back Workout

There’s a reason why this is called the Heavy Metal Back Workout. You’re going heavy, and it’s all free-weights.

This workout is going to help you pack on both mass and build up your strength. You’ll definitely want to rest 1-2 minutes between all sets (2 minutes between deadlifts, at least).

Make sure you have plenty of energy and are mentally focused before doing this workout. Doing deadlifts and barbell rows in the same workout is no easy task!

ExerciseSets x Reps
Deadlifts4 x 8, 6, 3, 1
Barbell Rows4 x 6
Dumbbell Rows4 x 6
Weighted Pull-ups3 x 6-8*

*Do a drop set on your final set by ditching the weight and using your body weight for the drop.

If you like heavy metal music, then you’ll want to listen to the Heavy Metal Workout album here.

6 – Massive Beast Back Workout

You’re going to focus the majority of your energy on barbell rows, which I can’t reiterate enough how important this exercise is for building your back.

You’ll do an ‘extended pyramid method’ which I explain below the workout. And you’ll follow that up with some standard muscle-building back exercises.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell Rows9 x 12, 10, 8, 5, 5, 5, 8, 10, 12*
Dumbbell Rows4 x 8
Lat Pulldowns4 x 10
Hammer Strength Low Rows4 x 10

*For your first exercise, barbell rows, you’re using the pyramid training method. But this is actually what I call an extended pyramid because you’re going to do multiple sets of the heavy weight that you work up to before going back down.

Here’s a video talking you through this workout. I also share my thoughts on why you should consider training back early in the week. This is from a series called Muscle Talk with Jason.

7 – Back to Basics Back Workout

This is a basic bodybuilding style workout for back. It focuses on simple, basic movements. But these movements are extremely effective as building muscle mass.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to just do a basic workout. However, you will be throwing in some different techniques towards the end, drop sets and rest-pause sets. Those are explained below.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell Rows4 x 6-8
Lat Pulldowns4 x 8
T-bar Rows4 x 10*
Single-arm Seated Rows4 x 12**

*Drop set on final set, reducing the weight by about 30%
**Rest-pause set on final set (resting 10-15 seconds and cranking out another set using the same weight…this is a brutal technique for mass gains)

Why Back is the Most Important Upper Body Muscle

Back is something that many newbies don’t pay enough attention to. And that’s the most crucial time to pay attention to the muscles that are going to make up the ‘bulk’ of your muscles mass, like back and legs.

And even many seasoned lifters don’t do enough for their back. It’s one of those muscles that just get neglected. Partly because your back is not as visible as chest, shoulders, and arms.

Another reason is some it can be a challenge to make your back grow. You really have to put a lot of mental energy into focusing on your back muscles when training them.

The biggest thing you can do to overcome this is to train back twice a week. A great example would be taking two of the workouts above and doing them in the same week.

For example, you could do the ‘Back Attack Workout’ on Monday and the ‘Heavy Metal Back Workout’ on Thursday.

In fact, I have another post that you can read here: Train Back Twice a Week for Ripped Mass Gains

If this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,

Jason