High Volume Back Workout for Mass Gains

by Jason Stallworth

February 27, 2020

The one muscle that many have a hard time growing is back. That’s because your back is a large complex muscle, and it needs special attention to grow.

You can’t train your back like the rest of your upper body. If you do you’ll only get mediocre results.

If you want to build a massive back you’ll need more overall training volume. And I’m going to show you exactly what to do in the high volume back workout for mass gains below.

You’ll also learn about some tips and tricks to make your back workouts more effective.

Why Your Back Needs More Volume to Grow

lat pulldowns for huge and ripped back

Before we jump into the high volume back workout let’s dig a little deeper into why your back needs more training volume. Here’s a list of those reasons:

  • Your back is your largest upper body muscle (just a few sets isn’t going to cut it for buiding a big back)
  • Your back is a complex muscle group which will more exercises to hit all angles
  • Back is a tough muscle to grow for many (this is mainly because many train back like they do chest or shoulders)
  • You can’t see your back muscles (like your chest) when you’re in the gym so there’s isn’t as much visual motivation

Training back needs a similar approach to leg training; your workouts need to be brutal, intense, but also more overall volume. I mention this because like back, legs are also a difficult muscle to grow for many.

**When you finish this post, I have a similar post to help you build bigger legs here: High Reps (and Volume) for Bigger Legs

Why Shorter Workouts May Not Build Your Back (as much)

Now, before I get into this, there’s a case for short, intense workouts. The biggest is people’s lack of time (or committment) to workout!

That’s a half-assed joke. Shorter workouts do have their place. But if you’re serious about building a huge, thick, wide and massive back, short workouts aren’t going to cut it.


Again, your back is a complex muscle made up of several muscles. There’s just no way you’re going to fully train your back in its entirety with a short workout.

Secondly, remember, your back is a large muscle group (and your largest upper body muscle). You’re not going to exhaust your back muscles completely with just a few sets, no matter how intense your workout is.

You need pump more blood into your back muscles during your workout. And that only comes from doing multiple exercises with more sets and reps.

More volume is going to be required if you’re serious about mass gains for your back.

**For better pumps, read my post: Jason’s Recommended Pre-Workout (4 Gauge)

High Volume Back Workout

Barbell Rows back exercises for bodybuilding mass

Now it’s time to slam your pre-workout drink and get ready for your high volume back workout!

I’ll give you the workout below. But make sure you keep reading because I’m going to expand on the back exercises.

Here are some important notes about this back workout for mass gains:

  • Make sure you have a solid meal in you 1-2 hours before your workout (this may be different if you train early mornings like I do, in which I train on an empty stomach at that time; I’m not suggesting this, it’s simply what I do and works for me).
  • Take some sort of pre-workout supplement that’s going to give you not only the energy but also the mental focus; you can read about my cheap pre-workout alternatives here.
  • Make sure your body is well-rested.
  • Have your post workout meal/shake planned ahead of time so that you can chug that within 30 minutes after your back workout is finished; post workout recovery is crucial with these brutal workouts.

The Workout

ExerciseSets x Reps
Lat Pulldowns3 x 10
Barbell Rows4 x 6-8
Dumbbell Rows4 x 6-8
Wide-grip Seated Rows4 x 10
Close-grip Lat Pulldowns4 x 10
Hammer Strength High Rows3 x 12
Cable Pullovers3 x 15

Workout Notes:

– Your first exercise (lat pulldowns) is just warm up your back muscles; don’t go all out on these. Just do about 50% of your max.

– The next 2 exercises, barbell and dumbbell rows, are meant to be hard and heavy. Do about 8 reps on the first 2 sets and the last 2 sets, 6 reps (you should be struggling to get those last few reps).

– Rest about a minute between your sets of barbell rows and dumbbell rows.

– For all exercises thereafter, rest about 45 second until you get to the last exercise, cable pullovers; only rest 30 seconds between those sets.

– Use controlled reps and full range of motion for all back exercises. The reps do not have to be super slow but make sure you’re forcing your muscles to do the work. For more on that, read this post: 3 Powerful Tips to Make Your Back Muscles Stand Out.

Back Exercises for Mass Gains Explained

Hammer Strength high rows

Now let’s go more in depth with the back exercises you’re doing in this workout and why each is perfect for mass gains.

Lat Pulldowns

Lat pulldowns is one of the staple exercises for back because it targets those muscles that stick out, giving you that wide look. It’s also a great exercise to warm up with before jumping into heavier weights.

Barbell Rows

If you were to ask me what it’s the single best exercise for building a thick and wide back, and overall muscle mass, I’d tell witihout hesitation barbell rows.

Row heavy, but not so heavy that you sacrifice form. You really need that full range of motion and control every single rep, forcing your back muscles to work overtime!

Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell rows are an excellent mass builder for your back. The reason is you can get an awesome range of motion and muscle contraction with some heavy weight. Like barbell rows, control those reps!

Wide-grip Seated Rows

Seated rows are great for building and shaping your back muscles but you may find that you get a better contraction doing them with a wider grip. Wide-grip seated rows allows you to get a better squeeze at the peak of the rep.
*You can alternate regular and wide grips every other workout.

Close-grip Pulldowns

Close grip pulldowns will help target those muscles down the middle of your back. You can also get a deeper range of motion with these, especially at the beginning of the rep where your arms are stretched out.

Hammer Strength High Rows

Any Hammer Strength machine for back is going to help you build a bigger back. But the high rows especially because they hit almost every angle of your back with just one exercise.

This is due to the curvature that’s in the pulling motion. You start with a high grip, which you’ll use your lower lats to begin the pull. But as you pull the handles down your other back muscles start working.

Cable Pullovers

Cable pullovers is an often forgotten back exercise. But it’s a great way to end your back workout and give your muscles that final pump.

Higher reps work really well for cable pullovers and you’ll feel more blood pumping into your back muscles. You should walk away feeling thicker and wider after doing these.

**For better pumps and mass gains, check out my recommended test booster here: Jason’s Recommended Testosterone Booster.

Volume: The Difference Between Building a Huge Back VS Mediocre Back

This back workout may seem like overtraining to some. But volume is the core difference between having a huge, massive back and just a mediocre back.

Now, if you’re truly pressed for time in the gym there is another option. Train your back twice a week. In fact, I recommend doing that anyway.

You could do the above back workout on your main back day. And then 3-4 days later do a short, lighter back workout just to get a pump. That’s a nice recipe for mass gains.

If you’d like more back workout ideas and tips on how to train back twice a week, read my post: Training Back Twice a Week for Ripped Mass (Full Workout Routine).

By now you’re probably getting ready to hit the gym and do this workout! I hope you enjoyed reading this and that it helps you!

Please feel free to share this post on your social media!

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


TestoFIERCE test booster

Are You Ready to Make Real Gains?

TestoFierce is the first science-based testosterone booster designed to give you better workouts, more muscles growth, and faster gains. 

Click the button below to learn more.