Back Workout Tips for Size (HARDGAINER EDITION!)

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A back workout for hardgainers must do more than just advise you to train heavy. Heavy lifting is important for hardgainers to begin to build muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of back and lats training. In this video, I’m going to show you how important it is to learn how to lift lighter on certain exercises and how to lift heavier on the right back exercises, if you want to start adding serious size fast and width to your lats and upper back.

Before even getting started however, one of the most effective back workout tips I could give anyone (not just a skinny guy looking to add muscle) is to train shirtless. Now of course, this advice is best followed if you are training in the comfort of your own home gym! That said, many hardgainers find themselves in this exact situation because they feel self conscious about going to the gym and training in front of the much larger and more muscular guys.

When you train without a shirt, you not only face your insecurities but you allow yourself a chance to watch your muscles as they work and use the visual feedback to more accurately focus your effort on the muscles you are actually trying to build. Let’s face it, if you are a beginner lifter or are not carrying large amounts of muscle you are likely not mastering the mind muscle connection with the muscles you are trying to develop. You don’t have the “feel” of what the muscle is supposed to feel like that you are training.

Training shirtless allows you to watch the muscle contract and therefore tweak your form to enable a stronger contraction in the target muscles. When you do this, you will be surprised just how much quicker you can get that muscle to respond.

Next, you will want to start with a few back exercise activation tips to help you build a bigger back. The most important thing you can learn how to do is to feel a lat pulldown and perform it with all different grip widths, hand placements and torso positions. By varying the way you perform this movement you will be able to feel the different muscles in your back with each change. Want more of the width to your back then work on the teres major which spreads out under your armpit and gives the illusion of more v taper. Want the upper back to pop more, then lean back and get the bar traveling more towards your sternum.

You will then head to the one armed row exercises where you will have to overcome the number one compensation hardgainers make when training their back (or all other pulling exercises for that matter). The big mistake is getting too much activation of the biceps when the goal is to shift the load to the lats. Stop hammer curling the weights up when you perform this exercise and instead focus on stopping the elbow bend at ninety degrees. From here, move the elbow back behind your body into extension to ensure that the lats are doing the work and the biceps are minimized.

Next you want to see what it’s like to train through failure and not just too failure. The best way to do it is by performing the classic back workout movement the pullup. Use an assistive band to help you get more reps but only after you’ve performed as many unassisted pullups as you can to failure. Some fear that if they can only do a couple reps that it will look embarrassing so they opt for assisted reps from the start. Don’t do this. Go full first and overload with the band.

Finally, heavy weight lifting is important for overloading the muscles of a hardgainer to build more muscle size and strength. We can do that with the barbell dead row exercise shown in the video. Watch how to utilize this compound movement to create more overall load on the lats while letting the legs safely and naturally help this to happen.

The tips shown here are just a few of the best ways to build a bigger back with your back workouts. The complete ATHLEAN-X Training System available at is a step by step 90 day program that will transform your entire body by training you like an athlete.

For more back workout videos and tips on how to get a bigger back and lat size, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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