A few months ago I started to get insane results with my new back routine. I mixed things up and split my back into two training sessions per week. The first session was for width and involved lat pull downs, pull ups, etc. The second session was for thickness and the key exercise is the seated cable row. I cannot think of a more efficient exercise for getting a thicker back.
Cable rows hit the back in general, but to be more specific, they hit the rear delts, the lower traps, the lats, the rhomboids and the erectors. This exercise hits so many different areas of the back that it is almost a must in any back routine in my opinion. I use it with all my clients regardless of the level they are at.
Executing the Movement
The seated cable row is excellent because it stretches your back as well as allows you to get a very strong squeeze. The execution can be a little tricky, so pay attention to the description I am about to give.
- Attach a bar (close-grip or wide-grip, your choice) to the cable.
- Seat yourself on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the supports in front of you.
- Reach out and grab the bar.
- Push yourself back on the bench so that your knees are slightly bent.
- Explosively pull the weight directly towards your stomach and exaggerate the movement as though you are going to pull through your body.
- When you have pulled the weight as far as it can go, squeeze your back muscles tightly and hold for 2 seconds.
- Slowly lower the weight using a 3 second cadence. Allow the weight to stretch your back.
- Repeat these steps for the duration of the repetitions you are completing.
Keys to Observe
Make sure that you pull the weight towards you explosively, but be sure to stop at the top for that major contraction. The squeeze is going to really tire out the back muscles, so make sure you get a good one. Don't let the weight pull you, control it as you lower it and get a good stretch at the same time.
Using a controlled motion you are going to see major gains in your back. Don't worry too much at first about using really heavy weights. That will come as you perfect the form.