Carving an impressive, thick, wide back should be a priority of yours, especially if you want your physique to mimic the elusive V taper. (If it isn’t, make it one). I’m going to share 3 of my favorite back building exercises with you.

  • Chin-ups
  • T-bar rows
  • Cable rows


The good old chin-up. What’s there to say? It’s a great exercise. I personally prefer chins to pull-ups for a few reasons. The main ones are; stricter form, forcing you to work harder and a longer range of motion allowing you to get a better stretch in the lats.

With chins you’re simply hanging from a bar, pulling yourself up to the point your chin crosses the bar, then lowering yourself back down.

If you’re not strong enough to do them, stand on a chair/stool under the bar, get your chin over the bar from that position and slowly lower yourself back to the ground. (This works the negative phase of the exercise). Eventually you’ll get stronger and be able to do full chins.

If regular chins are too easy, up the ante and slap some weight around that pretty waist of yours and get chinning.

T-bar Rows

I’m not going to go into detail with this one simply because I explained it previously in the article “THE FORGOTTEN FOUR.” All I’m going to say is it’s fantastic for outer back development and thickening your back.

Seated Cable Rows

This is another great exercise for building back thickness. (Yeah it’s a machine, for all those anti-machine individuals).

I like this move, particularly due to the way I can really squeeze my back during the motion.

Just sit your butt down on the seat, keeping your feet stationary either on the ground or against the foot platform if it’s available. Grab the handles. Extend your arms forward and pull the handle toward your abs, focusing on the stretch and really squeezing your back together. Pause for a brief second, before returning to the start.

As of late I’ve been experimenting with a lower volume back routine and a system that I call “AXIS TRAINING.” (In fact the majority of my training nowadays is lower volume).

Coming BACK to the routine, all it simply involves is picking an exercise to hit your back from a vertical and another from a horizontal angle. Pretty damn basic, but effective and brutal. A real back blaster.

You’re probably expecting an example. Well I’m not the type to disappoint.

EX: Vertical Axis (Y)

Weighted chin-ups- 5 sets of 4-8 reps

EX: Horizontal Axis (X)

Cable rows 3 sets of 8-12

(The above is from my own personal routine).

That’s it. That simple. No messing with 4-5 exercises, blitzing the living hell out of one muscle. When it comes to effective training, simplicity is key. Better to pick 2 exercises for one muscle and give them your 100%, than pick 4 and half-ass it at 25%.

It all comes down to not spreading yourself too damn thinly, a mistake that many make when it comes to training. Use that saying, “More isn’t better, better is better” when choosing the number of exercises you’re going to do on a given day.

Anyways, the reason I developed axis training is so that I could hit a muscle group from two very distinct plains. The X or horizontal axis and the Y or vertical axis.

I see people working out all the time, and one thing that just beats me, is how they can keep blasting a given muscle from the same angle with a similar movement. e.g. barbell rows followed by dumbbell rows and one-arm rows.

There’s only a slight variation in the movement, sure it’s targeting a slightly different part of the muscle, but it’s in the exact same plain. All those moves are rows, which work along the horizontal axis, the vertical axis is getting no attention. Same thing, doing pull-ups and moving onto pull-downs, they’re working the same vertical region.

That’s not to say the exercises aren’t good, but you should have a balanced exercise selection, in order to create balanced musculature. If you want to do all those moves that’s fine. Just rotate them around, don’t do them all in one workout.

That’s why I began training according to my own style. This is the way I like to train and how my body responds best. I can hit the muscle from all the angles I want, without going through vast exercise selections. Why run when you can walk, right?

Don’t get the wrong idea and think it’s easy, because it isn’t I put a lot of effort and intensity into it. It’s all business when I’m training.

If your training’s too easy, you’re either doing it wrong or need to adjust your routine. In many cases it’s usually the former.

Your muscles should be on fire, but you shouldn’t feel depleted or exhausted. Your training should amp you up, make you feel like you’re ready to take on the world. You should leave the gym feeling satisfied with your achievement.

Sure, you’ll have bad training days and good ones, just like life is filled with ups and downs. But hey, give it your all every time and in the long run you won’t be disappointed.



As always consult a medical pro before undertaking any exercise regime. 

Your comments are valued. Feel free to drop them below in the comments section.

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  1. Hi! There, its another excellent article and I like this new Axis training system. It makes sense not to over load your self with many exercises. Instead to concentrate on just a few exercises and give them all you got during training to maximise the results.


    • Exactly right. Seems you already grasp the simplicity principle and axis training. No sense in wasting time and more importantly effort on a massive bunch of exercises. Pick a few solid ones and work on getting the max benefit out of them.

      Save your sweat for the ones that count and give you the biggest bang for your buck. It’s not just about training hard, it’s about training smart.

  2. Another great, insightful article. The Axis training sounds interesting. I like simplicity too when it comes to training. As you say, there’s no point in hammering a body part with 4-5 exercises if 2 will get the job done.

    In fact when you do too many exercises for a particular muscle group, you dilute the effort that you’re putting in. Great article, awesome back.

    • Glad to hear you like it. Yep, simplicity is definitely important when it comes to exercise selection. I usually do 2 moves per muscle nowadays. It works really well for me and the focus and effort I can put in is higher than if I was doing 4 or 5.

  3. This will be my back routine after I get up to my sick bed! I used to remember some fellas in my gym asking why I always train my back and less on my chest. Well I just really love working on my back I train it 4X a week, I emphasize my back training because there are many muscles on it. And training my back gave me a drastic results on my weight loss.

    Anyway another great article from you brother I really like it more information on my favorite body parts!

    • You know that’s another training crisis you’ve highlighted right there brother. People tend to focus a lot on their show muscles, or the ones they can see. Namely biceps and chest. Nothing wrong with that, but you shouldn’t neglect other muscles, that’s how imbalances happen, which can lead on to unnecessary and totally avoidable injuries.

      I look at the body as a complete unit. Everything has to work in harmony with each other. The back is sometimes neglected or doesn’t receive the focus it deserves and should because people can’t see themselves when they’re training it.

      Plus a well developed back looks phenomenal, it even makes your front appear more impressive. If you’re striving to create balanced musculature, you have to work your body as a whole and not ignore muscles just because you don’t like training them.

      The back’s also the second largest muscle group in the whole body, second only to the legs. So it makes sense to give them attention.

      Great points brother, Get well soon, so you can tear it up again in the gym.

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