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8 Back Exercises to Build a Bigger Back

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When it comes to getting that classic golden era bodybuilder look, building a well-developed back is a must. Adding the right amount of thickness and width to your back muscles can not only help you develop a more powerful look while giving the appearance of a narrower waist. Unfortunately, many people struggle to maximize their back workouts because they neglect some of the back muscles, overlook some effective exercises, and they choose the wrong weight intensities on some exercises.  

IFBB Pro Sadik Hadzovic is focused this year on making his back grow. We got an all-access look at Sadik and Dr. Michael Camp’s back workout routine to learn from the pro’s on the keys to a successful back day workout. 

Sadik’s Full Back Workout 

  • Warm-Up 
  • Deadlift 
  • Dumbbell Pullover and Pull-Up Superset 
  • Plate-Loaded Pulldown 
  • Machine Row 
  • Behind the Neck Pulldown 
  • Rear Deltoid Fly Machine 
  • Chest-Supported Rear-Delt Flys 

Warm-Up 

We like to start every workout with a little bit of cardio. After cardio, we do some warm-ups, some t-spine mobility work. Then we move straight into “Ys and Ts” on a stability ball. The purpose of these warm-ups is to prime ourselves for the workout by getting our blood flowing to the back muscles. 

The Deadlift

4 x 10 @ a heavy weight 

We like to start out with a compound movement and there is no better movement than the deadlift. The deadlift is the squat of the upper body. We’re going to work up to four sets of ten reps at a heavyweight. We’re really trying to focus on our form for this exercise. 

Pullover & Pull-Up Superset 

3 x 10 - work up in weight 

Now that we activated our nervous system by doing a compound movement, we’re moving into a superset. We’re going to do the old-school dumbbell pullover superset with pull-ups. On this pull-up I use a little assistance from my lower body because I’m fatigued from doing the superset. We’re going to try to work up in weight to really work on that v-taper, stretching out those lats to get that nice shape. 

Plate-Loaded Pulldown 

4 x 10 - work up in weight 

We’re focused on driving our elbows back as far as possible to get the maximum contraction. If you can and you’re not too fatigued, try to hold the weight for one second at the peak of the contraction. We do four sets for this exercise and work our way up in weight. 

Machine Row 

3 x 10 @ a heavy weight  

Nothing fancy here, we’re trying to build up thickness. You know what they say, you’ve got to row if you want to grow. We’re doing three heavy sets for this one. Drive your elbow back and try to contract as much as possible on this exercise. 

Behind the Neck Pulldown 

4 x 10 – work up in weight 

This is a very crucial move for me, I’m trying to build my upper back. What I’m doing here is I’m trying to envision a back double bicep pose. I’m really trying to accentuate my back and contract as much as possible.  

Rear Deltoid Fly Machine 

3 x 10-15 @ a light to moderate weight 


On back days we also like to incorporate rear deltoids. We use the fly machine to bring out those rear deltoids. 

Rear-Delt Flys 

3 x 15 @ light weight  

Finally, we have chest-supported rear-delt flys. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of weight to load up the rear delts because it’s a small muscle. We keep the weight light on this exercise.

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