The workouts that are most widely used in routines to increase the mass of back muscles are the row, upright row, the deadlift and the pull-up. The row primarily targets the middle back; the upright row focuses on the upper back; the deadlift targets the lower back; and the pull-up focuses on the lateral back muscles.
The row is performed with the back bent at the waist nearly parallel to the floor and a slight bend in the knees. It is important to keep the back straight and the head up while lifting. This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell, but it is not recommended for people with back problems and should be substituted with seated cable rows.
The upright row is performed in a standing position and a straight back. The bar should be gripped slightly less than shoulder width apart. The bar should be raised to just below the chin while remaining close to the body. The elbows should drive the force upward and be positioned higher than the forearms and shoulders at the top of the lift.
To perform a deadlift, stand before a loaded barbell while keeping a straight back and legs at hip width. Bend the knees, and then grasp the bar just outside the width of the shins while keeping the head upright. This lift requires pushing with the legs while simultaneously raising the torso to the upright position. At the top of the lift, the shoulders should be pushed back and the chest pushed out. Repeat by carefully lowering the barbell back to the ground while maintaining proper form. Those with back problems should not perform the deadlift.
A proper pull-up can be performed with a wide, medium or close grip. When pulling the body upward, the chest should be out, and the torso should remain stationary. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles at the top of the pull-up.