In talking with many other lifters who are looking for that thick upper back look, I’m convinced that many people are not seeing the results they want, due to a lack of poundage and overall volume.
In my experience with training to build a bigger set of traps and a thick upper back, heavier weights are the way to go.
Optimally, I’d be Deadlifting once a week, hitting other deadlift variations on another day during the week, and then performing some form of heavy Rack Pull or Shrug that requires lifting straps on another day during the week.
However, my lower back has given me some problems through the last quarter of this year, so I haven’t been able to perform those kinds of lifts with the frequency I’d normally go for.
Instead, I’ve had to switch gears and go very heavy on my “isolation work,” for the upper back, and recently I was able to get some of this work on film to share with you.
In the video below you’ll see the following exercises and suggested volumes if you try them out:
1A – Heavy Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1B – Lighter Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1C – Heavy Dumbbell Shrugs – 10 to 20 reps
On this particular occasion, I used 65lb dumbbells on the first sub-set of Posterior Flies, followed by 35lbs (I think), then immediately went to 120lb Dumbbells for the Shrugs.
Optimally, I follow the Posterior Flies up with heavier Dumbbell Shrugs, especially if I’m working in my own gym with plate-loadable dumbbells, but I had to make due with the light 120-lb dumbbells at the local commercial gym.
I’m convinced, you need to hit these body parts with heavy weight. Optimally, you go with big weights on barbells, but if your back is acting up, you can do some of the stuff I showed you today.
Any questions, please let me know.
All the best in your training.
Build Big Traps, Thick Back and Stronger Shoulders