If you want to build broad shoulders, it’s time to add back workouts to your routine. Here are nine effective workouts you can try.
9 Back Workouts for Your Delts and Traps
How Do Back Workouts Affect Your Shoulders?
The muscles around your shoulders are almost always involved with every movement of your arms. This means most back exercises are going to engage your traps and delts. So while you’re building your back with these back workouts, your shoulders are getting broader at the same time.
1. Beginner’s Back Workout
It’s important to start light and take it slow when you’re beginning. You need a basic routine that helps build the solid foundation for a great back and broad shoulders. Start with these back exercises to engage your upper back muscles and try not to add more reps right away if you’re new to this.
- Wide-grip chin-ups (3 sets x 10 reps)
- Narrow-grip chin-ups (3 sets x 10 reps)
- Bent-over barbell row (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Seated cable rows (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Dumbbell shrugs (4 sets x 10 reps)
2. Workout for Your Traps
Your traps extend from the top of your neck and run all the way down your spine. This muscle also extends out to your delts, making it important for building broader shoulders. Trap workouts usually involve exercises that keep your traps contracted during each movement.
- Barbell shrugs (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Upright rows (4 sets x 12 reps)
3. Starter Workout for the Rear Delts
Your deltoid muscle is what covers most of your shoulders, and it’s connected to your traps. Building this muscle increases the definition and mass of your shoulders.
Most exercises you do at the gym target your front and middle delts before your back delts, leaving you with no energy for these back exercises. This back workout focuses on targeting your rear delts first to ensure you give this muscle enough focus.
- Military barbell shoulder press (3 sets x 12 reps)
- Reverse machine fly (3 sets x 12 reps)
- Seated bent-over rear delt raise (3 sets x 12 reps)
Tip: If you need sustained energy during your workout, try a high-quality pre-workout supplement to optimize your performance.
4. Wider Back and Broader Shoulders
A wide back and broad shoulders are much more defined by having a pronounced V-taper. This back workout focuses on refining the top of that V, which includes your upper back muscles and especially your lats. Your lats are located on the sides of your back. Working out these muscles can tighten the area under your armpits all the way to your waist.
- Wide-grip lat pull-down (4 sets x 8 reps)
- Wide-grip Lying T-bar row (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Wide-grip Seat cable rows (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Wide-grip lat pull-down (4 sets x 10 reps)
Tip: Even though all of these exercises require a wide grip, try to avoid going as far as gripping the very end of the pull-down bar. A grip that is too wide won’t keep your lats contracted. Use a palms-away grip for the t-bar row and cable rows, but use a neutral grip for the lat pull-downs.
5. Back Building Workout
There’s no denying that to have wider shoulders, you gotta have a bigger back. Your usual workouts may not be cutting it. It’s time to focus on back exercises that’ll help you build more mass on your back. This means heavy-weighted reps, more sets, and rest times of 90 seconds.
- Narrow-grip chin-ups (5 sets x 10 reps)
- Bent-over barbell row (5 sets x 10 reps)
- T-bar row (5 sets x 10 reps)
- Barbell deadlift (5 sets x 10 reps)
6. Greater Definition Back Workout
If your body is carrying too much fat, muscles all over your body are less detailed, including your upper back. Bulking up is important, but being lean makes the muscles you’re building really stand out.
After all the preliminary workouts to set up the foundations of your upper back muscles, it’s time for a workout to refine them and really bring out those broad shoulders. This means shoulder and back supersets, higher reps, shorter rests, and targeting all the muscles on your back.
- Close-grip front lat pull-down (3 sets x 20 reps)
- Seated cable rows (4 sets x 20 reps)
- Straight-arm pull-down (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Kneeling single-arm high-pulley row (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Wide-grip pull-down behind the neck (4 sets x 15 reps)
- Seated one-arm cable pulley rows (4 sets x 15 reps each arm)
- Dumbbell shrug (4 sets x 20 reps)
- Hyperextensions (4 sets x 15 reps)
7. Workout for Bigger Rear Delts
If you notice your rear delts are lagging behind, it’s time to dedicate a whole workout session just to focus on these muscles. While your chest and shoulder workouts concentrate on the other delts, these back exercises are going to help bulk up your rear delts.
- Standing barbell press behind the neck (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Seated bent-over rear delt raise (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Cable rear delt fly (3 sets x 10 reps)
- Reverse machine flye (3 sets x12 reps)
Tip: Take 60 seconds of rest between sets of the last three exercises. Spend two minutes to rest after each set of the standing barbell press.
8. Stronger Back and Shoulder Workout
Your upper back is a platform for a whole range of exercises. Increasing the strength of these muscles groups can improve your lifting performance. With all that extra progressive overload, you’re going to gain a lot faster with ease.
- Wide grip pull-ups (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Wide grip pull-down (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Long-arm pull-down (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Seated cable row (4 sets x 12 reps)
9. Supersets Back Workout
Supersets are sets where you do all of the sets of two exercises with no rest between them. It’s similar to treating these sets as one, even though each exercise usually targets different muscle groups or have different movements. Supersets are great for fitting more sets during your gym session and it stimulates hypertrophy or muscle growth.
This particular workout has 3 supersets you can with 30 seconds of rest in between. Each exercise targets your upper back muscles such as the delts, lats, and traps.
- Wide grip pull-up (5 sets x 5 reps)
- Hammer-grip pull-up (5 sets x 5 reps)
- Prone dumbbell rows (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Prone dumbbell fly (4 sets x 12 reps)
- Underhand lat pull-down (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Seated cable row (4 sets x 12 reps)
Take EVERTRAIN POST after your workout for muscle repair, decreased inflammation, and reduced recovery time between training sessions:
Back workouts engage a whole range of muscles, including the delts and traps, which are key targets for building broad shoulders. While you’re hitting your upper back, some of these exercises also engage muscles along your arms, abs, and lower back. Try to squeeze in these back workouts during your next gym session!
What other back workouts are a staple in your gym session to get those wide-mile shoulders? Mention them in the comments section below!