When it comes to gaining a wider back, most people working out start out by trying various exercises. One of the main back muscles to focus on would be the lat muscles. If you’re intending to build a bigger and stronger back then it is key to activate these lat muscles. That is not to say that your other back muscles are not important, but making your back wider definitely starts with your lat muscles. A particular set of exercises that can be of help for this type of goal are calisthenics exercises. Calisthenics essentially makes use of your own bodyweight as a means to train using various bodyweight exercises. These types of exercises usually don’t make use of any tools or exercise equipment and can be done anywhere, be it outdoors (e.g. the beach, the park) or indoors (e.g. at a gym, at home). What’s more, calisthenics exercises are very good in helping you gain muscle strength. Given that you train using your own bodyweight, you are able to build strong muscles in various areas such as your upper body, back, arms and legs.
Now that we’ve discussed what calisthenics is and what these types of exercises can do for you, let us look into the top calisthenics exercises for getting a wider back.
#1 Wide pull-ups (on pull-up bar and rings)
Wide pull-ups is a perfect calisthenics exercise for getting a wide back. The key characteristic of this exercise is your grip and the width of this on a pull-up bar. To perform this exercise, start by taking a wide grip on the bar and hang freely with both arms extended. Your grip should initially be wider than shoulder width in order to activate you back muscles more throughout the workout. The next step is to try and get your chin just above the bar by pulling yourself up. Try not to use any momentum and take a quick pause before lowering yourself back down to the base position. With our portable pull-up and dip bar you can perform this exercise with 100% flexibility whenever & wherever you want.
Wide grip pull-ups can also be performed on gym rings. To do one, start by making sure that the rings are at the right height so that you’re not touching the floor when working out. Then, simply grab the rings and pull yourself up as you would with a regular ring pull-up. However, make sure that you slowly increase the distance between your arms as you are pulling up. Before going back down, your palms should be facing each together. Make sure you keep your movements controlled and slowly lower yourself back down.
#2 Weighted pull-ups
Unlike regular pull-ups, weighted pull-ups is a variation that uses some exercising equipment. Weighted pull-ups essentially include the usage of weights in your pull-up workout. The first step in this type of pull-up is to add weight to your body such as a weight belt. The general idea is to do regular pull-ups but with an increased amount of bodyweight. You would essentially be working out with additional weight, which would be more challenging. To put a weight belt, kneel down, run a chain through the weight plate and connect it to the belt. Make sure to adjust the tightness of the belt. Once you are ready, simply start with the first set of reps on a pull-up bar. We recommended to start off with light weight plates and increase this as your body adapts. If you are more interested in the benefits of weighted pull-ups than check out our article The Top 10 Benefits of Weighted Pull-Ups
#3 One arm pull-ups (also with band)
To do one arm pull-ups, simply start by grabbing the pull-up bar with both arms and then let one arm go. Place your hand on your other arm’s wrist that’s still on the bar. Proceed by pulling your entire body up using just that one arm and lower yourself back down. A variation of this could be to use a resistance band. Start by looping the band over the bar and grabbing the bar with one hand, with the other hand grabbing the band. Proceed by doing a regular pull up. The band essentially assists you in doing the pull-up with one arm. Please note that you might need to strengthen your arms to perform this exercise so feel free to training prior to taking it on seriously.
#4 Bodyweight row with rings
Doing bodyweight rows with rings is an exercise that can help you build your lat muscles and upper back. To perform this exercise, start by adjusting the rings. The lower you position the rings, the more challenging the exercise gets. For the base position, your body should be straight and the angle between your body and arms should be about 90 degrees. Keep your arms straight with your hands in an overhand grip (back of the hand facing upwards). Your feet should be located underneath the attachment point of the rings. Then, pull your chest to your hands by bending your arms and pulling your elbows backwards. Your elbows should be raised no more than 45 degrees from the body. Once you’ve pulled yourself, lower yourself back to complete a single rep.
#5 Sitting rows with resistance band
A sitting or seated row is an exercise that can be done by making use of resistance bands. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight and clamp one end of the resistance band under the soles of your feet. Then, make sure you grab the other end of the band with your hands (underhand grip) and pull the resistance band towards your belly. Hold briefly and return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
#6 Exercise for a wide back: Deadlift with resistance band
To perform this exercise, step with both feet (about shoulder width) on a resistance band. Squat down and grab both ends with your hands. Then, unbend yourself up to a straight posture, making sure you keep a straight back. Pull the shoulders slightly backwards as you move up and push your hips forward. Lower yourself back down to complete a single rep.
#7 Lying lat row
To do a lying lat row, attach a resistance band by loop at low height to a pillar, tree or post. Lie on your back and grab the band over your head with your arms outstretched. Then, move both stretched arms towards the ground, hold briefly and return to the starting position to complete the exercise.
#8 Front lever row
A front lever row is a very challenging exercise. It is certainly for those looking to do some advanced training, as it requires more strength in your back muscles and biceps relative to doing regular rows. Start by grabbing the rows wit both arms and pull your entire body up to the point that your back is facing the ground with your legs bended and your arms extended. This will be you base position. Then, proceed by bending your arms to pull yourself up. Your legs remain bent, and your upper body stays parallel to the ground. Afterwards, return to starting position in a controlled manner.
To summarize, calisthenics exercises can be an exceptionally good choice if you are looking to build a bigger and wider back. Not only will you be able to increase the size of your back muscles, but you will also build stronger muscles in using calisthenics exercises. The top eight exercises we have covered should provide you with enough training workout to get you some results as you progress. Remember that your grip, control and concentration are all key for making calisthenics exercises work for you.
Are you looking for the right Calisthenics equipment to perform the exercises above? Then check out our premium Calisthenics equipment by Pullup & Dip.
Do you want to do more pull-ups?
Then we recommend you our FREE eBook with the top 23 tips for more pull-ups.