The Back Manifesto: Horizontal Edition


So last week we talked about vertical pulling movements, the pull-up and the chin-up, for a big, strong back. Today we’re going to go over a few horizontal movements for more direct rhomboid and lower trap work, building size and thickness. In my mind, if you perform these moves CORRECTLY and consistently, you will be well on your way to a big, strong back. Let’s stop messing around and get right into it.


First we’ll cover a good body weight exercise. The TRX row is great for anybody who is beginning there back training or a veteran who’s been at it for years. The trick here is to keep your body straight, no butt sagging and no hip swing coming up. Keeping the body straight helps create body control and core stability. Add all of that to the shoulder internal and external rotation and this exercise is a huge band for your buck. Now, not only do you have a great back exercise, you add core stability with the straight body and a little rotator cuff work with the shoulder rotation………….couldn’t ask for much more.



To increase the difficulty simply move your feet further away. Eventually, you can put them on a platform and be completely horizontal. Once that’s too easy, add weight! From body weight to big weight, let’s move on to our next exercise. The bent over barbell row is the ultimate back developing move…….but also one of the hardest to perform.



It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and start piling weight on these and eventually make them look like a glorified shrug. Start small, keep your back, retract your shoulder blades and pull your chest out……and always keep your upper body as parallel as possible. Once you have the form absolutely PERFECT, work the weight up. The weight and reps for these should eventually be step-for-step with your bench (in my case better). If you can’t seem to get this movement down with a barbell, then try a dumbbell, which is the last exercise we’ll cover.



Dumbbell rows, or lawn mowers as we called them in high school, are performed in much the same way as barbell rows….back flat, chest out, parallel to the floor…..but you have a free hand, which is used to stabilize. This move is another one that is easy to screw up with too much jerking, bad shoulder position, not pulling high enough. Get the move down and THEN bump the weight up.


With these three exercises, as well as the moves from the vertical edition, you’ll have that nice “V” shape in no time. Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to leave comment. If you have any other questions shoot me an email at


Spread the Word!

Latest posts by admin (see all)