Can You Build A Huge Back Without Deadlifts?

We love deadlifts. They are a solid exercise that offers many benefits. However, you should never be a slave no anything or anybody – let alone an exercise.

Question is, can you really develop decent back musculature without doing deadlifts?

The answer is: ‘Sure.’

Serge Nubret had huge back and didn't deadlift. via:;

Serge Nubret had a huge back and didn’t do deadlifts.

What makes one succeed is not just proper exercise selection. The key to progress is putting a lot of effort into the right direction. You may be doing deadlifts all day everyday but if you don’t put some heart into it, nothing is going to happen and you might just as well play a video game.

So, how to build a big back without deadlifts?

1.Do lots of rows


One of the best exercises for the back is the row.

There are lots of variations to choose from and some of the most popular choices would be: barbell rows, T-bar rows, one arm dumbbell rows, wide grip rows…etc.

The row will build thickness in your upper back. Of course, the lats will be hit hard as well.

There is no doubt that heavy rows build big backs.

Note: If you are experiencing lower back pain during barbell rows, check out this post.

Highly recommended article:  How To Do Barbell Rows With Proper Form For Maximum Gains

2.Do lots of pull-ups


The pull-ups will build your lats like nothing else. There are many different variations to choose from depending on your skill level.

The nice thing about pull-ups is that they can be done at home. This can save you time, energy and money.

If you train your back two days a week, you may want to make one of the days a pull-up only day and do enormous amount of pull-ups at home. It will hurt.

3.Do weighted hyper extensions

The deadlift is a solid lower back exercise and while some row variations already target that area, there’s need for some dedicated spinal work. The weighted hyperextension is always a good choice and will directly hit the lower back. Enjoy the pump, if you can!

Recommended read: Can Deadlifts Be Replaced By Weighted Hyperextensions

4.Do front squats

image credit:

image credit:

It may surprise some of you, but the front squat is also a back builder.

Why? Because you have to constantly keep your torso upright while having a heavy barbell on your shoulders.

That develops a very strong set of spinal erectors – especially in the mid back area.

5.Do heavy shrugs

The heavy barbell shrugs will build your traps, especially the upper portion which is hard to target with regular barbell rows. If you are interested in learning more about trap training, read this article dedicated to the subject.

Happy deadlift-less back building!

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