How to Get a Ripped Back

Two Methods:Building Back MuscleShedding Back Fat

Getting a ripped back is less intuitive than training your arms or legs. You can't use or lift with the back directly, so you need to do arm and leg exercises that trigger the muscles on your back. Like any kind of bodybuilding, any real progress takes time. Fortunately, with the right kind of determination, a ripped back will be yours. It's a great look on anyone, and will help transform the look of your body.

Method 1
Building Back Muscle

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    Join a gym. If you are fresh to muscle training, joining a gym may seem daunting. Although it may be an easy thing to talk yourself out of, with the right sort of determination, you can benefit a great deal from going to a gym. It's a lot easier to feel motivated when exercising around other people, and the machines at a gym will ensure a well-balanced workout.[1]
    • Don't let your pride get in the way of going to a gym. Everyone there was probably at the point you're at currently, and there's a good chance the other people there will want to help you meet your goals.[2]
    • Gyms can be expensive. A lot of the same workouts can be done at home instead if you don't have the money to invest in it.
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    Narrow down your exercises. Back muscles are harder to target than others, because you essentially train them indirectly via arm exercises. Not all arm exercises target the back. Some, like bench presses, have an impact on the chest instead.[3] Before you invest the energy in a workout, make sure the exercises will target your back muscles.
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    Do bent-over barbell rows. If you arch your back while lifting a heavy weight, it will put a desired pressure on your back muscles. Lift a barbell set that works out your muscles, and see how many reps you can work into a routine. Don't lift weights that are too heavy for you. Be patient. If you overextend yourself, you'll only hurt yourself with the time you have to set aside due to injury.[4]
    • Wear a weight-lifting belt to prevent injury.[5]
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    Follow up with push-ups. Push-ups are seen primarily as an arm and chest exercise, but it does have an effect on your back muscles.[6] Set an amount of reps for yourself and follow through with them, increasing it slightly with each workout you do. Remember: a solid push-up is worth more than ten botched push-ups. Get a trainer to make sure your back is straight if you're not sure.
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    Dive into rowing machine workouts. Rowing machines are arguably the best exercise tool to work out your back.[7] It's a relatively fun exercise to pull off, and it's easy to get a good momentum built up. Aim for long rows rather than short ones. This will maximize the effect it has on your back.
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    Work pull-ups into your routine. Pull-ups are one of the best exercises for back growth. They're also very difficult however, particularly if you're not used to doing them. Using a pull-up bar, pull yourself up overhand, with your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your head is at the level of the bar, then lower yourself slowly.[8] Do as many of these reps as you can, and slowly try to improve your reps over the course of workouts.
    • Pull-up bars are obviously found at gyms, but you can also purchase pull-up bars to use at home. There are also pull-up bars found in some public parks.
    • Pull-ups may be very difficult at first, even impossible. You will find yourself getting better fast however.[9]
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    Change your routine over time. It stands true for any kind of muscle growth: You need to adjust your workout over time to keep your body stimulated by the workouts. Assuming your workouts are regular, you may "plateau" in as short a time as a month.[10]
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    Make sure to get enough sleep. Getting good, proper sleep is essential if you want to encourage muscle growth. While some may skimp out on sleep in lieu of more training, progress will slow to a halt that way. Muscles actually grow while you are sleeping, so make sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to maximize your gains.[11]
    • A lack of sleep can also cause you to eat more, which may add to a weight issue.[12]
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    Stay determined. Those who see the best muscle gains are the ones who approach it with a clear head and good attitude. You should feel as excited about it weeks in as you are at the start. Consistency is key. Don't let your motivation wane after the first few workouts. Progress will come to those who keep their eyes on the prize the whole way through.

Method 2
Shedding Back Fat

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    Make an effort to lose fat in general. Being ripped doesn't just mean having a lot of muscle. It also means keeping your fat content low. Muscle definition occurs when the muscle is seen through the fat. If you want a ripped back and have any excess weight, you need to shed fat in tandem with your muscle building. Although some say you can make yourself lose weight in specific areas with exercise, this has been disproven.[13] The only way you can lose back fat is by targeting fat as a whole.
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    Aim for a half hour of exercise daily. Even on the days where you're not training your back, it's recommended you get a half hour's worth of physical exercise.[14] Your back training can count towards this number but you should try other things, like cardio, in the days you take for breaks.
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    Go for a run. Running is arguably the go-to exercise for losing weight.[15] It's convenient, it's time-efficient, and the "runner's high" many runners report feeling becomes an incentive to make a habit of it. On the days you're not focusing on your muscles, give running a shot.
    • While treadmills at the gym are an option, it's recommended you take your running outside. Running outside is generally more enjoyable, and the exposure to sunlight will improve your mood.
    • Swimming is arguably even more effective when it comes to weight loss, but it may not be as convenient an option for you.
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    Drink lots of water. Drinking water should be made a priority if you want to improve your body.[16] It makes sure your muscles are properly hydrated while you workout. It's also an important aspect of losing weight. Drinking water will give you a greater feeling of fullness, and you won't replace that with "empty calories" such as soda. Keep a refillable bottle of water around with you and refill it when it runs empty.
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    Try out a whole foods diet. It shouldn't be a surprise that nutrition and dieting plays into a fitness regimen. Cut out empty calories and processed foods. Replace them with leafy greens and legumes.[17] Red meats can be eaten as a source of protein, but you can get the same protein from various kinds of beans.[18]
    • Athletes may nonetheless want to stock up on carbohydrates before a workout, as this will give energy for the exercise ahead.
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    Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol consumption can be very enjoyable, but from the context of working out and trimming fat, it will work against you. Alcohol tends to be very calorie-rich, and habitual use will have a negative impact on your gut.[19] Alcohol also negatively affects your workout routines. If your body is trying to fight off the effects of liquor, it won't be able to focus on building new muscle.


  • The best muscle results come from a well-balanced training regimen. Your progress will slow down if you focus on one muscle group exclusively.
  • Even if a ripped back is your end goal, you may find exercise is a reward unto itself. Benefits of exercise include improved mood and increased energy throughout your day.[20]


  • Don't get too worked up about the back in particular. A ripped aesthetic comes from the body as a whole, not just your back.

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Categories: Building Muscle & Strength