How to get a thicker and wider upper back: Seal rows

Wouldn’t you agree that a wide back is definitely very necessary to compliment that V-taper? It might come to a surprise to some, but a wide back is not due to large latissimus dorsi muscles, but to well-developed teres major. You can do pull-ups or pulldowns till you are blue in the face, but if you’re not targeting the teres major directly, you’ll struggle to get a wide back.

The teres major assists in all back exercises, but if not targeted directly, it can never develop maximally.

The best exercise for the teres major is the seal row.


How to do it

I prefer to use a barbell for this exercise, with a wide grip. A narrower grip will target more of the mid and low traps, where a wide grip will target the teres major directly. Dumbbells are also great, as you can raise the weight higher and get a greater contraction this way. However, one can’t go as heavy when using dumbbells. I prefer to build the mass with barbell and shape and define with dumbbells (doing it with dumbbells with bringing out the definition, separation, and detail in the whole upper back).

First step: Lie on a flat bench, high enough so that your arms can hang straight down on the sides and can grip a barbell with weights on, positioned on the ground – under your upper body, without having to bend your arms. Then lift the weight up until the barbell touches the bench under your chest-line. Arch your back at the top of the movement, and bring your head up, as to look at the ceiling, and raise your legs. This will give the best contraction in your back that you have ever felt.


Do this exercise controlled to keep constant tension on the muscle to give it the greatest opportunity for growth. Do it 1-2 seconds on the upward movement, pause/squeeze for 1 second at the top and lower for 1-2 seconds.

Don’t rush this exercise or jerk it as you will lose the majority of the benefit. Do 5-12 reps on this exercise. If you can’t get that number of sets with the required tempo and concentration, reduce the weight so that you can do it with perfect form and get all the reps with perfect form.

While doing the exercise, visualize the muscle that you are working and how you want it to look and grow. Getting that mind to muscle connection is essential for optimal hypertrophy.

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