Building a massive back requires you to work your muscle from three main angles.

Vertical Plane-Pulling Up

Deadlifts: If squats are the king of exercises to build muscle, deadlifts are a close second. This is primarily a back movement but it builds your traps, lower back, hamstrings, and calves. Many people avoid deadlifts due to fear of injury. However, like most exercises, they are safe if you utilize good form. Rackpulls can be substituted if you want to work on the back alone. Set the bar at knee height and pull from there.

Horizontal Plane

Bent Over Rows: Bent over rows hit your lats and upper back. These are performed by bending over with a barbell and pulling the weight to your abdomen or sternum. The lower back must stay tight to avoid injury. These are horizontal rowing movements because they are pulled perpendicular to your body. Horizontal movements promote back thickness. You need these to balance out horizontal push movements such as the bench press. Other horizontal rowing movements are bent over dumbbell rows, machine rows, T-bar rows, and cable rows.

Vertical Plane – Pulling Down
Chin ups/Pull ups: This is a vertical pulling exercise where you are pulling yourself up to a bar above your head. Unlike the horizontal pulling exercises, pulling down focuses on lat width. This is a very effective exercise but the main disadvantage is that not too many people are strong enough to perform the repetitions needed to stimulate muscle growth. If you can’t do a single pull up, you can use the assisted pull up machine or put your feet on a bench or chair and just use a little assistance with your legs until you build up some strength. Other simalar exercises are lat pull downs and inverted rows.

These are exercises to build muscle in your back. Be sure to work horizonal and both vertical directions for a complete back workout.