I have been lifting for over 30 years now and this has to be some of the best advice I have seen in a mainstream muscle mag.
"I am trying to bring up my back on width and thickness. What type of exercises should I be doing?"
Answer by Hany Rambod:
For back width, nothing beats pull ups. Lat pulldowns are a good exercise, but they simply don't compare to pull ups, which are far more difficult and thus more productive. For back thickness, it's all about various free weight rows. (snipped). Deadlifts can also be a valuable tool for building a thicker back, but only when done with proper form. I've seen many bodybuilders injure their lower backs because they simply didn't know how to do the exercise correctly, and made common mistakes such as rounding the back.
Everyone who wants to add deadlifts to their back program should seek out an experienced trainer who can teach them proper technique. With that done a comprehensive back routine would include pull-ups, some type of barbell or dumbbell row, lat pulldowns, perhaps cable or machine rows, and deadlifts.
My one tweak is the free weight aspect of rows should be replaced by the many excellent back supported rowing machines out there. Protect that lower back!
What he states on deadlifts is spot on. Deadlifts done improperly can wreck you big time. Rounding the back and "parachuting" the deadlift will wreck you long term as well. Well, the majority of people that is.