They say that shows are won from the back. Even if you don't compete having an awesome back is normally high priority because one it looks great, and two because it is a symbol of your hard work and accomplishments.
Can you achieve a bard wide back without the deadlift? Sure. Is it possibly the best back exercise and one of the most important exercises you should be doing on a weekly basis? Absolutely!
The deadlift hits the entire of your posterior chain from your calves all the way to your traps. You'll find after a deadlift day your entire back will be aching that little bit more because it recruits more muscle fibres than anything else. There are variations of the deadlift such as Sumo, if you are not a fan of the traditional stance. Deadlifts are best done at the start of the workout when you are at your most fresh, it is the fast exercise you want your form to get sloppy on.
2. HIT THE BASICS
Other than the deadlift, the other exercises considered as the basics are; Pull Ups, Standing T-Bar Row and the Bent Over Barbell Row. This is of course debatable on who you ask but these exercises will come up in conversations more often than not. The reason for this is because they are proven to add more mass than anything else through multiple body building eras.
Pull Ups are considered one of, if not the best, exercise for back width - i.e engaging the lats. Whether you have to add weight to use an assist Pull Ups should be in all/most of your back workouts.
Standing T-Bar Rows is an exercise where you can usually add a lot of weight and are allowed to cheat a little bit (do not turn it into squats though). This exercise is brilliant at targeting the middle of your back, which when developed will give you that thick dense look.
Bent Over Barbell Rows should be bent over. Not a shrug, they are bent over rows. It has been shown that this exercise like the deadlift recruits many fibres from many muscles in the upper and lower back. If you struggle with form then try them on the Smith machine to get used to it. Equally if you have absolutely destroyed your lower back with deadlifts moments before, it may be a good idea to use the Smith machine or substitute this exercise.
3. Stretch and Squeeze
Like all body parts it is extremely important that you go through the entire movement and make sure you feel the stretch one end and really squeeze your muscles at the other for a second to two. This will help fully activate and fatigue the muscle throughout the set but will also help develop the mind to muscle connection which is crucial for both training and standing on stage. Lastly this will make sure you are pulling from your back not your biceps.
4. Isolate last
There are a huge amount of exercises to train your back, both compound and single joint isolation exercises. When training back use the single joint exercises last in your routine because although they target a specific group effectively, if your goal is to get an overall more impressive back then the basic compounds are king.