This is a back-priority workout, which will definitely boost the development of your back musculature, especially if it is a lacking muscle group for you.
Just to leave a note here, the back is one of the hardest muscle groups to develop, mainly because you can’t see it while it’s working, meaning that you need to dive deep into the mind-muscle connection.
It is also a big muscle group, which therefore requires TONS of weight and repetitions.
The workout is suited for intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
The goal here is to develop the upper and lower back evenly, focusing on both strength and muscle size, without prioritizing any sector of the back musculature.
Rocky pull-ups – 5 sets of 6-8 repetitions
This exercise is done with an overhand grip, as illustrated.
- Grab the bar at shoulder width
- Let your body hang freely
- Pull yourself up, reaching for the bar with your chest and contracting the back musculature
- Hold the contraction briefly and let your body down completely
- Stretch your back at the bottom of the movement and proceed to the next repetition
T-Bar row – 3 sets of 6 repetitions
This next exercise focuses primarily on lower lats thickness, however, with a simple stretch at the bottom it can greatly help you develop a wider back as well.
- Get on the steps and reach down for the bar
- Keep your knees slightly bent and back straight
- Grab the bar and lift the weight off so that it is hanging
- Row the lever up, with your elbows close to the body
- Contract the back musculature and hold the contraction for a split second
- Let the weight go all the way down, without arching your back
- Stretch out your back and proceed to the next repetition
Keep your head looking forward throughout the entire exercise.
Incline bench dumbbell row- 3 sets of 10 repetitions
- Set the bench on an incline angle and drop the dumbbells by the back side of the bench
- Lay face down on the bench comfortably and grab the dumbbells off of the ground
- Without hunching your back, row the dumbbells up and contract the back musculature, holding the contraction briefly
- Let the dumbbells down to stretch out the back
- Proceed to the next repetition
This last exercise of the day one back workout will target the part of the back musculature often referred to as “wings”, which is right by the sides of your ribcage, connecting with the serratus.
- Pick an appropriate, preferably lighter weight, which will allow you to go through the whole range of motion
- Lay down on the side of the bench, on your upper back
- Place your legs forward and close to one another and let your hips go down
- Lift the dumbbell above your head with both hands and bend your elbows slightly
- While avoiding elbow extension (arms are static), let the dumbbell down slowly, stretching your wings
- Lift the dumbbell back up to its initial over-head position
Weighted rocky pull-ups (overhand) – 5 sets of 6-8 repetitions
This exercise is done with an overhand grip, as illustrated.
You can start off with no weight in the first 1-2 sets and after that, proceed to adding some extra weight, using a weight belt or a chain. The rocky pull-ups will help you develop a wider and thicker back musculature.
- Attach the weight belt on your waist and let it hang freely
- Grab the pull-up bar wide and hang freely
- Look up and pull yourself up until your chin is at bar level
- Hold the contraction for a split second
- Go down slowly and fully
Seated cable row (Wide grip) – 3 sets of 8 repetitions
- Replace the conventional V-bar pulley on the cable row with a Lat pulldown bar
- Sit down and grab the bar as wide as possible
- Place your legs on the platform and pull the cable, up to the lower portion of your chest, as illustrated
- Hold the contraction and let the cable down, stretching your back
Vertical lat pull down (narrow grip)- 3 sets of 10 repetitions
- With the wide lat pulldown bar already off, place the V-Bar pulley on the cable.
- Sit down and tuck your legs under the pads, so that you are comfortable
- Grab the pulley with both hands and lift your chest up with your back straight. Lean back just a tad bit
- Pull it down to the lower portion of the chest and contract the back musculature
- After briefly holding the contraction, let the weight down slowly and stretch out the back as much as possible before proceeding to the next repetition
Barbell rack pulls- 3 sets of 10 repetitions
This exercise is a variation of one of the best back exercises, namely- The barbell dead-lift. The difference between conventional dead-lift and rack pulls is that the bar does not go all the way down, hence, excluding the lower portion of the movement, during which the hamstrings and glutes get most of the tension.
Therefore, if you want to solely focus on back development, rack pulls are your go-to dead-lift alternative.
- Load the bar and place it in front of you, but not on the ground. Creating a deficit here can be done by either placing the bar on safety bars in the squat rack, at calf level or on a couple of disks.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width and keep your back straight
- Slightly bend your knees so that the legs are not completely straight
- Lift the weight up slowly and contract the back musculature at the top, without overextending your back
- Let the bar down slowly and proceed to the next repetition.
Try to maintain constant tension on your back musculature- Do not let the bar completely rested on the safety bars/disks until you finish your set.
Barbell shrugs – 5 sets of 12 repetitions
- Load the bar and grab it at shoulder width
- Keep your head up and shrug the bar, contracting your trapezius muscles
- Hold the contraction for a second and let the bar down slowly
You can finish off the workout with a couple of light-weight sets of dumbbell pull-overs and 5-10 minutes of stretching for the back musculature.
The rest time in between Workouts 1 and 2 must be at least 3 days, meaning that if you do the first one on Monday, the second one must be done Thursday afternoon.
Weights used for all of the exercises must be significantly heavy, but not too heavy – You must be able to complete all the exercises correctly, without reaching failure.
Rest times in-between sets are no more than 90 seconds.