Back Workout

Our back is the biggest muscle group after legs. Huge lats is the locomotive that drives all other muscles to new developments.

Back is the big and power muscle group and that is why your back workout needs compound power exercises. I speak about rows first of all. Everybody who want perform good back workout have to include in training session such row exercises as:

Best back exercises

Barbell Rows (main back exercise)

Pull Ups (Pull Downs) (for lats width)

Cable Rows (for lats thickness)

One Dumbbell Row (left and right emphasize)

Deadlifts (huge total compound exercise)

For good back workout is very important correct performance technique. All rows are compound exercises and isolate back is not easy, that is why remember: Do not work with heavy weights until your technique became excellent.

How make excellent rows technique?

Quite easy. You have to remember about only two rules during back workout:

  1. Use only back when perform rows. (Forget about arms. Working muscle is back)
  2. Your back should be straight in all rows. It will help you to follow the first rule.

It is very important to involve only back in workout. Your biceps should not work. For this reason you can imagine that your have arm – cables ended with hooks. Another idea is to imagine that your arms ended with elbows (it will help you switch off your biceps).

Back Workout Routine

Back workout routine is good to begin with Barbell Rows or Pull Ups. This power exercises are good ones for beginners and advanced bodybuilders. There is only one more compound exercise for back. It is barbell deadlifts but I recommend finish your back workout by this back exercise because of its hardness. It exhaust energy and you would not be able to perform rows if do deadlifts first.

First time, when you just begin muscle building, your have to perform only one or two exercises for back workout. Barbell Rows or Pull Ups if you have not barbell (e.g. workout at home)

Back workut routine for beginners

Barbell Rows 2 warm ups (10 – 15 reps with light weights) + 3 working sets (6 – 10 reps)

Pull Ups 4 working sets for maximum reps.

After two –three months you can add second exercise and Deadlifts your back workout routine would be look like this:

Back workut routine (pre – intermediata level)
Routine # 1
Barbell Rows Pull UpsDeadlifts 2 warm ups + 4 X (6-10) 4 X (6-10) 2 warm ups + 2 X (6-10)
Routine # 2
Barbell RowsPull DownsDeadlifts 2 warm ups + 4 X (6-10) 4 X (6-10) 2 warm ups + 2 X (6-10)

Next level is for intermediate bodybuilders. You use 4-5 exercises for back workout and must have mach more rest for recuperation.

Your back workout routine can look like this:

Back workut routines ( intermediata level)
Routine # 1
Barbell RowsCable Lat Pull-downhammer strength rows

Cable Rows

Dumbbell Shrugs

2 warm ups + 4 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)
3 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)

Routine # 2
Pull-upsBarbell RowsCable Rows


4 X (6-10)1 warm up +3 X (6-10) 3 X (6-10)

2 warm ups +3 X (6-10)

Routine # 3
Barbell RowsCable RowsCable Lat Pull-down

hammer strength rows


2 warm ups + 4 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)
3 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)

2 warm ups +3 X (6-10)

Routine # 4
T-bar rowsCable Lat Pull-downhammer strength rows

Barbell Shrugs

2 warm ups + 4 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)
3 X (6-10)

3 X (6-10)


Here come some concrete ideas about the factors hindering back workout:

‘Short amplitude’: one and all exercises require maximum amplitude! Scanty shorted movements are not fit for such noble task as back training; it requires only complete extension and maximum contraction of working muscles! Generally speaking, exercises for back are to be performed smoothly, without jerks and shoves.

‘Biceps row’: try to lift weights with your back but not with your arms. Possibly you could read about necessity to imagine your arms to be just cables with hooks that you use to pull trainings weights when performing such exercises. The main secret of success here is to provide maximum mobility of shoulder joint: when you lower a weight you need to move your shoulders forward and arch your back just a bit; and when you lift a weight you need to move them backward as far as possible and move your chest forward. Such technique is used for both horizontal and vertical rows.

‘Deadlifts in the beginning of back training’: don’t’ perform Barbell Deadlifts before Bent over Barbell Rows because it’s a rather power-intensive exercise that loads the lower back too heavily. After such intensive loads it will be very problematic to perform a bent over row exercise with substantial weights and correct performance technique.

‘Back is parallel to the floor’ when performing Bent Over Barbell Rows: I believe that such technique makes this exercise performance unreasonably difficult because it overloads your lower back. It’s much better to follow the example of professionals and hold your back at the angle of 70° against the floor.

‘Incorrect emphases on certain areas’: if you want to train sufficiently the area of back situated between shoulder blades you need to lift the barbell to your chest; and you need to use a wide type of grip, by the way. And on the contrary, if your aim is the lower part of the broadest muscles of back – you need to use a middle grip and lift the barbell to your belly. It’s advisable to contract the broadest muscles of back by means of an additional effort in the upper movement point. The same can be done with Bent Over Dumbbell Rows: in this case the emphasized load on the lower part of broadest muscles of back is achieved by lifting a dumbbell to the hip joint.

‘Incorrect cable rows’: when performing Pulldowns with both close and wide grips try to pull the bar of an exercise machine not to your neck but to the lower part of your chest: in this case the effect will be much better.

Pulldowns behind the head develop mostly not the width of your back but definition of its middle part (the lower part of the broadest muscles of back). Pulldowns to the chest with the help of a close (parallel or reverse) grip develop width and thickness of the upper part of broadest muscles of back.

‘Neglect of Pull-Ups’: Pull-Ups to the front and to the back are important because they are able to move your shoulder blades sideways and increase the torso width due to this. Pull-Ups render heavier loads than pulldowns but it’s easier to assure correctness of an exercise performance when working with a pulldown machine.

‘Pullovers don’t develop our back’: dumbbell and cable pullovers don’t build our back but they put an emphasis on toothed muscles that, being a kind of ligament between muscles of chest and back, visually increase the width of your torso (especially when obtaining the ‘front double biceps’ pose).

‘Importance of grip’: working loads concentrate in certain areas of your back depending on the way you grip the bar when working with a pulldown machine. If you use a wide grip the load will fall on inner areas of your back; if you use a close grip – on outer ones. The best variant for training the lower part of the broadest muscles of back is quite a close grip (reverse) of a horizontal bar.

If the strength of your grip is not enough to perform exercises correctly you can use special straps. By the way, if you hold the bar with the help of straps it’s much simpler, as I see it, to exclude your arms from the work that’s being performed.

‘Shoulder rotation when performing shrugs leads to injuries’: when performing such dangerous exercises as shrugs with a barbell or dumbbells you need to move your shoulders only up and down. No amateurish performance (like shoulder rotation) is allowed! Try to perform shrugs in the most correct way, without jerks; otherwise you’ll train not trapezius muscles but only calves for quite a long time.

‘ belt for rows’: it’s obligatory to use a security belt for such difficult exercises as Deadlifts and Bent Over Barbell Rows; otherwise you risk getting your back injured. Don’t forget to loose the belt during rest intervals.

‘Crooked back’: it’s extremely important to keep your back straight for all types of rows; otherwise your muscles will work in a weaker, unnatural regime. In addition, a curved back can become the reason of a serious injury.

Back is very big muscle group and that is why it is power one and easy to develop. For great back workout you have to follow only a few rules I wrote above.

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