T Nation

Back Volume

I’m coming up on wrestling season and I’m looking to add some back strength/size. I find that no matter how much volume I’ve done, my back doesn’t seem to get burned out. It doesn’t hurt or burn and the weights aren’t dropping.

My last back workout was 30-35 balls out sets of compound lifts, starting with 15 sets of bent barbell row. Most were in the 6-10 rep range, many of the sets to failure. This took 1h 15m. Would you guys suggest upping the sets or staying where I am.

Uhh, I think 30-35 sets, with most to failure is on the high end of the high side.

How long have you been doing this much volume? How long have you been in the 6-10 range?

Maybe you would respond better to more frequency and less volume. 15 sets of a single exercise is overkill. You probably got everything possible out of the exercise by the 4th or 5th set.

Give us some specifics on your routine. Also, what does your diet look like? I know you are a wrestler, are you getting enough calories to promote growth? If you are cutting calories to make weight, you will not be able to gain any significant size/strength.

My back doesn’t typically “burn” like other muscle groups, but it certainly gets fatigued and burned out as the workout goes on.

But 35 “balls out” sets? Including 15 of bent over barbell rows?

I do some pretty high volume myself, higher than most of the people on this site, and there’s no way I’d maintain my intensity for over 30 sets of a large muscle group like back without some crystal meth mixed into the workout or something…

If the bent over rows aren’t giving you the results you want within reasonable time, try something else. Do some deadlifts and if your gym has one, try the Hammer Strength Iso-lateral row. Both of those would work the back well in 2 different directions. As far as set/reps, try 5 sets of 10, using the right weight to hit failure right at 10.

If they don’t have the Iso-lateral row, try using a cable lat pulldown, but reclining about 45 degrees and don’t rock with the hips.

[quote]Taquito wrote:
I’m coming up on wrestling season and I’m looking to add some back strength/size. I find that no matter how much volume I’ve done, my back doesn’t seem to get burned out. It doesn’t hurt or burn and the weights aren’t dropping.

My last back workout was 30-35 balls out sets of compound lifts, starting with 15 sets of bent barbell row. Most were in the 6-10 rep range, many of the sets to failure. This took 1h 15m. Would you guys suggest upping the sets or staying where I am.[/quote]

If you were able to do 30 sets they weren’t balls out. Try some weighted pullups and finish with high rep work. Oh and what the hell is burned out?

[quote]Modi wrote:
Give us some specifics on your routine. Also, what does your diet look like? I know you are a wrestler, are you getting enough calories to promote growth? If you are cutting calories to make weight, you will not be able to gain any significant size/strength.[/quote]

I don’t think calories are a problem. Last time I logged (2-3 weeks ago)I was getting 4-5k kcals a day and I’ve stayed eating pretty consistently at that number for about a year (gradually increased). Recently I think I have been eating more, but I’d have to do the math. Once actual wrestling practices start I might have to bump up the cals even more, though. I still have 4 pounds to max out my class.

Currently I train back twice a week. That includes lats, rhomboids,traps, external rotators, and biceps (with the distribution of work in about that order). During the football season I trained 3-4 times a week on a rotating Chest, Back, Legs split with roughly 15 sets per workout. This is my second back workout with anywhere near this volume so I haven’t really had time to overtrain or see any real ill effects. They may become evident with time. I’ve been working in the 6-10 range for…too long. Recently I switched to a little higher reps but I really need to stick with it because I tend to slip down in reps due to preference.

I may have to look at my intensity during a workout like that. The focus was there and I wasn’t getting mentally fatigued. Physically, I realize the weight I was lifting dropped but I seemed to have a similar intensity in pushing myself. I’d note that I said many sets, meaning ~10, to failure and not most. Failure to me is trying to perform another rep with good form and not making it.

[quote]timmwwaa wrote:
Oh and what the hell is burned out?[/quote]

By burned out I either mean perceiving a burn physically or overtraining and noticing the symptoms of that.

Thanks for your help guys and I plan to lower the volume, increase the reps and change up my lifts. I’m starting real deadlifts again, after coming off a hamstring tear a while back, and that should help me out. I do deadlifts when I train legs but that should also kick up the frenquency.

[quote]Taquito wrote:
I’d note that I said many sets, meaning ~10, to failure and not most. Failure to me is trying to perform another rep with good form and not making it.
[/quote]

Taquito, you did start by saying:

“My last back workout was 30-35 balls out sets of compound lifts”

Most people would consider a balls out set as going to failure, and 30+ sets to failure is going to kill most people, that’s why I pointed it out.

It sounds like you know what you need to do, now you just need to apply that knowledge.

Hi,

Just thought I should reiterate what timmwwaa said, as it was hidden at the bottom of this post.

Weighted pull-ups are an excellent exercise for strenghtening your back. Give them a try.

All the best,

-Cloth

Love the weighted pull-ups. They (and other chin variations) were most of my back workout for the last six months or so. I had ditched rows for a while, because I couldn’t support the weight and now that I’m back to them: I think I went a little overboard.

*I try and drop the tough guy exaggerations in future posts. I couldn’t really think of a way to say “I wasn’t just going through the motions” so I went on the high side.

i used to use lower rep ranges for back and experienced some good growth. However, my back BEST responded to some higher rep ranges too (12-15). I would use lighter weight and really focus on my back contracting rather than just moving the weight.

What kind of wrestler are you? Do you go mainly for points/tech falls, or do you go for a hard fast pin?

If you are going for tech falls- train more towards higher volume and endurance, but if you want to overwhelm with explosive strength, throws, and just plain out power most opponents, then train strength.

Most of the lactic acid thresh-hold and endurance training should be taken care of in practice, so training for strength would probably be a safe bet.

It’s my first year (sophmore) so I have no idea. I imagine I would go for pins since I have a lot of strength for my class but I’ve never wrestled so the techniques shotty.