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Big Back - Two Days/Week?

Anyone do two different back days in a week? I’m thinking of doing a day for width (pull ups, pull downs, pullovers, etc) and a day for mass (rows rows rows). Deadlifts hit my spinal erectors really well, I think this might be due to genetics – they’ve grown almost to the point where they look out of place in relation to the rest of my back. I have trouble really targeting my lats and upper back. Here’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks:

Deadlift 4x6-10
Pull up 4x4-8
Barbell row 3x8-12
Lat pull down 4x8-12
Iso-lateral row 4x10-15

And yeah, even typing it out now, it hardly seems like enough. Thinking of adding some dumbbell rows and pullovers to start, and wondering what else I can do. Any advice is much appreciated.

It is very common for bodybuilders to split their back workout into a horizontal movement workout and a vertical movement workout. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re still able to recover from it.

That being said, vertical movements don’t make the back grow wider and horizontal movements don’t make the back grow thicker. They both do both; a muscle doesn’t grown in a particular direction, it just grows.

So, if you feel like you’re just not getting enough work in with one workout a week, you could do two back workouts each week and simply vary the exercises or vary their order.

The minimum my back needs to grow is around three days a week. Doesn’t have to be super high volume, but three to five sets of one or two rows or pulls in either plane three to four days a week along with one taxing deadlift session is golden for me.

How strong are you in those lifts?

Eh, not very. I’m realizing that my back is kinda weak. My deadlift is at 225, barbell row 95, lat pull 100, lateral row 65 each side. Then goal is to eventually do weighted pull ups, but I’m not to a point where I’m repping 4x8 with good form and tempo to merit adding any weight.

Worrying about how many back workouts per week at this stage is kind of pointless, but working it more than once a week spreading out the volume like mark said works good. Anyways, With a 225 deadlift you need to focus on getting stronger and watch your back grow. Going from rowing 95 to 225 for reps, you’ll have alot more mass. Mind muscle connection and technique is important as well.

17 sets of back work is plenty enough,don’t get caught up in the stigma of endless sets in a workout. As they say, less is more.

I don’t see the point in doing Deadlifts, barbell rows, one arm dumbell rows all in the same workout. Thats most likely the cause of your erectors mainly growing and not being able to target your lats or other areas of your back efficiently, barbell rows are taxing enough on the lower back and doing them after deadlifts so yeah, you’re just frying your lower back.

If you’re into bodybuilding there’s plenty of good programs on this site or thought out templates like this:

Or you could do something like 5/3/1 and one of its many variations.


When I first started lifting weights I didn’t understand the concept of mind-muscle connection. In my experience, it’s harder to make a connection with muscles that you can’t see while you’re working them–hamstrings, glutes, and back.

The best piece of advice I ever heard for training back is to “use your hands as hooks; pull with your elbows.” As soon as I started doing that, I discovered the realm of back training. You can do dumbbell rows until your hands are raw, but if you aren’t pulling with your elbow to get the dumbbell up, you’re not hitting it nearly as directly as you could. Another good cue I’ve heard is to “pull your elbows behind you.” You’ll know that you’re hitting your back when you feel something you’ve never felt before. The first time I managed to isolate (for lack of a better word) my lats, I was shocked. I didn’t know I could feel that muscle work like that.

The term “mind-muscle connection” occasionally gets some shit talk, but in my opinion, it’s a viable term. It essentially just means that you have to focus hard on the muscle you’re trying to train. Envision it contracting, imagine squeezing it as hard as you can. One thing that helped me was looking at some anatomy charts to figure out exactly where every muscle was. Once I knew that, I was able to focus on a part of my body and try to squeeze whatever muscle was there. Kinda dumb, but it worked for me.

Cool. Thanks guys. I’ve been lifting for years, but just now starting to get more serious about strength training and bodybuilding, so this is all helpful advice.

Also: the “Tried and True” template is what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I’ve seen some strength gains but I’m thinking I want to switch it up to this: https://thibarmy.com/optimal-strenght-training-for-the-natural-athlete/ I like the mix of strength/hypertrophy, plus the added frequency.

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3 on 1 off is perfect when you’re doing higher volume imo. That’s what I did for a while and I really enjoyed it. You’ll always be well-rested, and you get to hit everything twice each week which a pretty good frequency for most people

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Exactly. MMC is very important. you’re supposed to be training the muscle, not flinging weights around pointlessly and training the joints.

If I’m doing a set of DB bench press (for example), say i’m using proper form and focusing on my chest,i get a good pump. Whereas If i dont be so careful and just fling the weights around, it turns into a shoulder joint destroying exercise.