This is getting somewhat muddy, as originally you credited your back development to deadlifts.
I simply don’t find training economy a goal worth having, so I do not feel I can engage in that conversation. If training economy were my goal, I believe I would primarily perform the sandbag clean and press, with maybe a carry medley from time to time.
I believe I said “most” back development, and virtually all trap development. I definitely think pullups and rows contributed. But the deadlift is an easier lift to load incrementally over a long period of time (hundreds of pounds, over the years).
I would say training economy is inevitably a factor for you and for anyone. You have to make choices about what you’re going to do, include some movements and exclude others, right? You can’t do EVERYTHING, not only because of available time but because you reach a point of diminishing returns – more volume past a certain point doesn’t actually increase rate of improvement and can actually decrease it.[/quote]
The reason why the deadlift built the majority of your trap size is because you spent most of your training with that lift to build that muscle. If talking from a pure training economy standpoint, you can put in significantly more volume using pullups, rows, shrugs, etc. to build the traps compared to wasting energy in other muscle groups with the deadlift. This is based on the assumption that building trap size is the primary goal. (It’s actually difficult to compare volume when deadlifting because most of the back is under isometric contraction so you can’t calculate work in those muscle groups in the traditional sense.)
It doesn’t seem like building the traps is your primary goal though.
more volume past a certain point doesn’t actually increase rate of improvement and can actually decrease it.[/quote]
That’s only true if it taxes you so much that you can’t put in more work often compared to other schemes. It’s better to look at training volume over an entire cycle. If the trend shows an increase over each entire cycle (or avg vol/day) then you’re likely making progress.
Edit: Ignore the last part. It gets complicated when discussing volume. It’s better to decouple volume into reps for each intensity range, e.g. 100 reps at 50-55%, 20 reps at 80-85%, etc (ignoring TUT, ROM, etc. for simplicity). That way people can’t say volume at 100 reps for 50% is the same as 67 reps for 75% because it provides a different stimulus. So to oversimplify the main point was that a person can focus more on hypertrophy of the back if they only use movements to target that area and focus a bit more on total reps and low/moderate intensity for most of the programming.