T Nation

Current Back Routine

Hey guys, just looking for advice to see if any improvements can be made to my back workout.

I train traps with my shoulders, and the gym doesn’t have dedicated pulley cable row machines. It dies have hammer strength but I prefer free weight. The only Exercise I’m not comfortable with is dead lifts due to an old lower back injury

Currently I’m doing

Narrow grip pull down - 1 warm up set, 1 working set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

Wide grip pull-down - 1 warm up set, 1 working set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

T bar row - 1 warm up set, 1 working set to failure, 1 rest pause set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

Barbell row wide grip - 1 warm up set, 1 working set to failure, 1 rest pause set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

1 arm Dumbell row - 1 working set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

Dumbell Pullovers - 1 working set to failure, 2 drop sets to failure

Hypertension - 3 sets to failure

I feel I’m hitting all areas of the back, just wondering if anyone can think of anything to improve this workout outside of dead lifts? Possibly could switch the wide grip pull-down for chins. Thanks in advance

Personally, I’d say too many exercises and too many to failure.

I’d suggest something like:

Front squat (replaces DL)
4x5, 1x5+, 1xAMRAP with 90 lbs less
add 10 lbs every couple of weeks
10 inverted rows between sets

Dumbbell row
Work up to a single heavy AMRAP set

Chest supported row or T-bar row

Band pull aparts
100 total reps

You have most of the best lifts in there. My only suggestion would be not to do them all at once.

Start your session with hyperextension, doing paied sets with some abdominal move.

Pick a “big” row variation. Do this first and heavy! T- bar rows are good. Think of this as your “main” back lift.

Then do some kind of pull down or chin up. I don’t think you need to do both, all the time.

Then a 1 arm rowing variation.

Finish up with the pullovers.

After 3 or 4 weeks, rotate exercises. Switch from t- bar rows to barbell rows. Instead of chins, go back to narrow grip Pulldowns. After that, use the Hammer Strength machine for your 1 arm row. Finish with Straight Arm Pulldowns on the cable, instead of pull-overs.

1 Like

First, I’d really like to see what kind of reps you’re working with on everything. That’s a huge factor in knowing what could be tweaked.

Second, like the guys said, that’s a lot of intensity in the workout, so you could do with dropping an exercise or three. Hitting failure and drop sets and rest-pause on multiple exercises is a monster workout.

It’s low volume for each exercise, which is necessary whenever you crank up the intensity like that, but doing so many different exercises increases the overall volume for the bodypart, which defeats the purpose of a high intensity-low volume approach.

Hey guys thanks for the replies

My rep ranges go like this

Warm up 15 reps just a feeler

Working set - once I hit 10 reps on a weight, the following week I up the weight, then work my way up to 10 over time. So it’s usually between 6 reps on a new weight, up to 10 reps when I’ve been at it for a few weeks

Rest pause sets usually can just Squeeze out another 2 or 3 reps

For the drop sets it can be anything from 3 reps usually no more than 7 for each drop

So in total my reps would be around around 36 reps per Exercise on an average week sometimes slightly higher

Instead of using the same rep scheme for every lift, I’d mix things up more. For example, on the pulldowns, work in the 10-12 range for the main set. For the t-bar or barbell row, cap the work set in the 6-8 range. For pullovers, I’d also stay in the 8+ range and take it easy with the higher intensity/lower rep mini-sets. It’s a vulnerable position for the shoulders and hitting failure at a weird position could be bad news. Stiff-arm pulldowns are a good alternative with much lower risk.

I still say it’s too much total volume, and you’d be fine dropping several exercises. Or coming up with a “back workout A” and “back workout B”, and alternating them each week. “One pulldown, one row, one or two other things” is a solid general approach. This article also has some great ideas.

57 posts were split to a new topic: Intensity and Volume

Op are you using high quality “supplements” in your approach? If so, you should put on a lot of size following your plan in my opinion.

Look up the kingbeef thread and as other have said forget the failure stuff