T Nation

Favorite Back Routine?

I’m frustrated because my chest grows easily but my back seems to be stubborn.

What do you prefer for overall trap / rhomboid / lat gains?

CT’s “Big Back Stack” ?

Mike Robertson’s “Back On Track” - anyone built a routine based on this?

I recently performed CW’s TBT and I used plenty of back movements (t-bar, barbell rows, cable rows, chins, pulldowns, you name it), and I’m currently using DJ’s OLAD and I’ve got one barbell row and one chinning day, but I’m just not happy with my back.

I’m not really comfortable with the idea of employing power snatches without good coaching…

deadlifts, chinups, rows, farmer’s walks, good mornings, pull throughs, throw in face pulls, DB cleans & snatches

Don’t forget rack pulls and maybe some high pulls for extra loading.

I was not getting enough work for my back doing it once a week. I switched up to a (power)bodybuilding routine and have been doing a muscle group a day for awhile (12weeks) and foudn that I have been getting great gains off of doing back 2 times a week. doing it with chest and shoulders. using pullups/chins for 5*5(305lbs use a red IW band to help out) and another exercise for heavy loading.

so for chest I would do chest then do my back work. pull ups and Tbar this week. then I throw in Pullovers to finish out the day.

I finish shoulders and then do pullups/chins followed by wide grip Bent over row and finished with face pulls. I have been very satisfied with the results and will be changing over to a modified Olifting cycle soon to really hit the upper back and P-chain. hope this helps BB

So you use 2-3 exercises, twice per week. One exercise is a vertical pull, another is a horizontal pull.

How many total sets / reps do you do in each of these workouts? Like what’s your actual volume? Like 5x5 for exercise 1, then 5x5 for exercise 2 as well? Or like low rep on one day, high rep on the other, or … ?

[quote]biggieben wrote:

using pullups/chins for 5*5(305lbs use a red IW band to help out) and another exercise for heavy loading.

so for chest I would do chest then do my back work. pull ups and Tbar this week. then I throw in Pullovers to finish out the day.

I finish shoulders and then do pullups/chins followed by wide grip Bent over row and finished with face pulls. I have been very satisfied with the results and will be changing over to a modified Olifting cycle soon to really hit the upper back and P-chain. hope this helps BB[/quote]

hey man–

i’ve had pretty good luck with my back growing fairly easily, but thats after a year of crew in college, which definitely helped…
here’s one of the programs i’ve been using since, and seeing AWESOME results:

first is barbell rows… HEAVY. 5 sets or so; 1 warmup/20 reps (controlled, dont just rush through em), then pyramid up the next four in weight, going from about 10/12 reps to no less than 6/7. the thing with these is you have to play with it and find the form (and grip) that allows you to get the best pump from your pull. dont just slam on weight and yank it up–you wont get anywhere without good form; especially these.

second, some kind of pull-downs. i use the small v-handle, and do 4 sets of about 6/7-12. again, go as heavy as possible, and make sure you feel that pump with every rep.

then take that same tiny v-handle, and find an olympic bar and a corner of the room. stuff one end in the corner, and pile weight on the other end. put that v-handle on the side closest to the weight, just inside the collar. these are tricky cause you have to make sure the other end doesnt fly up and break something… (not like i know that would happen…) same sets/reps for these, and try and go heavy while keeping the same degree in your back. also, DON’T ARCH YOUR BACK!

finish it off with some good ol’ dumbell rows; same amnt of sets/reps.

you should be bustin your ass on all these, and not feel fine after each set. try it, and make sure you’re eating right as well, and your back should catch up to your chest sooner than you think. a lot of it is mental, also.

hope this helps; tell me what you think,
tim

Thanks for the response.

So about 20 sets, 15 of them horizontal.

Now that sounds like back specialization!

Do you use a similar volume with all of your muscle groups, or do you cut back on all of those substantially when focusing on your back?

I got big gains by just picking my 6rm for one-arm rows and doing six reps. I’d drop 5 lbs and continue for 5 sets. I’d also do pullups/pulldowns on another day and deadlifts on another.

[quote]John K wrote:
So you use 2-3 exercises, twice per week. One exercise is a vertical pull, another is a horizontal pull.

How many total sets / reps do you do in each of these workouts? Like what’s your actual volume? Like 5x5 for exercise 1, then 5x5 for exercise 2 as well? Or like low rep on one day, high rep on the other, or … ?
[/quote]

just got back from today chest and Back. started with flat bench working up, then dips 4x5, then for back did 5x5 pull ups supenated(palms facing Me) and then went with 3x8 for wide grip bent over row. then supersetted cable flyes and dead hangs(hanging with lats and back flexed hard and in mid pull up position for 15-20sec, trying these out didn’t have too mcuh energy and I am pretty sure the back is supposed to respond very well to Isometrics) that was it for today

This routine put a good bit of size on my back

SuperSet:
A1) Eccentric Chinups 3x3 10-0-X Tempo
A2) Sternum Pulldowns 3x5-7 3-0-3 Tempo

B1) DB rows 3x6-8 222 Tempo

The eccentric chins are brutal, shoot for a least 110% of your 1RM, or more if you can handle it.

Good luck

My favorite exercise for back, which has added SO much mass (both width and thickness) and size is underhand grip bent over rows, or “Yates rows,” like Dorian advocates.

You take an underhand (palms facing up) grip on the bar, about shoulder width or slightly wider, and bend over NOT to a full 90 degrees, but more like only 60 or 70 degrees. Keep your chest stuck OUT and your back ARCHED throughout the movement. Pull the bar into your WAIST (NOT up toward your chest). Think of pulling with your elbows, not your hands.

You can get REALLY strong really quickly on these. They absolutely, positively rock!

My back was a weak spot when I first began training because I did a lot of chest work. Now, my back is one of my best body parts. I helped overcome this with a lot more chinning (sometimes a few times a week) and also doing a lot more rowing (barbell and dumbbell) and incorporating deadlifts, power cleans and snatches into my routine. It didn’t take too long to make my back a strong point.

Here’s a photo taken in the summer of 2003 after a six-month Renegade conditioning program that got me lean and mean.

I do try to always have some chinning and rowing in my routines, but I wonder if I should actually try to figure out how to Snatch propertly.

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
…with a lot more chinning (sometimes a few times a week) and also doing a lot more rowing (barbell and dumbbell) and incorporating deadlifts, power cleans and snatches into my routine. It didn’t take too long to make my back a strong point.

Here’s a photo taken in the summer of 2003 after a six-month Renegade conditioning program that got me lean and mean.[/quote]

For a moment there I thought it said Sternum pullups! If you can do 7 303 sternum pullups after those 10 second eecentric chins, holy crap that would be some endurance.

This is a nice simple suggestion.

[quote]bamit wrote:
This routine put a good bit of size on my back

SuperSet:
A1) Eccentric Chinups 3x3 10-0-X Tempo
A2) Sternum Pulldowns 3x5-7 3-0-3 Tempo

B1) DB rows 3x6-8 222 Tempo

The eccentric chins are brutal, shoot for a least 110% of your 1RM, or more if you can handle it.

Good luck[/quote]

Is this a drop set, or did you rest?

[quote]veruvius wrote:
I got big gains by just picking my 6rm for one-arm rows and doing six reps. I’d drop 5 lbs and continue for 5 sets. I’d also do pullups/pulldowns on another day and deadlifts on another.[/quote]

Power cleans 3sets of 3-6
Pull Ups 2sets of *
Seated Row 3sets of 8-12
DB Shrugs 2sets of 8-10

and then to finish

Chin Ups 2sets of *
Alt DB Curls 2sets of 6-10

Of course a long eccentric portion is vital exept in the case of power cleans.