T Nation

Fitting Upper & Mid Back Work in my Training Week


#1

Give or take a day my training looks like this. It's not a body part split, it is an upper-lower split but no excessive planning in terms of exercise selection.

Monday

Bench Press 6 x 3
Machine Row 6 x 10
DB Bench 6 x 10
Cable Curl 6 x 10
Tricep Pushdown 6 x 10

Wednesday

Power Clean 4 x 2
Back Squat 5/3/1
Back Squat 5 x 10
Glute Bridge 3 x 12

Thursday

OHP 6 x 3
Lat Pulldown 6 x 10
Bench Press 6 x 10
Tricep Pushdown 6 x 10
Cable Curl 6 x 10

Saturday

Rugby Match

Sunday

Power Clean 4 x 2
Hex Bar Deadlift 5/3/1
Plyo Jumps 4 x 25
RDL 5 x 10

I move Deadlifts to Monday if rugby was particularly tiring, and either bench same day or move to Tues. My deadlifts are stalling because upper/mid back isn't strong enough and I want to put in either Barbell Bent Over Row or T-bar Row, or both.

I've read that they should be added to deadlift day but doing those & RDL would be too much for my back, so any ideas on how to move things around to accommodate back work? Switching Back Squat 5 x 10 with RDL 5 x 10 seems like an idea, not sure if I should do both and maybe switch focus of OHP day to back and take out Bench for T-bar row.

Any general tips on my program would be appreciated, i'm trying to increase strength & power in main 4 lifts and the other stuff is size/strength work.


#2

just add another pulling exercise to both of your upper body days.


#3

Switching from OHP to (Power) Clean & Press maybe helpful?

In terms of Deadlifts taxing the body… Pulling from the floor is on a continuum. Deadlifts (particularly heavy low rep sets) are at one end, Power Cleans next, Snatches last. Other lifts will fall somewhere along that. All pulls from the floor, and squats, build your back to varying degrees. If one lift is too taxing, change reps/volume/intensity or find the next on the continuum.

Some people find Front Squats helpful in strengthening the upper back. They can be done as squats, or you could switch a Power Clean series for a Squat Clean.

Separately, have you considered Farmers Walks? You can do them with the hex bar if you don’t have special equipment. They’ll help a little with your mid/upper back, but I’m thinking more for their other qualities, which may help on the field.


#4

I would ditch all the cable curls and pressdowns and definitely the glute bridge. Then add rows to one of the days you were doing them. Not sure what you’re getting out of those other exercises.


#5

Ok i’ve shuffled it around and come up with this. Bent over row and t-bar rows are both in. I figured my back would be tired the day after Sunday DL so I put bent over rows same day, then machine row Mon. Changed OHP to push press, and one of the power cleans to clean & squat (like that idea). When you mentioned the continuum I wonder if power cleans (which were put in as a warm up) are maybe taxing me more than I thought they would and actually hampering my deadlift, so i’ll go lighter on Sundays.

I took out glute bridges, they were meant to be extra posterior chain work but they are a bit redundant. As for Bi/Tri I just felt my upper arms were lagging so wanted more volume. Instead of both on both days i’ve moved it to one exercise on each upper body day.

Monday

Bench Press 6 x 3
Bent Over Row 5 x 10
DB Bench 6 x 10
Machine Row 6 x 10
Tricep Pushdown 6 x 10

Wednesday

Power Clean & Front Squat 4 x 2
Back Squat 5/3/1
RDL 5 x 10

Thursday

Push Press 6 x 3
T-Bar Row 6 x 10
Bench Press 6 x 10
Lat Pulldown 6 x 10
Cable Curl 6 x 10

Saturday

Rugby Match

Sunday

Power Clean 4 x 2
Hex Bar Deadlift 5/3/1
Plyo Jumps 4 x 25
Bent Over Row 5 x 10
Back Squat 5 x 10


#6

[quote]Fezz wrote:
When you mentioned the continuum I wonder if power cleans (which were put in as a warm up) are maybe taxing me more than I thought they would and actually hampering my deadlift, so i’ll go lighter on Sundays.
[/quote]
Do take my advice with a grain of salt. I’m not an expert, just someone who loves lifting and reads too many books. But if it makes sense, it makes sense.

Here’s a couple of ideas on a those Sunday Power Cleans. Other than warming up, their purpose is to train explosiveness, yes? In that case, rather than lightening the weight artificially, could finding a lift that’s further along the continuum work?

A Power Snatch may serve as well. The greater pulling distance will force you to use a lighter weight, but still demand explosiveness. A One Hand Snatch, DB or better a BB will reduce the weight further.

A One Hand Clean may too. In this case you’re still lifting with both legs, and torso, but all the energy passes through one hand. This will have the added benefit of strengthening your grip. I’m not sure what the ratio is, but 70% to 80% of your regular Power Clean would be reasonable.

So again you’re doing a lighter pull, this time limited by grip. You can grip the bar overhand, or under. I favour under as it sets me up well for pressing, but the other way can be good too. If you want, after cleaning, you can put your other hand on the bar and get a sneaky eccentric curl as you lower the weight. When doing it, the best lifters place their offhand on their thigh just above the knee and push off with it at the same time as pulling with the other.

Below is a vid showing how I do it underhand, and the following vid is a better example, (but with a jerk).