T Nation

Problems with Back Growth

I have been training serious for about 18 months. For the last 6 - 8 weeks, whenever I train my back, my lats are never sore the next day. Conversely, when I train my chest/legs/delts, I am sore the next day.

I have tried to vary my routine/reps/volume/cadence. But still my lats feel normal the next day.

Can anyone suggest a back routine, specifically targeting the lats (upper and lower) to stimulate growth?

Furthermore, does the trained bodypart have to be sore the next day in order to acknowledge that I have trained properly?

You anticipated response(s) is greatly appreciated.


no, it doesn’t have to be sore. Do a couple sets of max # of pullups before and after your back workout. this usually leaves me sore all day and the next in the back.

you don’t need to be sore for growth.
try stretching your lats in the hang position after heavy sets of pullups. also when you do pullups, go down all the way and start from full hang for each rep.
for general back growth, you could try heavy rack pulls.

I do maintain strict form when doing chins/pulls. But the suggestion put forth by “mike*” sounds good. I’ll do a couple of addtional sets of chins at the end of my back routine.

I was thinking of giving back a break for a fortnight then resume the punishment again. Perhaps that might stimulate it…

Do you feel your back when your working out. Try to really concentrate on feeling the muscle. Oh and i added deadlifts to the end of my back workouts and its gotten thicker.

I like the additional pull-ups idea, and the stretching idea. Additionally, Heavy pullovers, either DB or low-cable pulley (with rope attachment) have been a great way to finish my lats off. It always leaves me sore the next day.
I actually prefer the cable because it keeps tension on the end of the ROM, it feels like you are trying to hold a front lat spread with resistance.

i’ve read somewhere on here that throwing an additional set or two of high reps (pull-ups or rows in this situation) to bring up a lagging body part in terms of hypertrophy a few times a week works well. not sure who exactly said it, but i’ve definately read it in one or more articles around here.

i also like eccentric pullups. jump to the top position and lower yourself SLOWLY. Those always leave me sore and tight the day after. once again…soreness doesn’t always have to be present for growth. best of luck. plenty of good advice on this thread already. i’m outtttt.

A guy asking CT for advice on his back in the T-Cell.
Hope it helps, if that doesn’t make you sore dunno what will.

I had a similar problem with not ‘feeling’ my lats being worked out. I found this article and after doing the prescribed workout at the beginning of my back routine, my lats were sore for the next two days.

Its the modified Gymnast’s Routine:

Bringing chest to bar instead of chin to bar on chins really made a difference for me, as far as being able to feel the muscle during the rep.

I use to have trouble firing my lats as well. I found it helpful to exaggerate the stretched position.

CT also has a good article on this: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1403235

Thanks everyone for the advice!

The eccentrics sounds like a brilliant plan of attack. For some reason, this concept has never crossed my mind.

I didn’t feel my lats until recently. I’ve started super setting pull-ups with cable lat pull downs to the front. I do as many pull-ups as i can do and then immediately jump over to the lat pull down machine to do 4 or so more reps.

next exercise:
Then I super set close grip pull-ups with the palms facing each other and then immediately jump to exercise where on the cable machine where you hold a straight bar shoulder width and push the weight down with arms extended.

next exercise:
Then I do seated machine rows.

next exercise:
I finish off with alternating dumbell curls while keeping my palms facing forward the while time.

  • Adam

My back routine varies but here’s a sample

Pull ups 1 or 2 warm up sets then 2 or 3 work sets (weighted pullups) I switch up the grips.

then a light set of bent over barbell rows with 2 work sets

2 sets of cable rows followed by 2 sets of pullovers.

Works for me. I have 8 work sets total and a few warm up ones. I just do that once a week.

I’ll add in staggered reps at the end usually. There great. You pull the weight and every rep let it out a little more till you fully extend then repeat. Its takes 4 or 5 reps to do a cycle.

Things I have done over the years which I feel ended up being worthwhile…

1- Focusing more on Rows than Chins. Everyone seems so intent on a v-taper, but then later on they look 2 dimensional because they neglected thickness during their early years.

2- Learned the difference between doing deadlifts as a powerlifter and as a bodybuilder.

3- Realized that you can get a much better contraction simply by substituting DBs instead of BBs on basic exercises (bent over rows?)

4- Starting your workout with a back isolation exercise will create a lot of soreness the next day, and really set you up for a damn intense workout (straight arm pulldowns with a rope).

5- You can get the ‘back’ benefit of wide grip chins/pulldowns without your biceps assisting by grabbing the high cables, and trying to contract your scapulae.

Just some thoughts from my own experiences. EVeryone is different, so keep that in mind.


[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
2- Learned the difference between doing deadlifts as a powerlifter and as a bodybuilder.

Care to elaborate on this one?

Once you learn how to train your back and make it grow, you will become facinated training it. For wide lats, it is imparative to use the widest grip possible. Reps are to be done explosively, and kept eight or under. For width, bent barbell rows are king. They are to be done explosively, but keep your mind on the lat contraction. Also on pulldowns and rows it is best to go through a full range of motion, feeling a great stretch and pull with your lats.

Do weighted Pull ups then.

[quote]Dabba wrote:
The Mighty Stu wrote:
2- Learned the difference between doing deadlifts as a powerlifter and as a bodybuilder.

Care to elaborate on this one?[/quote]

not letting the weight hit the floor when doing deads, stop just short of hitting the floor and then come back up, this keeps everything under constant tension and time under tension=growth

my personal recipe for ripping up your back

warm up
15 pull ups

weighted pullups
90%PR 6 - 8 reps
(BW + 90lbs)

3 rep PR

superset the pull ups with deads. the key here is to do explosive concentrics. try 3 sets than work upto 5 sets.