T Nation

Your Means to a Stronger Back


#1

I just wanted to get an idea of what methods you have used to put numbers on your back lifts (mainly rows, lat pulldowns, etc.) Over the past year or two I have made solid progress on every pressing movement, deadlifts, squats, single-leg work..everything but my rowing lifts. I feel as though I've learned how to intelligently program my workouts so that I'm always progressing on any pressing movements; however, I'm slowly realizing I'm kind of a newb when it comes to back. For the most part I've focused on higher rep work. I've also always practiced strict form with full ROM, pinching at contraction, never really allowing any loose form in order to overload.

I will be transitioning into a push/pull/legs split once I finish out my current training cycle, meaning I can really focus on my back 2x/week. I'm open to all suggestions to bring my numbers up drastically. Tentatively, here's what my 2 pull days will look like for the 4 week cycle. Week 4 is more or less a "deload," deloading my main pressing movements for the cycle, while keeping some high rep work for my back since it never interferes with recovery.

Pull 1:
A: Chin-Ups
week 1: 4x6
week 2: 6x4
week 3: 8x3
week 4: 2x15
B: RDLs
4x10
5x8
6x6
2x15
C: Cable Row
3x10, 1x20
3x8, 1x20
3x6, 1x20
2x15
D: Barbell Curls
3-4x10-15
3-4x8-12
3-4x6-10
2x20

Pull 2:
A: Lat Pulldown
5x8-12
5x5-8
5x3-6
2x15
B: 1-Arm DB Row
4x10
5x8
6x6
2x15
C1: Hammer Curls
3-4x10-15
3-4x8-12
3-4x6-10
2x20
C2: DB Reverse Flyes
3-4x10-15
3-4x8-12
3-4x6-10
2x20


#2

Deadlifts have translated into much higher row weights and in general all horizontal back movements.

As for vertical movements, I find that the more pullups I do during the week, weighted or not weighted, the stronger I get for vertical back exercises.

In general though, I've found that lowering the weight used on back exercises and controlling your "movement" to focus on the muscle translates into increased strength in one to two month time frame down the road. I'm not saying your form is bad, but I could certainly get pretty sloppy when trying to go heavy on back exercises and cleaning up the form dropped the weight at first, but has paid off in increased lifting weight and bigger muscle. - Scratch that just read you paragraph, you use strict form. You could do the opposite then, start doing some cheating sets to get the muscles handling bigger weight and see if that helps.

As for the routine: during back specific training, I've averaged around 16 sets for back per back day. I don't feel that RDL's translate into any back growth that regular deadlifts are creating.


#3

Don't be afraid of throwing some Body English in there.

Luke


#4

The way I did mine was pick a primary movement on each day you really want to get better at, I did pullups and BB Rows for the 2 days. This lift stays the same for however long you do your program, change the set/reps though as you feel needed. After my pullups I do some type of row (currently DB row), then I do some type of lat pulldown after my BB Row day. I keep the secondary lift for 1-2 months before changing it to a different but similar movement.


#5

Cheat reps... Rows with weight and bands... Pull-ups against bands...


#6

Band resistance chins and Pullups in all different types of grips have helped me. Also adding in chins in between pressing movement is a great time saver to get in this type of work.


#7

On bench day I do db rows, 3 x 10. On overhead press day, I do pullups, 5 x 5. Fewer exercises, heavier weight. That's what works for me.


#8

Yea, I just noticed both days start off with a vertical motion. I will switch that so that rows come first on one of my days.


#9

Kroc Rows!!!!


#10

I find that using light weights and using a lot of control on cable and chest supported horizontal rows do the most for stabilization on the bench and keeping the shoulders healthy. Larger movements like BB rows with some body english tend to translate to deadlifting and squat upper back tightness and general overall awsomeness, and vertical rows seem to bring me the most power off the chest in bench pressing.

At least for me.