The Weekly Workout: Back to Back

The Weekly Workout: Back to Back

Most of us enjoy working out the “mirror” muscles such as chest, biceps, abs, and quads, but performing back exercises is one of the more underrated things that you can to improve your performance and your physique. Moreover, consistently including back workouts in your program helps you to avoid muscular imbalances that eventually lead to injuries.

However, many times our back workouts become stale and we begin to run out of ideas of exercises to incorporate into “back” day. That’s where this workout comes in; this workout incorporates advanced intensity builders such as weighted pull-ups and supersets in order to push past both plateaus and boredom. If you need to add some intensity to back day, try this:

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Weighted Pull-up 3 8 90 Seconds
T-Bar Row 3 8 90 Seconds
Pull-up 3 10 90 Seconds
Bent Barbell Row 3 10 90 Seconds
Chin-up 5 5 Superset
Cable Row 5 5 Superset
Lat pull-down 5 5 Superset
Reverse Cable Row 5 5 90 Seconds
  • This workout begins with weighted pull-ups. Here, you can add weight by wearing a weight vest, strapping a chain to a weight belt and then securing it to a weight plate, or simply grasping a dumbbell between your feet while you perform pull-ups.
  • Complete three sets of 8 reps, taking 90 seconds to rest between sets.
  • Once you finish the pull-ups, find a T-bar or a land-mine attachment and load it with a moderately heavy weight. Perform three sets of 8 reps of T-bar rows, focusing on keeping your form perfect throughout each rep.
  • Next, perform three sets of 10 normal, shoulder width pull-ups.
  • Upon finishing the pull-ups, perform three sets of 10 reps of bent barbell rows. By this time you should be fairly fatigued, so watching your form becomes even more critical.
  • Keep your back flat, chest up, and head looking straight throughout each of the 10 reps of bent rows.
  • Rest for 2 minutes once you finish your last set of bent rows, and then begin the 5x5 circuit at the cable crossover machine.
  • The first exercise in the circuit is chin-ups; perform 5 chin-ups then immediately perform 5 seated cable rows.
  • Immediately after finishing the rows, jump up and perform 5 standing lat-pull-downs, followed immediately by 5 standing reverse cable rows with a straight bar attachment.

This may seem a bit daunting, and it's not easy by any means, but because you are only performing 5 reps of each exercise before moving to the next there should be just enough rest to complete each round of the circuit. Adjust the weight as needed in order to complete all of your reps.

This workout should take around 45 minutes to complete and should be attempted by lifters with plenty of gym experience.

Back day is not always fun or challenging, but if you complete this workout, it will be both.

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Matthew Johnson is a fitness writer, personal trainer, strength coach, as well as a former gym owner. Matthew holds an MBA from The University of Memphis and a Master’s in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University. Matthew has also earned the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential from the NSCA. Matthew recently published his first book, 300 30 Minute Workouts for Busy People, and lives in Memphis, TN with his wife, Anna, and their dog Henderson, and cat, Sox.

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