Back Exercises

Get on Track for Better Back Training Results

Fix your back routine for greater overall gains.

Get on Track for Better Back Training Results
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Todd from Marysville, OH, sent us his back workout to review. We graded it and provided a revision below.

Todd's Old Workout

M&F Rating: B-


Smith Machine Bentover Row, Underhand Grip

Sets: 3 Reps: 8-10

One-arm Dumbbell Row

Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Plate-loaded Lat Pulldown

Sets: 4 Reps: 10, 8, 8, 6

Lat Pulldown, Underhand Grip

Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Machine Reverse Flye

Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Dumbbell Shrug

Sets: 4 Reps: 15

This ain’t half bad. You’ve got a reasonable amount of volume, and your workout hits all the major areas of the back. But watch the redundancy. The underhand grip you’re using on the Smith row and pulldown will emphasize the biceps. That’s fine, but your brachialis, forearm, and lower trapezius will not be activated as much. Switch your grip on one of these moves. Also, mix in some other rep ranges. Higher and lower ends of the spectrum recruit different muscle fibers.

Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Bentover Row, Overhand 3 8-10
One-arm Dumbbell Row 4 15, 12, 9, 6
Plate-loaded Lat Pulldown, Wide Grip 4 15, 12, 9, 6
Lat Pulldown, Underhand 3 8-10
Dumbbell Shrug 4 10-15