Back Exercises

The Bigger, Stronger Back Workout

Get a more substantial back in four weeks with this training program targeting every muscle system behind you.

by
bodybuilder back pose
Duration 4 weeks
Exercises 15
Equipment Yes

This workout, which covers back as well as abs and lower back, alternates weekly workouts that emphasize strength (4-6 reps) with ones that emphasize mass (8-10 and sometimes 12-15 reps). Simply insert these workouts into your current routine to build a stronger, thicker back and a rock-solid midsection.

Choosing the correct weight is critical; in your strength workouts, make sure you pick a heavy weight that causes you to reach muscle failure on only your last set for each exercise at the target rep. Although you’ll take longer rest periods, you’ll move through your size-gaining workouts faster using relatively lighter weights for higher reps, with drop sets and supersets thrown in to increase the intensity.

Strength Workout: Weeks 1 and 3

Exercise Sets^*      Reps      Sets#*     Reps    
Deadlift 3 4 3 6
T-Bar Row 3 4 3 6
Seated Cable Row 3 4 3 6
Front Pulldown 3 4 3 6
Abs/Low Back
Weighted Plank+ 3 6 3 10
Weighted Crunch 3 6 3 10
Back-Extension Machine        3 6 3 10

Key:

^ For all back exercises during Week 1, take only your last (third) set to muscle failure; choose a heavy weight with which you reach failure by your fourth rep. Precede it with two sets using slightly lighter weights, but do only four reps.

* Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.

# For Week 3 exercises, take all three sets to muscle failure.

+ For the weighted plank, which stresses your core muscles, have a partner place weight across your lower back and count seconds in place of reps listed.

Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed. Your rest periods should be 60-90 seconds between sets, except for supersets and drop sets.
 

Size Workout: Weeks 2 and 4

Exercise Sets**      Reps      Sets**     Reps    
Pull-Up 4 8-10 4 12-15
Rack Pull 3 8-10 3 12-15
Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row        4~ 8-10 4~ 12-15
Machine Row (wide overhand grip)        4~ 8-10 4~ 12-15
Two-Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Row 3 8-10 3 12-15
-superset with-
Straight-Arm Pulldown 3 8-10 3 12-15
Abs/Low Back
Machine Crunch 3 8-10 3 12-15
Weighted Back Extension 3 8-10 3 12-15

Key:

^ For all back exercises during Week 1, take only your last (third) set to muscle failure; choose a heavy weight with which you reach failure by your fourth rep. Precede it with two sets using slightly lighter weights, but do only four reps.

* Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.

# For Week 3 exercises, take all three sets to muscle failure.

+ For the weighted plank, which stresses your core muscles, have a partner place weight across your lower back and count seconds in place of reps listed.

** Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed. Your rest periods should be 60-90 seconds between sets, except for supersets and drop sets.

~ Make the last set a drop set by reducing the weight 25% and continuing to failure

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