Back Exercises

Classic Physique Star Chris Bumstead's Off-Season Back Training

The Classic Physique phenomenon shares the workout and tips he incorporates for a bigger back.

Chris Bumstead's Off-Season Back Training
Richard Numeroff
Richard Numeroff
Exercises 7
Equipment Yes

One of Chris Bumstead’s goals in the off season is building thickness in his already-wide back. To build it up, dumbbell rows have been his go-to move. And as for the with he already has, Bumstead credits lat pulldowns.

Check out his tips and workout below to add thickness and width to your back.

Tips from Chris:

  • Every three back days, I change up the start of my back workout. I rotate through deadlifts for three back workouts, then switch to rack pulls for the next three workouts, and then I skip both, moving right to dumbbell rows, for the last three workouts of the cycle.
  • Rather than use a staggered stance on dumbbell rows, I like to square my feet to the bench where I stabilize my body with my resting arm. This really allows the movement to be more concentrated.
  • To hit your lower lat, make sure you're performing seated rows low, to below your belly button. 
  • Incrporating both close-grip and wide-grip pulldowns will help you target different back muscles. On my close-grip pulldowns, I use the rope attachment.
  • For my wide-grip pulldowns, I do two dropsets, aiming for 12 reos and then dropping down to a weight that will cause failure after about 15 reps.
  • When performing the dumbbell pullover, focus on a deep stretch and only come about 3/4 of the way up to keep tension on the lats.
  • I like to end my back workout with two burnout sets of back extensions (no weight added) to failure.


Return to PHYSIQUE PHENOM for more training tips from Chris Bumstead>>

Exercise 1

Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Deadlift  thumbnail
6 sets
6-8* reps
-- rest
*Add weight each set working up to a last set of 6-8 to failure. Replace deadlift with Rack Pull after 3 workouts for the next 3 workouts. Skip Deadlift/Rack Pull after performing them each for 3 workouts, going back to Deadlifts after 3 workouts off.

Exercise 2

Single-Arm Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Single-Arm Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Row thumbnail
4 sets
10-12/ea reps
-- rest
Place resting arm on a bench

Exercise 3

Seated Cable Row You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment How to
Seated Cable Row thumbnail
4 sets
10-12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Close-Grip Lat Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment, Bench How to
Close-Grip Lat Pulldown thumbnail
4 sets
12-15 reps
-- rest
Use rope attachment.

Exercise 5

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Bench, Lat Pulldown Bar How to
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown thumbnail
2 sets
12/15 reps
-- rest
Perform a dropset of both sets. After the first 12 reps, drop to a weight that you will fail at after 15 reps.

Exercise 6

Dumbbell Pullover You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Pullover thumbnail
4 sets
10-12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 7

Back Extension How to
back extension thumbnail
2 sets
to failure reps
-- rest
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