Back Exercises

Straight Up Back: Pullup Workout

If you want to build wider, denser lats, then it’s time to recommit to the pullup.

Straight Up Back: Pullup Workout
Duration 30 min
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

Despite a plethora of more advanced equipment, the simple pullup bar remains one of the most effective tools at your disposal for building size and strength. You just have to commit (or recommit) to developing proficiency with the pullup bar, and this brutal gauntlet will help you do exactly that. By using a weighted belt, you can add resistance that no cable station can replicate, triggering a cascade of hormonal responses and muscle breakdown that will help you to drastically accelerate your gains. Get ready to get wide.

Exercise Pointers


Hang from a pullup bar with your hands spaced wider than your shoulders. Contract your lats and pull up until your chin is over the bar. Lower yourself slowly. On weighted pullups, fasten a dip belt around your hips and add weight until you can’t complete more than 6 to 8 reps.


You are stronger on the lowering phase of a rep than the lifting portion, so even though you’re sure to be toast by this point, you should have enough in the tank to reap the benefits of a few negatives. Try to take at least five seconds on each descent and jump (or kip) yourself back to the top. Chinups always use a supinated (underhand) grip.

Inverted Row

At a power rack or Smith machine, set the bar to about waist height. Hang from the bar and row three sets to failure. This challenging move allows you to get in a few horizontal pulls to add thickness to your lats and to target the smaller muscles of your middle back.

Straight-Arm Pulldown

Paired with the inverted row as a superset, this isolation move will have your upper lats screaming. You can vary your hand spacing slightly from set to set to mix up the muscle recruitment pattern, but the emphasis will be on your upper, outer lats.

Pullup Back Workout Perform this workout once a week.

Exercise 1

Weighted Pullup You'll need: Dip Belt, Pullup Bar, Weight Plates How to
Weighted Pullup thumbnail
4 sets
6-8 reps
30-60 sec rest
Do 3-4 warmup sets at a lat pulldown station then another 1-2 sets to gauge what your working weight should be.

Exercise 2

General Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Pullup thumbnail
-- sets
25 reps
30-60 sec rest
Perform your 1st set immediately after your last set of weighted pullups. Do as many sets as necessary to reach 25 total reps.

Exercise 3

Chinup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Chinup thumbnail
4 sets
6-8 reps
30-60 sec rest
Perform weighted.

Exercise 4

Chinup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Chinup thumbnail
3 sets
3-5* reps
30-60 sec rest
*Negatives only.

Exercise 5A

Inverted Row You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Inverted Row thumbnail
3 sets
to failure reps
-- rest

Exercise 5B

Straight-Arm Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Straight-Arm Pulldown thumbnail
3 sets
12-15 reps
30-60 sec rest