Double Your Results Using Varying Workouts: The Back!

A well-developed back gives a strong indication that you are willing and able to pull some heavy weights to get the physique you need to win competitions. Overall development shows that you put the time and thinking into hitting all muscle groups.
Having a fully developed back is perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of a good bodybuilder. Not only is it visible from most front poses, but the focus of all of the rear-facing poses (calves and hamstrings included).

A well-developed back gives a strong indication that you are willing and able to pull some heavy weights to get the physique you need to win competitions. Overall development shows that you put the time and thinking into hitting all possible muscle groups associated with the "back" group of muscles.

Again, let me remind you of the definitions of the terms (in my view) that I will be using to make things run a bit more smoothly throughout this article.

High-Intensity Training (HIT):

    Method of training using heavy weights, lower repetitions (6-10), and explosive movements using a large amount of energy over a brief period of time.

    HIT focuses more on the larger Type II-b fibers that give your muscles a more voluminous appearance. These fibers fatigue more quickly but produce the greater amount of force compared with Type-I fibers.

Volume Training:

    Method of training using medium weights, higher repetitions (12-15), and more succinct movements using a similarly large amount of energy over a more extended period of time.

    Volume training focuses on the smaller Type-I fibers that give your muscles a harder, more defined look. These fibers have a greater longevity for training and are more associated with cardiovascular training.

Back Anatomy Lesson:

The "back" muscle group is comprised of numerous different muscles. Primarily when I speak of the "back" I mean the latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor, rhomboids, lower traps, and paraspinals.

These are the major muscle groups involved in the majority of back exercises. Please refer to the following pictures and diagrams for details.


As you can see (despite my poor definition) the back is a very complex area and consists of multiple muscles running in varying angles from the shoulder joint and spine.


Sample HIT Programs

HIT Program 1:

    Wide-Grip Lat Pulls: 180 x 10, 200 x 10, 220 x 8, 240 x 8
    Reverse Grip Cable Rows (with EZ Bar): 200 x 10, 220 x 10, 240 x 8
    Rack Pulls (Partial Deadlifts): 225 x 12, 275 x 12, 315 x 12, 365 x 12
    T-Bar Rows: 115 x 10, 140 x 10, 165 x 10
    Cable Pull-Overs: 130 x 12, 140 x 12, 150 x12
    Hyperextensions: 3 sets of 15 with 10 pound plate

Click here to print the HIT program 1.

HIT Program 2:

    Close-Grip Lat Pulls: 180 x 10, 200 x 10, 220 x 8, 240 x 8
    Seated Cable Rows: 200 x 10, 220 x 10, 240 x 8
    Rack Pulls (Partial Deadlifts): 225 x 12, 275 x 12, 315 x 12, 365 x 12
    Standing Single Cable Row: 150 x 10, 175 x 10, 195 x 10
    Hyperextensions: 3 sets of 15 with 10 pound plate

    *Yes I do perform a higher number of repetitions for back workouts even on the HIT Program.

    This is due to my propensity for lower back injury. Also note that I use wrist wraps for all exercises so that I don't limit my weight due to grip weakness.

Click here to print the HIT program 2.


Sample Volume Programs

Volume Training Program 1:

Click here to print the Volume program 1.

Volume Training Program 2:

    Wide Grip Lat Pulls: 150 x 15, 160 x 15, 170 x 15
    Reverse Grip Cable Rows (with EZ Bar): 140 x 15, 160 x 15, 180 x 12
    Super set with
    T-Bar Rows: 90 x 15, 115 x 12, 140 x 12
    Rack Pulls: 185 x 15, 225 x 15, 245 x 12
    Hyperextensions: 3 sets of 15 using no weight

Click here to print the Volume program 2.

* Please note that this is just an example of the weights I would and do use in my training program. You will need to modify the weights to fit your particular level whether it be more or less weight.

I have used just a few of the numerous exercises for back. Depending on the availability of Hammer Strength equipment at your gym, I would supplement some of those pieces of equipment for the T-Bar Rows or the Single Dumbbell Rows.

I hope this program will help you in your endeavor to increase the size and definition of your back. I do modify my workout each week that I work it but these are a few examples of workouts that I perform. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Thanks,