MuscleTech athlete Dylan Thomas' new back workout is designed for anyone who wants to prep for stage work, whether for photos or actual competition, although it's also great for those just wanting to get their back ripped.
Start out by doing a bunch of bodyweight reps to wake up your lats and tell them that the day of reckoning is at hand. Then, work your way through a superset of single-arm and double-arm rows to take your muscles to failure. Finally, wrap up with a heavy-duty combination of trap-bar deadlifts and Pendlay rows to add some solid muscle tissue.
Thomas has created a fast, high-rep, high-volume workout that will make your muscles pop and get you ready to be seen. Incorporate this workout into your routine every 5-7 days, or when an event comes up where you really want your back to shine!
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Wide-Grip Pull-up: Your goal will be to do 60 reps over 4 sets. Get into a rhythm and pay attention to doing a full negative portion to get in a good stretch and really engage your lats on the way up. If you can't do all 15 reps each set, attach a band to the rack to give yourself a little assistance so you can get all the volume possible from this exercise.
Neutral-Grip Pull-up: You'll add 40 more reps with this exercise, for a grand total of 100 reps in the first two movements alone. All these reps will pump your muscles full of blood and get you ready for the weighted exercises to come. As with the wide-grip pull-ups, get a deep stretch at the bottom of the range so you work the lats and not the biceps.
Wide-Grip Lat Pull-down: As you do this exercise, keep your chest propped up and out and arch your lower back. Pull the bar all the way to your lower chest with each rep to keep your lats activated and your biceps at bay.
Seated Cable Row: Once again, focus on the negative portion of the movement to keep stretching and working your lats. That will keep these back muscles engorged with blood and help you get a deeper contraction when you move on to the weighted exercises.
Seated One-Arm Cable Pulley Row: The idea behind this superset is to fatigue the muscle before you do the barbell rows, deadlifts, and Pendlay rows. As you do the single-arm cable pulley row, make sure you have a slight twist in your torso so you can get a deeper contraction of the lower lats. Since this single-arm row is meant to re-fatigue your muscles, use a relatively light weight.
Seated Cable Row: You've taken your back muscles to fatigue with the single-arm movements at a relatively light weight. Now, bump the weight up quite a bit (Thomas goes from 60 pounds for one arm to 225-250 pounds for two arms). This time, take your muscles to failure.
Bent-Over Barbell Row: Now you're ready to start packing on some dense muscle. As you do these rows, try to keep your back at about a 90-degree angle to your legs. Practice good scapular movement by allowing your shoulders to protract forward on the way down, then retract them on the way up. This full range of scapular motion will give your lats yet another good stretch and squeeze.
Trap-Bar Deadlift to Pendlay Row: Your goal with this exercise pairing will be to use explosive power and move some heavy weights. Thomas calls for only 6 reps per set, but two reps will count as one, so you'll really be doing 12 reps per set. To do this, pick the weight up with the trap bar, lower it back to the ground, then do a Pendlay row. This double movement will count as one rep. As you do these movements, keep your chest up to maintain the 90-degree angle, then explode through the movement as you rise up. For the Pendlay portion, continue to maintain the 90-degree angle, but row your hands more toward your back so you can get a good contraction as you roll your lats.