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Built By Science Daily Trainer: Day 3, Back

You might not be able to see it very well in the mirror, but your back is a chief player in every part of your physique. A great back will make you look wider and thicker and will help you improve the functional strength of your upper body!

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To build an awesome back, it's important to work all of the big muscle groups. I selected the following exercises because they each target a specific muscle group in your back. By putting the movements together in one workout, we'll be working the entire upper and middle back.


The workout may only be four exercises, but resist the urge to do more. Your back muscles will get enough work, but it's still up to you to make sure every single set is intense. Be honest about the work you're doing in the gym. If you can go harder, do it.

If chin-ups are beyond your ability level right now, that's no reason to give up on this great lat-building movement. Use a resistance band, or use a jump and a flexed-arm hold at the top. It's that pause at the top that's really important to build muscle and improve your technique.

If you haven't already watched the back overview video, go do it! You'll learn more about why we're doing the exercises we are and how to execute them more effectively.

Put focus and intensity into every single rep. It's back-building time!

Tempo Training

Perform the exercises below at the prescribed tempo to maximize time under tension (TUT). Tempo is shown as a series of 3 numbers, such as 3-0-1.

  • The first number (3) is the eccentric, or lowering, component of the lift.
  • The second number (0) denotes any pause at the midpoint.
  • The third number (1) is the concentric, or lifting, component.

Regardless of the exercise, the first number is always the eccentric and the third number is always the concentric.



4 sets of as many reps as possible Tempo: 3-1-1. Rest: 60-90 seconds
Chin-Up Chin-Up


One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3-4 sets of 10 reps Tempo: 3-1-1. Rest: 60 seconds
One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row


Dumbbell Incline Row

3-4 sets of 10 reps Tempo: 3-1-1. Rest: 60 seconds
Dumbbell Incline Row Dumbbell Incline Row


Face Pull (single arm)

3-4 sets of 15 reps Tempo: 2-1-1. Rest: 60 seconds
Face Pull Face Pull

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