We continue to acquaint our builders and jocks with muscle gain programs. Today we will talk about back. It is the one of the biggest muscle group in your body that’s why the article will be big too. Yes, you will have plough through many words, but it’s worth it.

Firstly, let’s look through ten rules concerning back training and only after this move on to program’s practical side. They are as simple as all ingenious. Most builders know these rules, but maybe intuitively. We decide to collect them together. Let’s go.

Rule 1: Train at least half of exercises with free weights

No matter what gym you would choose for training, large and fashion, one of  sports nets, or small underground gym called itself ‘elite’, there is only couple machines allowed to train back. There is huge amount of back machines in some very large gyms, where you have the opportunity change them every week and train your back the whole year, but at the end of the year your result will be the same. WTF?

The answer is in workout with free weights. Training with back machines is effective only in addition to such a routine. If you do not practise a couple of hard exercises at your back day, don’t hope for its growth.

Of course, it is more difficult to work with weights than using machines: to lift one hundred kilo barbell to the waist is not as easy as sit on the sparkling chromed machine. But if you want a monster muscular back, train at least half of exercises just with free weights!

Rule 2: Pull-ups and pull-downs do not replace each other.

This rule is the logical continuation of the previous one. It is so important that worthy to be emphasized in the separate rule. We have already considered the question about what the best are, pull-downs or pull-ups in article “Pull Ups vs. Pulldowns”. In short, sense is the next. Pull ups are very, very important for the back. Once more, this is ultimate necessary exercise for the back. But only few sportsmen (keep calm, it’s not about workouters) can do it right and have benefits.

Proper pull up means the next technique scheme: pull your torso up until your chest and bar will have 5 centimetres distance. Fix your body at this contracted position, make a micropause, pinch your shoulder blades together and stretch upper back muscles.

After that slowly and under control, lower your torso so your arms are fully extended. Keeping static stress in latissimus, repeat the motion. In any case, we have “Pull-Up Exercise” guide you can get acquainted with.

You can easy repeat the proper pull ups technique training Lat Pulldowns. But... Diablo is in details. Hundreds and thousands young jocks and mature builders show good results with enough big weights on pull-down machines, but form of their backs do not admire and inspire. Alas.

Jocks often ignore pull ups. The reason is they cannot do them and do not know how to do certain number of reps. Convulsions on the pull-up bar are not pull ups themselves. Even sausages on the skillet look calmer. Nevertheless absolutely every man, especially sportsman, can achieve excellent results in pull ups. The case is in regular practise only.

Rule 3: During back training pinching muscles together trying to feel their work. 

Of course, you can train so hard that will feel nothing. Nevertheless muscles will grow anyway (you can see it, for example, on your arms and legs). There is another story with back: if you train lat pulldowns, in most cases all the load laid on biceps and rear delts.

Maybe everyone saw sportsmen at the gym with well developed shoulders and arms but with back like Sara Bernard came from the sky. Everytime when such builders do back routine, their biceps do all the work. Hey, guys, you should understand what you do and develop connection between muscle and brain.

Not a bad variant pronounce mentally “pinch” and “stretch” during positive and negative phase of each back exercise. You may need to low weights in compare with which you use to feel how the muscle work, or, at least, until you understand the right technique.

Don’t be shy; in fact, you never train your back.

Rule 4: Avoid cheating like devil avoids holy water

All of us were witnesses of builders’ careless work towards different muscle groups. But the very hell is when such “professionals” train back. Practically all of them use inertia.

For example, let’s take one-arm dumbbell row. Few of cheaters can take 50 kilo dumbbell and does exercise with proper technique achieve good contraction at the top point. But every Tom, Dick and Harry can take 60-70 kilo and makes a show that should finish with the call of an exorcist or burning at the stake. 

Moreover, using cheating in back training is not homme il fout and movement look like an epileptic attack, additionally huge loads lay on joints and tendons. So tossing the dumbbell in best case just stop the progress, in worst – will lead you to injury of lower back or biceps. Nobody knows how long you will recover and how much money you will spend. 

So leave your pride and the desire to show off, use only those weights that lead to proper technique.

Rule 5: Do exercises at different angles

Back is the biggest and the most complex muscle group. Your favourite biceps cost nothing. All you need for its growth is just to train curls. On the contrary, back needs much more. As minimum, one vertical pulling movement (pull up is excellent example and illustration), one horizontal pulling movement (seated cable row), and some little things like pullovers, hyperextensions and shrugs (see our “must read” latest article «Shrugs. User manual»)

Those sportsmen, who have large experience at gym, should change grips: do not just use weights, but try to load your torso muscles at different angles.

Rule 6: Stretching between sets is essential

One of the important parts of developing the monster back is spreading shoulder blades apart. Good help is the stretch of lats. The technique is simple: grab the vertical bar above your head with one arm. Stick your hips back and spread the lat at the side where you grab the bar.

Some of the fitness gurus sure that aggressive stretching (at the moment when muscle is full of blood) facilitate muscle fascia stretching. And this leads to muscle growths.

As far as we know, there are no proven researches but many people are confident in benefits of such a stretch. We recommend to get acquainted with our article “Stretching: impact on strength training”.

Rule 7: Take care of your lower back

Injuries are always a bad thing. If you have injured lower back, forget about back routine. You will have to draw the line towards many exercises: pulldowns, shrugs with big weights, squats and presses above the head.

To avoid this you need to follow several simple rules. To not injure your back do not round it. Bend trunk slightly at waist constantly. This is a natural curve. It should be in every pulldowns and squats. Neutral spine is a right and good thing. “Shitting dog” style is the very bad variant.

The second rule you should follow – to lead increase the strength of lower back. Train your hyperextensions and barbell good morning exercises as hard as you can. At the same time, try to increase weights, but only with proper technique, of course, because the technique is always more important than weights. When you will become sure that do right all 10 reps of hyperextension with 40 kilos, you can have a calm sleep, your lower back is ok.

Rule 8: Change your routine plans constantly

Ideal time for every program is about two months. After this period you should change it. In live we use one training routine while we have results. It’s not mortal, but not right.

Once in a month, if your program so good, that you don’t want replace it, change width of grip, quantity of reps and sets, and the order of exercises. In short, change everything you can.

Also, once in a month, you can change your workout schedule so your back would have training not in back day, or train it with another muscle group. The one thing you should remember is not to train back after biceps workout. In this case load on the back will be wrong and biceps will be overloaded.

Rule 9: Include deadlifts in your routine obligatory

Every owner of monster back can arrange a little lecture about pulldowns benefits in developing so muscular back. Yates, Coleman, Jackson, all of them, constantly and regularly, as Present Simple, did deadlifts.

It is not obligatory to lift barbell from the floor. I saw many times how sportsmen couldn’t do simple deadlift from the floor just because of physiological characteristics (not talking about Sumo, Romanian, stiff-legged deadlift). So partial lifts at power rack from knee level are very effective in back muscles development. Whatever variant you choose, only lifts should be the highlight of your workout routine. Many sportsmen have achieved incredible results using deadlifts. You can do it too.

Rule 10: Take attention to your back strength and development

Well, perhaps, the main factor in back development is the irresistible desire to sculpt your back. You can often meet guys at gym who cares about biceps and abs building. But it is much better, when they warning about absence of growing in weights indicators in press and lifts exercises. The progress in this case is very visible. Remember: if you don’t see your back in the mirror, it doesn’t mean that other people don’t see it too. They see it very well, trust me.

Thus, we have gone through 10 main rules about back training. Now it is time to get acquainted with training routine itself.

This is a mass gain program. It is logical to gain in the autumn. Main targets of this program are to increase strength and volume of back muscles, gain more muscle mass on the whole and correct the posture. The level of the program is upper intermediate. Be ready.

This complex helps you not only to correct your posture (it is a goal not only of workouts, but constant attention on your back at least first two week until it becomes an automatic habit). Using the program presented below you can try to correct scoliosis and kyphosis. Of course, it is easier to do this during adolescence because the vertebrae are more mobile, but exercises are quite difficult and a beginner barely can do them.

Using this program is prohibited for those who have herniated discs, disc protrusion or just pain in back. Briefly, everyone who hasn’t back injuries and has desire to make it bigger and more powerful – you are welcome.

The principal of program is the next: on the first training load will be given to extensors and traps, at the third – the lats, rhomboids and teres major. Back is a big muscle massive and it has a lot of big muscles.

The second training should last not more than hour – it is cool down in its sense. The first and the third last about two hours. Those, who want to tell their “expert opinions” about muscles that are left without attention, should practice the program first. Yes, use it as it should be used, and only after make a decision about additional exercises for another muscle groups.

Let’s go.

First workout: back and shoulders training

  • Decline Crunch: 3*15;
  • Hyperextensions: 3*10;
  • Barbell Deadlift: 5*10;
  • Barbell Shrugs: 3*15;
  • Stiff Leg Barbell Good Morning: 4*10;
  • Military Press: 4×10;
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise (Power Partials): 3*15. 

Second workout: legs and chest training

  • Barbell squats: 5*10;
  • Lying Leg Curls: 3*15;
  • Leg Press: 3*15;
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 5*10;
  • Dumbbell Flyes: 3*10.

Third workout: back and arms training

  • Parallel Bar Leg Raise: 3*15;
  • Pullups: 4*10;
  • Bent Over Barbell Row: 5*10;
  • Parallel Grip Pulldown: 4*10;
  • Parallel Bar Dips: 3*10;
  • Barbell Curls: 3*15;
  • Flat Bench Pullover: 3*15;

Here it is, muscle gain program for monster back. As usual, you should have proper nutrition plan, enough sleep and the main thing – an irresistible desire to develop. All these will help you achieve the result. Your back will become really remarkable. Girls will feel themselves confident behind it. 

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