Science Based Back Training

A well developed back is vital to performance, health, and aesthetics. Here's how to optimally train it:


1️⃣ Highest Muscle Activation: The Lat pulldown to chest with wide grip elicits the highest muscle activity of all exercises. This makes it vital to any program focused on growing your back.
2️⃣ Best Bodyweight Exercise: Wide overhand grip pull-up to back of neck. This exercise has been show to activate the lat's more than any other bodyweight variation.
3️⃣Accessory Exercises: 1 arm dumbbell rows are a great exercise to even out imbalances between your left and right back as well as adding thickness to your back. Deadlifts and rack pulls are also great for Lat development because they expose them to the most amount of weight compared to all exercises.
4️⃣Trapezius Training: Dumbell shrugs have shown to be the most effective at activating the upper traps.

-For middle trap recruitment, a reverse fly machine with your arms at a right angle are the best exercise.

-For lower trap development, a dumbbell reverse fly with your arms slightly bent has been shown to be very effective in many studies.
5️⃣Low Back Exercises: Deadlifts and rack pulls expose your entire back to a large amount of weight which makes them good movements to use for overall development. To isolate the lower back, a reverse-hyper machine is great for this along with a regular back extension.

▪️Volume Recommendations: Volume expert, Dr. Mike Israetel ( @rpdrmike ) recommends staying between 14 to 22 sets per week. Hitting them 2-4 times per week is a good frequency for most as well.
▫️Intensity: Staying between 6-20 reps will be best for most people. Movements that can be loaded heavily such as barbell rows or pull ups could be on the lower end while face pulls or straight arm pulldowns could be on the higher end.

▪️Tips and Tricks: Utilizing a full range of motion is key to growing your lats and back. Take a lighter weight and actually control the weight if you want to grow. The lats also respond very well to peak contractions aka getting a good "squeeze" and flexing the muscle at the peak contraction. Leaning back a bit during Lat pulldowns will actually increase Lat activation by 11% a study has shown as well. Give these try to help blow up your back!

▫️Sample Back/Pull Hypertrophy Day:
1️⃣ Rack Pulls with wide grip: 3x5
2️⃣Lat Pulldowns: 4x8
3️⃣ 1 Arm DB Rows: 4x10
4️⃣Pull-Ups to behind neck: 3x12 ➡️Use rest/pause method if can't complete set
5️⃣ Machine Reverse Fly w/arms at 90* angle: 3x15
6️⃣ DB Shrugs: 3x15


Leave a comment