Category Archives: Back

A Julie Michaelson Back Workout

Workout Description

Lats: they can make you or break you as a figure competitor. I remember my first competition, standing on stage, hearing people in the audience frantically yelling “OPEN!!! OPEN!!!” I remember being in my back pose on that stage, thinking…”wow, somebody up here really needs to get their lats out.” Lo and behold, that somebody was ME! The bigger issue, however, was that in addition to getting my lats “out”, I just needed to get some lats. Period.

I began my quest to grow my lats (aka: wings) and in 12 months time had added 5 inches of width to my back, naturally, with heavy weight and proper nutrition. Of course, in order to gain muscle, we ladies need to eat a surplus of calories to obtain the growth. That surplus must be the right kind of calories, it’s not simply a license to eat!

The most important nutritional tip for gaining muscle that I can offer is proper post-workoutnutrition and supplementation. I have had great results using Scivation’s Xtend. I sip on this during a lift and during cardio. For my post-workout shake I drink 1-2 scoops of Elite Dymatize Whey with Zico Coconut Water, a great natural source of carbs and electrolytes.

The key to a killer lat workout is first knowing how to isolate the lats. For many women, this is a hard muscle to connect with in the mind. It helps to do some “lat-activation” exercises at the beginning of the workout. It’s so easy to use the biceps and other assisting muscle groups when training the back muscles. Real growth comes when you are truly isolating the muscle group you are using which means forming a solid mind-muscle connection.

My favorite “lat-activation” exercise is done by hanging from a pull up/chin up bar and simply using just the lats to move the body. At first you will likely only move just a couple of inches. Go from a dead hang, then use just the lats to create the movement upward. Do 3-5 reps like this, slow and controlled, doing a total of 3 sets before beginning the workout.

The following workout should be performed with the heaviest weight you can lift with PROPER form. Proper form is critical! To really focus on that mind-muscle connection with your back muscles, you don’t want to be using speed and momentum to move the weights. Slow and controlled. This workout should be intense, meaning heavy with short rest intervals. I like to take 60 seconds rests between sets but sometimes will stretch it to 90 seconds if I’m trying to add load. This is a great workout for a 5 day split. If back is your lagging body part move the back workout to the first day of your training week.

Beginner Back Workout

Workout Description

Welcome to the beginner back workout. This workout has been designed for new lifters looking to build some muscle and size on their back. It comprises of 7 sets and 3 exercises, and hits all major back muscles.

This workout should be performed once per week only to allow for adequate recovery.

Workout Notes:

  1. Perform a 2 set warm-up before this workout. First set with a very light weight, and the second set with half the weight used on the first exercise.
  2. Strict technique on all exercises. (see back exercises)
  3. Aim to improve at least one aspect of your workout each week.

Sean Sullivan’s Back Specialization Workout

Workout Description

Rest between all sets is 90 seconds unless specified.

3 Week Muscular Back Building Rotation

Workout Description

This is a 3 week back building workout rotation that can be inserted into any split routine. You will be focusing on variations of the same exercise.

Week one will be a heavier week. You will use the 3 big hitters:

  • Deadlifts
  • Barbell Rows
  • Wide Grip Pull Ups

Dumbbell shrugs are added to the mix as a finisher.

Week 2 will be a light week using higher reps, followed by week 3 which is a moderate week and average reps.

During each of the 3 weeks of this program you need to focus on maximizing every set. Push sets for as many reps as possible, stopping a set when you feel like you might fail on the next rep, or when your exercise form starts to noticeably deteriorate.

Use as much weight as possible for each of the exercises. Add weight when you hit the upper level of the rep range for a given set. For example, lat pull downs call for 12 to 15 reps. When you are able to reach 15 reps with a given set, add more weight.

Keep your weight increases small. Better to make slow, steady progress.

Roger Lockridge’s Intense 4 Week Superset Back Workout

Workout Description

This routine is designed to build back muscles as outlined in my How To Use Supersets To Build A Thick & Wide Back article, which focuses on developing the thickness and wideness of the upper and mid back, as well as lower-back strength.

The weekly workouts are all designed from the same template: 6 back exercises that have been broken down into 3 supersets, which means Exercise B should be performed directly after Exercise A with a 60 second break between supersets.

The Cobra Workout

Workout Description

In your mind, what is the most crucial upper body workout of the week?

If I had to guess, many of you answered “chest” or simply “bench”.

I’m also willing to bet that some of you would answer (in a super meat head caveman voice) “ARMS”.

And hopefully there would be at least a few of you that would agree with my answer – “Back”.

In my opinion, back day is the most crucial upper body workout of the week, and for several reasons.