lat pulldowns for huge and ripped back

by Jason Stallworth

December 3, 2019

It’s common for bodybuilders to train each muscle once a week. You hit it hard, recover, and grow. That makes sense.

But here’s the problem. Not all of your muscle groups are the same. Some are larger and more complex than others, such as your back.

So should you only train back once a week?

Absolutely not!

Think about how small your other upper body muscles are compared to your back. Now ask yourself why would you give the same amount of attention to back as you do, let’s say chest or shoulders?

In this post, you’re going to get 2 back workouts that you can do in the same week. I’ll also show you how to integrate these workouts into a full routine.

*GYM TIP: Do your first back workout on Monday – Monday is International Chest Day in most gyms. So all the back machines should be freed up for you!

Why You Should Consider Training Back Twice A Week

dumbbell rows back exercise

Your back is huge. At least that’s what you want it to be. And hitting back twice a week will help you reach that goal.

Before we dive into your workouts, I want to give you some core reasons why you should consider training back twice a week:

  • It will allow you to work different, or all muscle fibers in your back (you’ll see how this is done in the 2 workouts below)
  • You can choose to work on back thickness one day and back width another
  • Because Ronnie Coleman did it (per Roger Lockridge’s article Get Huge Like The Pros With This Intense 2-Part Back Workout! on Bodybuilding.com)
  • You’ll devote adequate time and attention to your back muscles
  • Because you can’t treat back like other smaller muscles
  • It will lead to overall muscle gains and faster results
  • Your back is a complex muscle group, making it almost impossible to train it in its entirety with just one workout

Now let’s dig into your new back workout schedule and workouts!

Your 2 Back Workouts

plate loaded rows for a massive and ripped back

Your 2 back workouts should not be ‘back to back.’ Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!

Since you’ll be training back twice a week, you’ll want to have at least 2 days between back workouts. But I wouldn’t place more than 3 days between these workouts.

Also, this is a bodybuilding style workout. That means the goal is to build muscle as well as get more defined, which is crucial for back muscles.

Back Workout Schedule

Here’s a sample schedule below:

  • Monday: Back Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Another Workout
  • Wednesday: Another Workout or Rest Day
  • Thursday: Back Workout 2
  • Friday: Another Workout
  • Saturday: Another Workout or Rest Day
  • Sunday: Another Workout or Rest Day

Or you could train back on Mondays and Fridays (I’ll give you that example in the full workout plan).

I personally go back and forth between Mondays/Thursdays and Mondays/Fridays for my back workouts. Both seem to work really well.

Back Workout 1

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bent Over Rows4 x 6
Dumbbell Rows4 x 8
T-Bar Rows4 x 10
Seated Rows4 x 10
Row Machine (Hammer Strength)3 x 15

You’re going to focus on rowing exercises for your first back workout. This should be done early on during the week (as I mentioned, Monday is a perfect back day).

You’ll also be starting out with heavy free weights and compound exercises for this workout. The goal here is to build thickness with sheer pulling power.
*That almost sounds like a truck commercial!

Back Workout 2

ExerciseSets x Reps
Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows4 x 12
Lat Pulldowns4 x 12
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns4 x 12
Cable Pullovers3 x 15

Your 2nd back workout of the week is going to be a little different. You’ll start out with rows but with a reverse grip this time, and more reps. This is going to hit a different part of your lats and will also work different muscle fibers with the higher reps.

You’ll also be doing several sets of pulldowns, which were not included in Back Workout 1. And you’ll be doing more reps for all exercises.

The cool thing about this 2nd back day is you can also fit another muscle in if you wanted. You’re doing a little less volume here than the first back workout.

You could do something like…

  • Back and Hamstrings
  • Back and Biceps (or Triceps)

Or if you want to just focus on your back, that’s fine too. The key to this workout will be going for the pump in your lats. And you also want to make sure you’re forcing the muscles to work. That means no sloppy reps. This is going to make the workout tougher!

*One thing I want to mention is you’re training your back from a variety of angles within these 2 workouts. I have a couple of posts that may interest you if your goal is to also get more definition and striations in your back muscles here:

7 Exercises for a Shredded Back
3 Powerful Tips to Make Your Back Muscles Stand Out

Full Workout Routine With Back Twice A Week

hammer strength high rows back workout

Now let’s integrate your 2 back workouts with a full routine. Below I’m going to give you and schedule and a detailed workout plan for training back twice a week.

As I mentioned in the 2 back workouts above, these workouts cater to bodybuilders. Your goal here is to build muscle mass and also gain definition.

Full Workout Schedule

  • Monday: Back Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Chest and Biceps
  • Thursday: Shoulders and Triceps
  • Friday: Back Workout 2 and Hamstrings
  • Saturday: Rest Day
  • Sunday: Rest Day

Workout Routine With Back 2x A Week

Here’s the full workout routine you can start. Another thing you will notice is that you’re also training legs twice a week.

Like back, your legs deserve more attention than other muscles. So it makes perfect sense to hit them a 2nd time. Similar to this post, I have another post with an entire program for working legs 2x a week here: Training Leg Twice a Week: How to Build Bigger Legs.

Here’s your full workout plan integrating 2 back workouts…

Monday: Back Workout 1

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bent Over Rows4 x 6
Dumbbell Rows4 x 8
T-Bar Rows4 x 10
Seated Rows4 x 10
Row Machine (Hammer Strength)3 x 15

Tuesday: Quads and Calves Workout

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats4 x 8
Leg Press4 x 15
Leg Extensions4 x 15
Single-Leg Press3 x 15
Single-Leg Extensions3 x 15
Standing Calve Raises5 x 15

Wednesday: Chest and Biceps Workout

ExerciseSets x Reps
Incline Bench Press4 x 8
Dumbbell Press4 x 10
Cable Flyes4 x 12
Preacher Curls3 x 10
Dumbbell Hammer Curls3 x 10

Thursday: Shoulders and Triceps Workout

ExerciseSets x Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press4 x 8
Lateral Raises3 x 10
Bent-Over Raises3 x 10
Rope Pressdowns3 x 12
Overhead Dumbbell Extensions3 x 12

Friday: Back Workout 2 and Hamstrings

ExerciseSets x Reps
Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows4 x 12
Lat Pulldowns4 x 12
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns4 x 12
Cable Pullovers3 x 15
Stiff-Leg Deadlifts4 x 10
Seated Leg Curls4 x 10

*You can use the weekends to rest, or you could hit a little extra chest and arms on Saturday or Sunday.

Build a Ripped and Massive Back

At the end of the day (and end of your workout), you want a ripped and massive back. And that’s why you need to consider doing 2 back workouts each week.

Building muscle mass and developing striations require more training volume. That means you need to be doing more sets and reps, overall.

You also need to attack your back (I totally didn’t mean to rhyme) from all angles. Remember, your back in a super complex muscle group. It would be almost impossible to train it in its entirety with just one workout.

Are you ready to start training back twice a week? I hope so! And I hope you got some value out of this post. Now, go make your pre-workout, down a pre-workout drink and go hit the gym (and if today is Monday, do your first back workout of the week!).

**If you’re ready to start an intense 12-week program, check out my premium programs below:

Hardcore Muscle Building Program
Lean Muscle Building Program

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,

Jason

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