You know what the meaty back days entail. You walk into the weight room, and you crawl out. You spend an hour and a half clubbing the back with set after heavy set of deadlifts, rows, and other assorted painful movements. At the end of the day, your back is pumped, you don’t fit in your shirt, and you know tomorrow is going to being some soreness. This is the way you should always train, right?
Not exactly. There are going to be times when you don’t want to all-out destroy the back with heavy barbell and dumbbell movements. Maybe your central nervous system is a bit down, and you’re fighting off an illness. Maybe you’re letting a tweaked or overly sore area recover from what has been a bad week. Perhaps your joints are just starting to ache and you’re ready for a workout that doesn’t involve moving steel without guidance. Perhaps it is a week or two before an upcoming show, and your body fat levels are so low that your joints and brain just cannot handle the thought of deadlifting and rowing the bar today. Whatever your reasoning may be, there are going to be times when a pump is all you want, and all you need. When those circumstances arrive, look to a pumping routine like this one to fulfill your back training needs without leaving your joints in a tizzy!
Start with the granddaddy of safe movements for the back. Lat pulldowns deliver a path-guided stimulus package to the upper and outer lat muscles. You’re not going to get particularly thick using this movement, but you are going to deliver some hardness, width, and presence to the back muscles by using this movement.
Hammer Strength Pulldowns
Now, let’s finish off the upper back with some hammer strength pulldowns! You’ve already exhausted the outer back muscle with a pumping movement in the pulldowns, so it’s time to move to something a little heavier, with a lot less fluidity of motion. You’ll be pulling an actual weight this time, but the pre-defined arc of motion that the pulldown machine allows is even less than the cable pulldowns allowed. Just focus on moving the weight. Your stabilizer muscles don’t be recruited, and you won’t need to control anything. Just pull, baby!
It’s time to move some of that blood from the outer back to the inner back. Have a seat, despite your uber-pumped back, and proceed to knock out four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of slow, concentrated cable rows. Once you’ve completed these, consider your upper back to be completely finished for the day!
You’ve probably already noticed that this workout doesn’t deliver that heavy blast of lower back stimulation that you see with most deadlift days. That’s okay, because as you probably already know, your lower back can use the rest. Instead, opt for 3 to 5 sets of high volume and low weight hyperextensions. You have your other 48 or 50 workouts this year to pummel the low back with heavy metal thunder. Why not give it a break, and hit those slow-twitch muscle fibers today with some painfully slow hyperextensions?