Back Workout of the Week – Winter 2013 Week 6

Week 6: Week 6 increases the weight to be lifted, and maintains a relatively high volume of heavy sets.

Training Goals:

  • Weight is increased and volume remains moderately high. This should be a challenging week.
  • Pull-up strength is addressed by performing pull-ups prior to rowing exercises, and performing pull-ups with added weight.

Week 6: Strength Building/Hypertrophy

Warm-ups: Warm up your upper body with some shoulder pre-hab work

Pull-ups: We’re working on increasing pull-up strength, so we start your back workout with pull-ups, and use added weight where possible.

  • Add weight to your first two sets, such as:
    • Weight belt to hang weight plates
    • Hold a dumbbell between your ankles
    • Use a weight vest
    • If you cannot get at least 3 reps with added weight, don’t add weight
  • For remaining sets, if you cannot get at least 5 pull-ups on your own, use assistance
    • Assisted pull-up station
    • Resistance bands, set up for reverse resistance
    • Use the minimum assistance required to get at least 5 reps
  • If you can get 10 reps or more on your own, add weight to your subsequent sets as well
  • Use double overhand, wide grip
  • Perform 4 sets to failure

Barbell Rows:

  • You should be somewhat warm after pull-ups, but if you need a couple of warm-up sets to get to your working weight, take them
  • Weight:
    • Set 1: Use your 10 Rep Max (10RM)
    • Set 2-3: Use your 5RM
    • Set 4: Use your 3RM
    • Set 5: Drop Set – 1RM, 3RM, 5RM, 10RM
      • Set up your weight without collars for quick weight changes; use two training partners to change the weights for you.
      • Start with your 1RM, and row to failure.
      • Rack the bar and have your partners change the weight to your 3RM, and continue rowing without rest. Don’t take your hands off the bar or unwrap them if you are using wrist straps. Row to failure.
      • Rack the bar and change to your 5RM and row to failure.
      • Rack the bar and change to your 10RM and row to failure.
      • Weights don’t have to be strict selections; select weights you can easily change quickly.
  • Sets/Reps:
    • Set 1: 10 reps
    • Sets 2-3: 5 reps
    • Set 4: 3 reps
    • Set 5: Until you feel like puking, and your back and biceps are burning.
  • Rest: Take enough rest for your muscles to be fully recovered, except during your drop set (3-5 minutes)
  • Equipment: Use wrist straps if necessary

Dumbbell Rows, Unsupported:

  • Weight:
    • Set 1: Use your 15RM
    • Set 2: Use your 10RM
    • Set 3: Use your 5RM
    • Try and push the weight slightly above your previous RMs
    • Note: If your gym does not have heavy enough dumbbells for the massive back strength you’ve built in the last 5 weeks, you can wrap a chain around your wrist to add additional weight to your dumbbell rows
  • Sets/Reps:
    • Set 1: 15 reps
    • Set 2: 10 reps
    • Set 3: 6 reps
  • Rest: Rest until you are recovered between sets (3-5 minutes), no rest between one arm and the other within a set
  • Equipment: Use wrist straps for this exercise

Lat Pull-downs:

  • Weight: Use your 10RM
  • Sets/Reps: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Rest: Keep rest relatively short, 1-2 minutes
  • Keep your technique strict. Concentrate on initiating the pull-down with your lats, minimize your use of upper body momentum to cheat.

Standing Barbell Curl/Cable Row Superset: Pre-exhaust your biceps, and perform high rep cable rows to engage more of your back muscles in the rows (rhomboids and lower/mid traps):

  • Weight:
    • Barbell Curls: Use your 10RM
    • Cable Rows: Use your 20RM
  • Sets/Reps: 3 supersets
    • Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
    • Cable Rows: 3 sets of 20 reps
    • Start with barbell curls
    • Complete cable rows after your barbell curls
  • Rest:
    • No rest between cable rows and barbell curls
    • Short rest between barbell curls and cable rows, 1-2 minutes
  • Complete your curls with proper form, and minimal use of upper body momentum to curl the weight. Concentrate on initiating your row with your lats and squeezing your shoulder blades tightly at the end.


  • The weight this week should be challenging, and the volume should leave your back and biceps completely spent. Try and push the weight up above your previous maxes, without sacrificing technique.

Workout Plan: 2013 Winter – BWOW Week 6 v1 – Web


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