Back Workout of the Week – Winter 2013 Week 7

Week 7: Week 7 focuses on lifting more weight and building strength.

Training Goals:

  • Weight is kept high, volume is moderately high.
  • Pull-up strength is addressed by performing pull-ups prior to rowing exercises, and performing pull-ups with added weight.

Week 7: Strength Building

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

  • Face Pulls
  • Sets/Reps: 3 x 15 with a moderately light weight

Pull-ups: We’re working on increasing pull-up strength, so we start your back workout with pull-ups, all sets will be with added weight if possible.

  • Add weight to your 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 without added weight, don’t add weight
  • If you cannot get at least 3 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 3 reps
    • Use double overhand, wide grip
  • Perform 4 sets to failure
    • On your last 2 sets, perform a drop set: complete as many reps as possible with added weight, then drop the weight and continue to failure again

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: Try to increase the weight slightly from last week
    • Set 1: Use your 10 Rep Max (10RM)
    • Set 2-4: Use your 5RM
    • 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: As many reps as possible; use some cheat technique to get additional reps
    • Set 5: Until you (nearly) regret googling BWOW, 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, Supported:

  • Weight: Use your 10RM, try and bump the weight up slightly over your previous 10RM

Note: If your gym does not have heavy enough dumbbells for the massive back strength, a common problem for BWOWers, particularly if you lift in a commercial box, you can wrap a chain around your wrist to add additional weight to your dumbbell rows.

  • Sets/Reps:
    • Set 1: 10 reps
    • Set 2-3: Row to failure, try and beat 10 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: Set up 1 plate above your 10RM on the lat pull-down machine
  • Sets/Reps: 3 sets to failure, try and get at least 10 reps without cheating with upper body momentum
  • 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.

Standing Hammer 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:
    • Hammer Curls: Use your 10RM
    • Cable Rows: Use your 20RM
  • Sets/Reps: 3 supersets
    • Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
    • Cable Rows: 3 sets of 20 reps
    • Start with hammer curls
    • Complete cable rows after your hammer curls
  • Rest:
    • No rest between cable rows and hammer curls
    • Short rest between hammer 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.

Standing Barbell Curls:

  • Weight:
    • Set 1: Use your 10RM
    • Set 2: Bump the weight up slightly from set 1
    • Set 3: Bump the weight up again from set 2
  • Sets/Reps: Complete 3 sets to failure; try to complete at least 10 reps on all sets
  • Rest: Keep rest relatively short, 1-2 minutes


  • Overall volume this week remains close to that used the preceding weeks. Weight should increase somewhat, and work both your back and biceps very well.

Workout Plan:  2013 Winter – BWOW Week 7 v1 – Web

BWOW plans for this cycle:



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