If you’re looking for a free, easy-to-follow, and effective back workout routine that can bolster your traps, build thick and broader lats, sculpt rhomboids, and improve the appearance of your upper body, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ve shared an ultimate 12-week back workout plan that is inspired by popular bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Jay Cutler, and Arnold.
This routine will maximize your pulling strength, promote hypertrophy, build a firm, wider, and muscular back, and improve posture.
Whether you’re an intermediate or pro, you can use this program to take your physique to the next level.
How I Created This Back Workout Program?
This routine is inspired by champion and respected bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman, Chris Bumstead, and Arnold.
I’ve explored their different back workout routines and made a complete 12-week schedule dedicating one week to one bodybuilder.
The bodybuilders perform several workout routines; I’ve customized them according to what I feel is suitable and designed this program.
It includes various exercises for every back muscle, especially the latissimus dorsi, and trapezius.
You can follow this program for three months if you want to grow your mass, increase your strength, and build a mountainous back.
12 Week Back Workout Routine for Ultimate Growth
- Week 1 – CBum Back Workout
- Week 2 – Arnold Back Workout
- Week 3 – Kai Greene Back Workout
- Week 4 – Ronnie Coleman Back Workout
- Week 5 – Lee Haney Back Workout
- Week 6 – Jay Cutler Back Workout
- Week 7 – Phil Heath Back Workout
- Week 8 – Dorian Yates Back Workout
- Week 9 – John Meadows Back Workout
- Week 10 – Flex Wheeler Back Workout
- Week 11 – Big Ramy Back Workout
- Week 12 – Dexter Jackson Back Workout
All these bodybuilders are known for their massive and phenomenal back development. I’ve compiled their back workout training and customized it for you.
- Rest time between sets: You can rest 60 seconds to 3 minutes between sets.
- Reps x sets: You can adjust the number of reps and sets depending on your need.
- Warm-up before workout: Do 3-5 minutes of treadmill jogging, 15-20 Superman pull, 5-10 floor IYT raises, 5-10 dive bomber pushups, 10-15 banded pull-apart, 10-15 pull-ups, and 15-20 lat pulldown (lightweight). Warm-up increases body temperature, prepares the muscle for intense exercises, and minimizes the risk of injuries.
Disclaimer: Every bodybuilder has their own approach to training back, and just copying that approach won’t help you achieve the same results as them. So, it is better to mix up their routine. Instead of performing the exercises outlined below, you should also focus more on what works best for you.
Week 1 – Cbum Back Workout
Two times runner-up and four times Mr. Olympia Classic Physique winner Chris Bumstead, aka CBum, is known for his outstanding shape, symmetry, and massive back.
From barbells and dumbbells to machines, Chris performs various exercises to sculpt his back.
Here’s one of the workout routines he follows on his back day.
|Front Lat Pulldown||3–4||10–15|
|Bent Over Row||3–4||10–15|
|Machine Chest Supported Row||3–4||10–15|
|Seated Cable Row||3–4||10–15|
|Dumbbell Lower Lat Row||3–4||8-10|
Week 2 – Arnold Back Workout
The thick, massive, and symmetrical back was one of the reasons why Arnold bagged Mr. Olympia’s title seven times.
Arnold used to train his back from every angle using a variety of exercises, including the pull-up, pulldowns, and rows.
He prioritizes compound lifts, such as deadlifts, bent-over rows, and pull-ups, which simultaneously target the entire back muscles.
Here’s an example of a back workout routine inspired by the most famous Mr Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
|Bent Over Row||3||8-10|
|One-Arm Dumbbell Row||3||10-12|
|Wide-Grip Pulldown (Optional)||3||10-12|
Week 3 – Kai Greene Back Training
Three times Arnold Classic champion Leslie Kai Greene is known for his incredible physique and unique approach to training. He had one of the best backs in the 21st century.
Kai Greene’s back development is characterized by a symmetrical and well-proportioned musculature, including broader lats, thicker traps, sculpted rhomboids, and a strong spine.
Here’s one of the back workout regimes Kai Green followed in his prime.
|Bent Over Barbell Row||4||8-12|
|Seated Cable Row||4||12-20|
Week 4 – Ronnie Coleman Back Workout
Eight times Mr. Olympia (1998-2005), Ronnie Coleman unarguably had the best back in the history of bodybuilding.
His back was perfect in terms of size, proportions, and muscle density during his competitive years.
He concentrated on lifting heavy free-weight exercises, such as bent-over rows, deadlifts, and T-bar rows.
Ronnie followed intense and high-volume training, which requires a high level of strength, endurance, and fitness level.
|T Bar Row||4||10-15|
|Rear Lat Pulldown||4||15-20|
|Seated Cable Row||4||15-20|
|One-arm Dumbbell Row||3||10-12|
Source: Ronnie Coleman YouTube Channel
Week 5 – Lee Haney Back Routine
Lee Haney is a former professional bodybuilder and eight-time Mr. Olympia champion known for his well-rounded physique, including his impressive back development.
His back training includes a combination of compound and isolation exercises that target different parts of the back effectively.
Haney performed a variety of exercises to work both on width and thickness to create a proportionate and aesthetic back.
Here’s one of the back Lee Haney’s back workout routines you can perform during the fifth week.
|Wide Grip Front Pulldown||3||15-20|
|1-arm Pronated Dumbbell Row||2||15-20|
|Wide Grip Front Pulldown||3||10-12|
|Seated Cable Row||3||10-15|
- 1-arm Pronated Dumbbell Row: It is different than the traditional dumbbell row. The pronated row requires you to grab the dumbbell with your palm facing in (instead of a neutral or hammer grip). The promoted DB row targets the trapezius and helps improve the overall muscularity of the back muscles.
- Here AMRAP means As Many Reps As Possible.
Week 6 – Jay Cutler Back Workout
Four times Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler was not only for his amazing physique but also for his humble behavior. He had enormous back muscles, with each part perfectly balanced in his prime.
He trained his back with various compound and isolation exercises and high, medium, and low rep-sets approach for building strength and size.
I’ve picked Cutler’s five best exercises for the sixth week of back training.
|Seated Cable Row||4||10-15|
|One-arm DB Row||2||15/side|
|One-arm Machine Row||2||15/side|
Week 7 – Phil Heath Back Workout Plan
Seven-time Mr. Olympia conqueror Phil Heath had a well-developed and monstrous back in his prime.
Phil prioritizes mind-muscle connections to enhance muscle activation and achieve better results.
He uses a variety of exercises and grip width to target different parts of the back effectively.
|Bent Over Barbell Row||3||10-12|
|Reverse-grip Barbell row (warm-up)||1||8-10|
|Reverse-grip Row (working sets)||2||8-10|
|One-arm Dumbbell Row||3||8-12|
|Cable Lat Pull-down (FST 7)||7||10|
- FST stands for Fascial Stretch Training, and 7 means performing seven sets with little rest between sets. FST 7 is an intense rep-set method that requires a great deal of muscular strength and endurance. You can try as long as it doesn’t burn you out. FST 7 is optional, you can follow a simple rep-set approach.
Week 8 – Dorian Yates Back Workout Routine
Dorian Yates is a six-time Mr. Olympia champion. He had a muscular, sizeable, and aesthetic physique, making him one of the most influential and greatest bodybuilders of all time.
He used to perform heavy compound lifts, such as deadlifts and rows, to build a thick and powerful back.
Dorian believes that performing high-intensity training with relatively low training volume can help him achieve maximum results. That’s why he generally performed fewer sets but pushed each set to near failure, focusing on quality reps over quantity.
Here’s an example of Dorian’s back workout day.
|Exercise||Warm-up sets||Working sets||Reps|
|One-arm Dumbbell Row||1||1||8-12|
|Wide-arm Seated Cable Row||1||1||8-12|
Week 9 – John Meadows Old School Back Workout
|One-arm Landmine Barbell Row||3||10/side|
|Pullover (Hip and Back on the bench)||3||8-10|
|Cable Lat Pulldown||4||8-12|
|Dumbbell Deadlift/Rack Pull||3||6-8|
Week 10 – Flex Wheeler Back Workout
|T-Bar Neutral Grip Row||4||8-12|
|V-Grip Lat Pulldown||4||8-12|
|Seated Cable Row||4||8-12|
|T-Bar Overhand Grip Row||4||8-12|
Week 11 – Big Ramy Back Workout
|Hammer Strength Pulldown||4||10|
|Hammer Strength Row||4||10|
|Bent-over Barbell Row||3||10|
|Hammer Strength Pulldown||3||10|
|Top Deadlift (Dorian Deadlift)||3||10|
Week 12 – Dexter Jackson Back Workout
|Front Lat Pulldown||4||8-10|
|Bent-over Barbell Row||4||8-10|
|Single-arm Dumbbell Row||4||8-10|
6 Best Tips for Maximizing Back Mass and Strength Growth
1. Combination of Exercises
If you want to build a massive, muscular, and defined back, combine the following exercises:
- Compound and Isolation
- Machines, Free weights, and Bodyweight
- Wide, Medium, and Narrow Grip
Combining all these exercises will help target the lats, traps, rhomboid, and erector spine effectively and help you achieve a broad and aesthetic back.
2. Progressive Overload
Increase the load you lift over time to promote muscle growth. Gradually increasing the load to challenge the muscles to push a little harder has shown to be effective in stimulating metabolic response.
Fuel your muscular growth with healthy meals. Consuming a diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and micronutrients helps support muscle growth and recovery. For example, you can have protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, dry fruits, and legumes in your diet.
Recovery is crucial when it comes to muscle growth. Make sure you sleep 7-8 hours every day and allow your back muscles 48-72 hours to recover before you hit them again.
Incorporating certain supplements like protein powder, creatine, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in your pre and post-workout diet can support muscle growth and recovery.
Consistency is key when it comes to achieving the best results. So, try to follow the workout program and maintain your diet throughout the program to build the best physique you want.
Download The Back Workout Plan PDF
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