Back Like a Barn Door

Back Like A Barn Door 

If there is any body part that can’t get too big on a man, it’s the back.  If a woman wants an hourglass frame the top half is lats and delts.  I’m going to give you the basics on how to grow a back so wide it blocks out the sun!

Lift Heavy Or Go Home

Back training should focus on heavy compound free weights. Form should be loose, 6-8 reps most of the time with about 80% perfect form. Lots of body english in other words. So for instance on under hand bent rows, ill do the bar, 95, 135, 185, 225, and 275 for 8 with perfect form and tempo.  Then I’ll do 3 work sets with 315, I’ll get about 4 or 5 great reps then a couple sloppy ones. I’ll count that as 3 sets of 6. The other 6 sets were warm ups.


With back more than any other part you have to get a full contraction. Don’t use weight so heavy that you can’t get your elbows as far behind you as they will go. You want to hold it for a second or so.  So with 6 to 8 reps you want at least 6 reps with full contractions and holds, then 2 forced or cheat reps.

Advanced Techniques

Here are the descriptions of the tricks you will use with the routine  I provided below.  

Forced reps: Hard to have a spotter help you pull a free weight toward you, but with cables and levers they can.

Forced negatives: On those reps your partner helped you pull the handle, you try to hold the contracted position and they pull the handle AWAY from you gently, adding resistance. It should take 6 seconds for the negative phase with this method.

Partial Reps: After you can’t get any more full contractions squeeze out 5 partial contractions

Rest Pause: After you can’t get any more full reps wait 5 seconds and then squeeze out as many as you can.

Drop Sets: Strip weight off the bar for every increment of reps listed. So if you were doing a set of 6 with bent rows, you would take a plate off and do 6 more, then another plate and do 6 more.  

The Routine:

Do this at your own risk. This is a brutal routine, I’m not kidding.  Its how I built my back and I would be on the verge of a panic attack every day before I had to do it. It’s as hard as a leg day. You have to be careful and ARCH YOUR BACK for every exercise. Concave not convex. Lordotic not kyphotic.

It’s your responsibility to be cleared by your doctor to lift and you need to know how to lift to benefit from any routine. Hire a GOOD trainer, one who looks like they lift. Fancy, expensive,  and other certifications aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because there is no PHYSICAL component to getting them. Most trainers can’t lift and can’t show you how either, but if someone is built or has bodybuilding trophies they probably can, certification or not.  I trained one person to win his class at the NPC Masters Nationals and I didn’t have a certification at the time.

Pull Ups: 4 sets of 10  

If you can get more reps than 10 with your body weight hold a dumbbell in your feet.  Try to bring your chest up to the bar, not your chin, and push the bar down like your doing a breast stroke to activate your lats.  Have your partner hold your feet to spot you for forced reps if need be. You’re doing this to warm your whole back up and pre exhaust your lats.  

Under Hand Bent Row: 4 sets of 6

This is almost impossible to explain but I’ll try: bend over about 70 degrees from the waist and have a slight bend in your knees, pull the bar from your knees to your hips, not up to your navel.  Keep your back arched the whole time like your sticking your butt out. Pyramid up in the fashion described above. Use rest pause if you must and a drop set for your last set, stripping off a plate for every 6 you get.  Your doing this to hit your lower lat tie in.

Seated Cable Row: 4 sets of 10

Use a narrow neutral grip and squeeze the handle and push it down instead of pulling it in, while arching your back and sticking your chest up.  You will have to push through your heels to get it moving and bend your knees on the negative (eccentric) phase to take the pressure off your lower back. Using your knees as shock absorbers allows you to keep your back arched. It’s a real small movement and the goal is to get the handles in your groin not your navel. This way it hits your lower lats.  Use 3 forced negatives THEN 5 partial reps every set for 18 total reps each set. I usually get about 8 warm up sets before I fail at 10 reps and my work sets begin.

Supported T-Bar Row Wide Grip: 4 sets of 8

Use the horizontal handles not the angled ones and pull the bar apart. This targets the upper back muscles like the rhomboids, lower and middle traps, rear delts, teres major etc.  Use forced negatives and partial reps for your first 3 work sets and a drop set your last set.  

At the Knee Rack Pulls: 3 sets of 20

This is where you can really hurt yourself so please keep your back arched. Im serious.  Use a smith machine or a power cage so you can set the bar right above the patella when your hands are on the bar and your legs are physically touching the bar. Preform like a deadlift: like your back-flipping slamming your hips into the bar as hard as you can with all your weight on your heels like your trying to push the floor away from you, NOT lift the bar. Keep your shoulders back. If you get a headache STOP! If you keep lifting the headache will last for days and will be up to 2 times worse than a migraine.  Rest pause these to get all your reps and this is to finish off any muscle left un- anihilated.  

That’s it, only 19 work sets but usually about 15 warm up sets that I don’t count.  Its like a high volume DY training. You may need some supplements from the link I have below to survive multiple weeks of this if you hit all your body parts the same way every single day.  Now go to a buffet and get all you can eat tuna rolls.  

That’s a brief cursory overview of how to train your Back. Feel free to ask questions on the forum! its 48,000 strong!

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