3 Back Exercises Every Weightlifter Should Be Doing Weekly

Before you start skimming the article to find three new, trendy, and “magical” back exercises, stop real quick and ask yourself one honest question…

“Do I do strict pull ups, bent over rows, and back extensions, each at least once per week?”

If you answered yes (honestly), kudos to you. That’s some real dedication.

If however, you answer with a “usually”, or straight out “no”, well then, you have some work to do my friend.

Why You Need to Train Back

The back is nearly as fundamental for weightlifting as your legs. By nature, snatches, cleans, jerks, and yes, squatting, all are in some degree dependent upon you back strength, postural awareness, and overall muscular development.

While squats and other fancy barbell complex variations may consume a majority of a weightlifters training time, neglecting some of the most basic movements to build mass, strength, and secure a stronger, more stable positioning can lead to stalled progress and frustration.

A photo posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Feb 7, 2017 at 4:28am PST

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At the end of every training session I will often program one-two assistance exercises with the goal of hypertrophy, re-patterning joint integrity, and/or placing additional focus on an athlete’s weak link (grip, core strength, balance, etc).

Weightlifters should increase the frequency in which they train back so that they can develop stronger lats, grip strength, and secure maximal tension in the pulls and squatting movements. By increasing the frequency (times per week trained) we are able to train in lower volume (sets x reps x loads) per sessions while decreasing soreness (as compared to blowing out back all in one day), which will allow you to still train at a moderate to high level.

By adding each one of these fundamental back exercises into your training once per week (at the very least), you will not only increase you back health, but also pulling, squatting, and overhead performance.

Pendlay Row

Previously I discussed  the history, benefits, and applications behind the Pendlay Row. Weightlifters can build this into the back half of their sessions, driving back and hips strength and overall muscles development directly applicable to the deadlift and pulling phases to the clean/snatch.

A video posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Jan 8, 2016 at 2:30pm PST

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Hypertrophy Workout

Below is a sample workout you can do to drive muscular hypertrophy.

  • 5 sets of 8-12 every 90-120 seconds
  • Load the bar with 50-70% of 1 rep max clean and jerk
  • Strict reps, resetting briefly in between every rep

Strength Workout

Below is a sample workout you can do to drive muscular strength.

  • Work up to heavy 5 rep max, then perform 2 sets of 5 reps at 90% of 5 rep max
  • Strict reps, resetting briefly in between every rep

Pull Ups

In an earlier article I discussed the importance of pull up training for weightlifting and the specific applications to snatches and overhead performance. Strong lats are critical for stable, flexed setups, front squatting, and overall pulling performance.

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Hypertrophy Workout

Below is a sample workout you can do to drive muscular hypertrophy.

  • 5 sets of 8 pull ups every 90-120 seconds
  • Add weight if can
  • No kipping, all strict, with pause at top

Strength Workout

Below is a sample workout you can do to drive muscular strength.

  • 8 sets of 3-5 pull ups every 2 minutes
  • Add weight if can
  • No kipping, all strict, with pause at top

Weighted Back Extension

Weighted back extensions are perfect for developing the erectors, glutes, and middle traps, all necessary for a stronger squat, pull, and general weightlifting positioning for snatches, cleans, and jerks. While maximal strength will be developed via squats and pulls, these accessory movements should be done to increase the muscle mass available to perform more strength-based movements.

A video posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Jul 30, 2016 at 1:19pm PDT

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Hypertrophy Workout

  • Below is a sample workout you can do to drive muscular hypertrophy .
  • 4 sets of 8-10 reps every 90-120 seconds
  • Load with barbell on back or by holding plates.

Final Note

While these are no-brainer when it comes to some of the most effective and efficient exercises to develop strength and muscle mass for the back, many athletes and coaches just flat out don’t do them enough. Not training back in a similar fashion as you would train you overhead and squatting strength can be limiting your true potential. Therefore, simply add these three movements into your current routine, performing each at least once every week. In a month or two, you will not only feel stronger, you may actually BE stronger!

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured Image: Martin Romero Photography via @mikejdewar on Instagram

The post 3 Back Exercises Every Weightlifter Should Be Doing Weekly appeared first on BarBend.

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