The Gain Trust™


Back Strength Builder

Note: Always adjust the weight to fit your ability with the given repetition range. Never compromise form or range of motion for additional weight unless specified. Remember, the weights are included to provide a reference for how to structure the sets - i.e. to show whether to increase/decrease weight or keep it consistent as you make your way through the workout.

Warm-up: Use the Upper Body Ergometer (UBE) on medium resistance for 5 minutes. Do three sets of 10 (or half bodyweight max pull-ups, which can be assisted) to get a little bit of extra blood flow.

  1. Pull-Up Pyramid - 12 sets
    1. Wide-Grip Pull-Ups - 10 reps, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, To Failure
      1. Note: If you can't do the number of pull-ups listed, do assisted pull-ups. If you can do the listed number of pull-ups without struggling, add weight. The point of this pyramid is to exert your max effort on each set. So you want to be able to just get the last rep on each set - therefore adjust the additional weight or assistance as necessary.
  2. Superset – 5 sets
    1. Bent-over Barbell Rows – 12 reps, 12, 10, 10, 10 (135lbs, 135, 155, 155, 165)
      1. Note: Start with the bar on the ground in the same position used for deadlifts (hands about shoulder width apart). Keeping your lower back straight and stiff, lift the bar a couple inches off the ground using your legs (arms hanging straight down) and row the barbell into your stomach keeping all other body parts rigid. Release down in a controlled manner and allow the weights to briefly touch the ground before performing the next rep.
    2. Straight-arm Lat Pulldowns - 12 reps (45lbs)
      1. Note: to perform these, start with a two handles attached to a single cable pulley. Your arms should be straight and above eye level. Keeping your arms straight, pull the two handles down simultaneously and separate your arms so that your hands end against the side of your thighs. Squeeze your lats at the bottom and release your arms up slowly, continuing to keep the arms straight.
  3. Superset – 5 sets
    1. Wide-grip Lat (Cable) Pulldowns – 8 reps (150lbs)
      1. Note: use a weight that is heavy enough to make 10 reps to difficult to attain without compromising form.
    2. Close-Grip Cable Rows - 12 reps (140lbs)
      1. Note: Pull back with your shoulder-blades (squeezing them together) and row the handle back toward your sternum. Use your lower back to start your momentum backwards, but don't rely on it once your torso reaches 90 degrees to your legs.
  4. Superset - 7 sets
    1. Straight-leg Deadlifts Pyramid – 15 reps, 12, 12, 10, 12, 12, 15 (135lbs, 155, 185, 225, 185, 155, 135)
      1. Note: Perform deadlifts, slow and controlled and keeping your legs as close to straight as possible for the entire set. 
    2. Bent-over Dumbbell Flies – 20 reps (20lbs)
      1. ote: this part of the superset is designed to keep your upper back engaged in the workout while burning out your lower back by making your squeeze and hold your body in a bent-over position.
  5. Olympic Dumbbell Rows (stomach on incline bench) – 4 sets, 10 reps (65lbs)
    1. Note: Remember to pull up and out with your elbows, not with your hands. This will force the muscles in the back to work more than the biceps.