When it comes to sculpting a physique, there is a tendency for a certain bias or artistic impression, with the back traditionally being completely overshadowed by its attention grabbing agonist, the chest. Now as you can well see through the above example, although after his incredible transformation Charlie Burton is sporting a seriously developed set of Pecs, that leaves some competitive fitness models wanting, due to the intelligence and ingenuity behind his exercise routine he built a back worthy of Greek literature or as our friend Matty Ferrigno said “something Michelangelo carved out”

The foundations of crafting a dominating back lies with developing width, thickness and ultimately strength. The dead lift and the single arm row are staples in achieving this firmament and are generally attributed to the thickness and strength components of the equation. Increasing strength, particularly in the rowing patterns is a necessary prerequisite for completing the more advanced chinning moves.

To create a lat spread so wide it seems almost capable of flight, it’s said the wide grip pull up is the number one tool for the job. I would tentatively side with this opinion, however only with the caveat that you can sequence the muscles correctly and keep under tension for 50 – 70 seconds (circa 10-12 reps). In short, yes it certainly can be a phenomenal tool for back development if you are an experienced lifter or possess a favourable strength to weight ratio, however in the spirit of inclusivity below is a back routine effective for all. If you can wide grip chin for 10 – 12 reps add this as the C series exercise, if not focus on building strength and substitute the pull up for a pull down. This program is inspired by one of my all-time favourite old school lifting enthusiast, Dave ‘the Bomber’ Draper.

Charlie Burton’s back transformed after 8 weeks

 

order

Exercise

Reps

Tempo

Sets

Rest

A1

Dead Lift

10-12/ 8-10/ 6-8

4010

3

90’s

B1 

Single arm Bent Over DB Row

10 -12

3011

3

90’s

C1 

Wide Parallel Grip Pull Downs /wide grip pull ups

10-12

3021

3

90’s

D1 

Seated Low Row

10-12,/ 8-10/ 6-8

3020

3

10’s

D2

DB Pull Over

10-12/ 8-10/ 6-8

3020

3

90’s

(A1, D1&D2: set 1: 10- 12 reps, set 2: 8-10 reps, set: 3 6-8 reps)

 

Written by David Lewis