Superset Back Workouts To Add Major Muscle Quickly

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Let’s face it: it’s always more tempting to train your shoulders, chest, biceps and quads – aka your mirror muscles – over those muscles that make up your back. But neglecting them will lead to an unbalanced and injury-prone physique, so try this six-move session – made up of three supersets – to add size and strength across all the major muscles that make up your back. Focus on “feeling” the muscles move and manage the weight to better engage them, rather than simply watching yourself in the mirror.

Back Workout – Session 1

How to do the workout

This is a six-move session divided into three supersets. Complete a set of move 1A, rest for 30sec, then do a set of 1B, then rest for 60sec. Continue this pattern until all the sets are completed, then use the same method for the other two supersets, to keep working your back hard.

Warm up thoroughly, starting with some shoulder, elbow and wrist movements, then by doing some light lat pull-downs, interspersed with more mobility work in the rest periods between warm-up sets. Gradually increase the weight of each warm-up set while reducing the reps until you’re ready for the first proper work set.

Superset 1

1A Pull-up

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 30sec

Why It’s the classic bodyweight move for a wider back.

How Hang from a bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Brace your abs and glutes, engage your lats, then pull your chin up and over the bar. Pause at the top, then lower yourself back to the start under control.

1B Hammer-grip pull-up

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60sec

Why Changing your hand position makes the move slightly easier so you can hit your back muscles harder.

How Hang with a hands-facing, shoulder-width grip. Brace your abs and glutes, engage your lats, then pull your chin up and over the bar. Pause at the top, then lower yourself back to the start under control.

Superset 2

These two moves work well together in a superset because they use the same kit and the same space, but the movement patterns are very different to work all the major muscles of your back. For the first move, focus on a quality hold at the top position to engage more muscle fibres. For the second, use a light weight to minimise the involvement of any momentum and make the target muscles move. Manage the weight through each and every rep.

2A Prone dumbbell row

Sets 4 Reps 8-10 Rest 30sec

Why It allows you to lift heavy – and hit your mid-back muscles – in safety.

How Lie chest-down on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing. Keeping your chest against the bench, row the weights up, leading with your elbows. Pause briefly at the top, then lower the weights.

2B Prone dumbbell flye

Sets 4 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Why It hits your upper back as well as the back of your shoulders.

How Lie chest-down on the bench holding light dumbbells. With a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights to shoulder height, then lower them back to the start.

Superset 3

This final superset will push your already tiring back muscles to the limit to break down as many muscle fibres as possible so they grow back bigger and stronger. It’s a tough end to a tough workout, but both moves also recruit the biceps, which will get in on the act to help your rapidly fatiguing back muscles get over the finish line.

3A Underhand lat pull-down

Sets 4 Reps 8-10 Rest 30sec

Why This brings your biceps into play to help out your tiring lats.

How Sit supported on the machine, holding a straight bar with an underhand shoulder-width grip. Keeping your chest up, pull the bar down to below chin height. Pause, then return to the start.

3B Seated row

Sets 4 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Why It works your upper back and your biceps again help out.

How Sit at the machine holding the handle with a palms-facing grip. Keeping your chest up and your core braced, pull the handle in towards your bellybutton, leading with your elbows. Pause briefly then return to the start position.

Back Workout – Session 2

How to do the workout

This is a six-move session divided into three supersets. Do all the reps of move 1A then move on to 1B, sticking to the sets, reps, tempo and rest detailed. Then follow this pattern with moves 2A and 2B, then 3A and 3B, to add size and build strength across your back.

Warm up with 10 to 15 empty bar bent-over rows and upright rows, then gradually increase the weight on the bar – while reducing the number of reps per set – until you get to your working-set weight.

Superset 1

1A Bent-over row

Sets 4 Reps 8 Rest 30sec

Why The classic lift for a big back.

How Hold the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Hinge forwards from the hips, then row the bar towards you, leading with your elbows. Pause at the top for a one-count, then lower the bar.

1B Upright row

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Why It hits your traps to create a wider frame.

How Stand tall with your chest up and abs and core braced, holding a barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Row the bar up towards your chin, leading with your elbows. Pause at the top for a one-count, then slowly lower the bar back to the start.

Superset 2

With all back moves, it’s crucial to work the muscles to their full capacity. One of the best ways to do so is to pause at the “top” part of each rep and really squeeze the working muscles hard as they work overtime to keep the weight under control.

2A Wide-grip lat pull-down

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 30sec

Why A wide grip works your lats more.

How Sit on the machine and take a wide overhand grip on the bar. Keeping your chest up, pull the bar down to chin level. Hold that position for a one-count, then slowly return the bar to the start, keeping tension on your lats throughout.

2B Seated cable row

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why It works the muscles of the middle of your upper back.

How Grip the handle with both hands. Sit back and with your chest up, pull that handle towards your bellybutton. Pause, then return to the start position.

Superset 3

In this final two superset the two moves look similar, but you must use lighter dumbbells for move 3B. That’s because more muscles are involved in the first move, so you’re substantially stronger, whereas going too heavy on move 3B can risk damaging your shoulder joint. Prioritise good form and range of motion over weight.

3A Prone dumbbell row

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

Why It works each side of your back independently.

How Lie chest-down on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. Row the weights up, leading with your elbows. Hold for a one-count at the top, then lower them slowly.

3B Prone dumbbell flye

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Why It’s one of the best moves for hitting the rear delts.

How Lie chest-down on an incline bench holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to the sides until they reach shoulder height. Pause for a one-count, then lower them under control.