1. Finish Strong
Other than the glutes-quadriceps-hamstrings complex, your back is the strongest muscle group you’ve got. Add in the fact that the back is made up of multiple muscles, including the rhomboid major and minor, teres major and minor, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, and trapezius, among other connecting groups, and you have a complicated body part to stimulate. In order to give every bit of it the attention it needs, make sure you’re working multiple angles and using a number of grips throughout your back workout. A final movement that elicits utter exhaustion may help too, especially if you’re struggling to get over a developmental plateau.
This 100-rep finisher will help you break down any remaining stubborn muscle fibers and can be done with a pull-down movement or rowing exercise. Choose the former if you’re looking to improve your width and the latter if you need thickness. You can also alternate the two from workout to workout if you want to improve both facets.
The key is to use a machine exercise rather than a free-weight move, since a fixed motion is the safer option for maximum effort, especially when you’re already fatigued. Also, use straps to secure your grip—otherwise, your forearms will likely give out well before your back.
Pick a weight that would elicit failure at 20-25 reps, and have a clock with a second hand in sight, if possible. Here’s how the finisher should break down from there:
- Do reps until you reach momentary muscle failure, where you can’t do another with proper form. Take that number of reps and subtract it from 100 for your rest period—if you did 20 reps, rest 80 seconds.
- After 80 seconds, begin repping again until you reach failure, starting at 21. If you get to, say, 35, you rest 65 seconds this time, and then begin again.
- Keep going until you’ve done 100 reps in total. Toward the end, the number of reps you can get in one turn will decrease. Stick with the 100-minus-total-reps rest scheme, as it helps increase intensity by compressing your work-to-rest ratio.
- As you improve and get stronger with the weight you choose, you can bump up the resistance in a future workout.