A bit of a change of pace this week, Instead of drilling home advanced concepts of applied biomechanics, I thought I’d bring you something a little bit more tangible.

As I’m entering into my third-month post competition I’m slowly trying to regain some semblance of structure in my training, much needed as this was beginning to spiral into the never-ending offseason.

There is somewhat of an “order of operations” I follow when structuring an offseason program, something I’ll cover in more detail in upcoming articles.   But regardless of the desired outcome of a training cycle back training is something that maintains a staple, year-round.

That being said, here is a glimpse into my thought process into structuring back training into my current program:


In the offseason I often substitute my competition lifts for a progressive overload of variations (front squat, deficit deads etc), I allow myself a little bit more leeway to enter into a squat, bench and deadlift day with more fatigue through my back than I would otherwise prefer when in completion prep.

This allows me to train back 2-3 times a week, across two sessions with contrasting intent.


There are two main focuses when it comes to my current back training.

Session 1) Lat emphasis with minor upper back piece.

-      Exercise 1: Heavy  lat focused compound movement eg: weighted Neutral grip pull-ups supinated barbell rows)

-      Exercise 2: Lat isolation – focusing on fully shortened position e.g.: machine-based horizontal row

-      Exercise 3: Lat isolation- focusing on fully stretch position e.g.: Single arm supinated lat pulldown, DB pullover

-      Exercise 4: Lat focused output- Usually a machine or something heavily externally stabilized, targeting mid-range of strength curve- utilize interest variations to increase volume (rest-pause, drop set, etc)

-      Exercise 5: Upper back focused isolation e.g: machine shrugs, DB rear delt flys.
Session 2) Upper back emphasis with minor lat piece.

-      Exercise 1: Heavy upper back focused compound movement e.g. Pronate grip dead stop barbell rows, Single arm DB Rows

-      Exercise 2: Rhomboid isolation in fully shortened position: E.g. Neutral grip bilateral machine row.

-      Exercise 3: Rear Delt isolation in fully shortened e.g single arm cable rear delt fly.

-      Exercise 4: Upper back focused output eg: Single arm DB row, barbell shrug.

-      Exercise 5: Lat isolation exercise: eg: Rope Pullover


Having a basic framework like this is my preferred method of operation when it comes to training. It allows for flexibility in exercise selection because you’re not trying to focus on the implement or training medium, you're just focused on challenging the muscle in a particular way, through a particular range.  When you rarely find yourself in the same gym twice, this model is extremely adaptable and extremely effective.

Clarity of vision.

Flexibility of process.

Stay Strong,

Jordan Shallow