"A lot of bodybuilders don't think outside of plates and quarters, but sometimes fives and two-and-a-halfs are gonna be helpful."

Innovative thinking can bring you great results, and that's the idea behind this back training session. In this video, Josh Bryant walks through a full back workout, performed with Greg McCoy and Tyrus Hughes.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

This deadlift variation changes several small things from a traditional deadlift to maximize safety and results. The lift is performed in a rack with the weight elevated on pins to several inches below the knee. The increased width of the grip—which should be somewhere outside the rings, and the wider the more difficult—puts much more stress on the upper back, traps, and rear delts than a traditional grip.

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The protocol is to work up to a heavy weight for five reps (510 in the video) and then a rest pause set: perform as many reps as you can, rest 20 seconds, perform as many reps as you can, rest 20 seconds, and then perform as many reps as you can one final time. For this workout, Greg's rest pause set is six reps, three reps, and one rep.

Mechanical Advantage Dropset Pull-Ups

For this movement, start by taking a wide grip and doing as many pull-ups as possible. This should be your weakest grip. After going to failure, rest 10 seconds and switch to underhand supinated chin-ups, which should be a stronger grip. After going to failure on reps again, rest 10 seconds and switch your grip once more to a neutral grip pull-up, which should be your strongest grip of the three. Rest two minutes at the end and repeat the entire protocol twice. This will be nine total sets of pull-ups.

Isometric Chest-Supported Row

For this movement, each set begins with an eight-second isometric pull. Pull as hard as possible and hold at the top for a full eight-second count. Then perform full range-of-motion reps to failure. Perform this entire protocol for three total sets. In the video, Greg and Tyrus perform the isometric set and the full range-of-motion rows on different pieces of equipment to overload different parts of the movement, but they can be performed with any setup, even dumbbells.

Pullovers and Incline Dumbbell Shrugs

To finish off the workout, there is a final superset of pullovers and incline dumbbell shrugs. Rather than doing set and rep counts, however, do each movement for a minute straight: 60 seconds of pullovers, immediately followed by 60 seconds of incline dumbbell shrugs. Rest for 60 seconds and then go through the circuit again. If you do not have a pullover machine, you can substitute with straight-arm pulldowns or pullovers on a decline bench with a rope.

By the minute:

  • (1:00) Snatch grip deadlift
  • (2:38) Rest-pause explanation
  • (3:27) Mechanical advantage dropset pull-ups
  • (4:12) Isometric chest-supported row
  • (6:10) Pullovers and incline dumbbell shrugs