Back Exercises

Rate My Workout: Get Your Back in the Habit

Al C. from Palm Beach, FL, asked us to review his back routine. Here’s how we fixed it.

Duration 30 Min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

In Al's case, he's mainly doing bilateral training— using both arms at once. That’s fine for letting you train heavy, but you won’t get as full a range of motion or stretch on your lats as you would from training one side of your back at a time. Add unilateral work with one-arm barbell rows and meadows rows.


One-Arm Barbell Row
Use a landmine unit or wedge one end of a barbell into a corner and grasp the other end just behind the sleeve (the thickest part of the bar where you load the plates). Stagger your stance so your trailing leg is closest to the bar and bend your hips back so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Row the bar to your side as if doing a dumbbell row.

Meadows Row
Use the same setup as above but stand perpendicular to the bar and grasp it on the sleeve itself with your palm down. Row the bar up so your arm rises to 90 degrees. To preserve your grip, you may use straps on one or both lifts.

Al's Old Workout

M&F Rating: B+

  • Deadlift - 5 sets x 3 reps
  • Bentover Row - 4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Lat Pulldown - 3 sets x 12 - 15 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row - 3 sets x 20 reps

Let Us Revamp Your Routine

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Al's New Back Routine

Exercise 1

Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
summer-shred-deadlift thumbnail
5 sets
3 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 2A

One-Arm Barbell Row
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3 sets
8-10 reps
-- rest
*Superset with meadows row.

Exercise 2B

Meadows Row
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3 sets
6-8 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 3

Single-Arm Lat Pulldown How to
Single-Arm Lat Pulldown thumbnail
3 sets
12-15 reps
30 sec rest