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Back Metabolic Day

Ready for a skin-splitting pump? I’m going to share my metabolic back day that’s guaranteed to ram as much blood into your back as possible. Before we get into the workout, let’s talk about the word “metabolic.”

“Metabolic” comes from the research world. Metabolic stress is the accumulation of metabolic byproduct within the muscles, which eventually leads to cell swelling and what we meat heads call the “pump.” Pump day is not a new concept—I don’t like using the term because it can be perceived as an easy day. This is by no means an easy day. We will push and challenge ourselves as hard as possible.



Today’s goal is to progress from the last session and cause greater metabolic stress than before. We want to challenge the body beyond its current adaptation to further stimulate growth. We will still log book this session and try to beat reps and weight when possible. Another way to create a great challenge is to take a shorter rest period.

To create all this metabolic stress, we will use higher reps, drops sets, supersets, and partial reps. Let’s get into this workout.

John’s Back Workout

*Warm up sets are not included in descriptions, take as many warm up sets as needed. Pyramid up in weight.

*All listed sets are taken to or near failure, consider safety when training to failure.

*Rest time between sets is 90 seconds unless it is a drop set or superset, then no rest is given.

T-Bar Row
Use a chest supported T-bar to execute this movement. This movement is to develop the entire back. Start by initiating the movement by retracting the scapula, then driving the elbows back behind you. If you are pulling your chest off the chest support, then you will know you are using the lower back to start the movement and need to get stricter.

  • Work up to a failure set of 15 reps on the first set. For the second and third set keep the weight the same and go to failure on both sets.


Superset (Wide Neutral Grip Pulldown with Standing Cable Pullover)
This combo is really going to target the lower outer lat area. This is for improving those relaxed poses and just letting the lats hang. On both movements, keep the scapula squeezed together and down. Another good cue is to push the chest up. Our goal is to get the elbow as close to the hip as possible to fully contract the lat.

  • On both exercises work up to a failure set of 15 reps. Stay with the same weight for 2 additional sets going to failure on each set.


Superset (Hammer Strength High and Low Row)
Now we can move to hitting the entire back again since we already tore up the lats. Both of these Hammer Strength machines will attack horizontal and vertical rowing actions of the back. On the Hammer Strength low row, keep the chest pressed into the support. Take a supinated grip and drive the elbows back as far as you can. This machine is going to hit the entire trap and rhomboids. Then move straight into the Hammer Strength High row to target the lats and teres major. Take a supinated grip on this machine as well and continue to focus on driving the elbows back and to your sides.

  • I want you to perform 2 all out sets of failure on both exercises. Aim for 15-20 reps on the first set. Keep the same weight on the second set and get as many reps as possible.


Seated High Cable Row
It’s time for some direct trap work. On a seated cable row, attach a straight bar handle. I want you to sit up with the torso at 90 degrees to the ground. Take a grip that is 1.5 x shoulder width. Initiate the movement by driving the elbows back and keeping the upper arm 90 degrees with the torso.

  • Perform one all out set, but do a double drop in weight. So, hit failure between 10-12 reps, then drop weight once and go to failure again, drop weight again and go to failure one last time.


Rear Delt Dumbbell Fly
I want you to go back to the chest supported T-bar row and take some dumbbells with you. Lay on the T-bar row dangling the dumbbells downward. Take a slight bend at the elbow joint and drive the elbow directly up to the ceiling. Control the eccentric phase because this part of the movement causes the most muscular damage (which is a stimulus for hypertrophy).

  • Perform one failure set of full range of motion reps, then immediately perform 12 pendulum swings with the arms straight. The swings should only be 1/3 of the range of motion. Perform 2 more sets like this.


Rope Face Pull
Now that the rear delts are pumped and have been isolated, we can move to a compound movement to pump every last bit. Perform this exercise seated so you can brace the torso better and prevent swinging. Use a rope attachment for this move. Pull the hands back at eye level, stop the concentric phase when you feel the rear delts fully contract.

  • Perform one all out set, but do a double drop in weight. So, hit failure between 10-12 reps, then drop weight once and go to failure again, drop weight again and go to failure one last time.


Your pump day is complete—enjoy the barn door back. Make sure to optimize recovery and slam back some Animal Whey. Give the workout a go and let me know what you think.

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