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Deadlift is Life

Training for a Stronger Back

By | Deadlift, motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays, Training Tips | No Comments

Training for a Stronger Back

I’ve been getting questions how do I train for a stronger back. People have been asking me

– How do I improve my deadlifts?
– My back is not so strong, how do I get my back stronger and bigger?
– My back would round when I deadlift, how do I stop that from happening?
– What program do you use?

Ok so let’s get something straight first… I’m not a certified personal trainer or expert coach with 30 years of experience. I just like lifting all heavy things. Even until today I still seek help with my lifts, technique and training. One of the things that you should always do is, always seek knowledge. Most of it comes from books and most from experienced athletes. That being said, not all professional athletes would make good coaches. So you have to be discerning in your choices.

So what are the best training program for a stronger back? Every training program is good if you are consistent enough and stay the course of 4-6 months. Nothing is going to happen after 4 weeks, all these posts on 30 days transformation is just rubbish! Strength training doesn’t work that way… your deadlift won’t increase from 250kg to 365kg in 4 weeks.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Louie Simmons Westside Conjugated Method, Westside Barbell is probably the strongest gym in the world where all the world champions train and congregate there. Or even Mark Rippitoe’s Starting Strength method which encourages everyone to have a novice mind-set when it comes to training.  I personally lean towards the Cube Method for Strongman by Josh Thigpen is particularly amazing because after all strongman is my sport. You can find these resources on the internet of course.

So what do I use for my training? I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with local and international coaches and professional athletes. The only variable is consistency and sticking to the program. So let’s just get on with it…

I train my back twice a week. I divide into upper back and compound movements.

Monday – Upper Back Volume Work will always be done at a gym with machines

Hammer Strength Machine Pull Downs (Overhand) + Superset with DB Rows on an incline bench
1 plate x 20 reps
1.5 plates x 15 reps
2 plates x 12 reps
2.5 plates x 10 reps
3 plates x 10 reps
4 plates x 8 reps x 2 sets

Superset with DB Rows on an incline bench
30kg x 10 reps

Hammer Strength Machine Pulls (Underhand)  + Superset with Barbell Raise on an Incline Bench
2.5 plates x 15 reps x 4 sets

Superset with Barbell Raises on an 40 deg incline bench
40kg x 10 reps

Cable Lat Pull Downs (Close Grip)
Moderate x 15 reps x 2 sets
Heavy x 10 reps x 2 sets

Seated Cable Cable Rows (Close Grips)
Moderate x 20 reps x 3 sets


Barbell Shrugs with Smith Machine (Pyramid) x 2 sets

1 plate x 15 reps
2 plates x 15 reps
3 plates x 12 reps
4 plates x 10 reps
3 plates x 12 reps
2 plates x 15 reps
1 plate x 15 reps

This above is one set… you take a 5 minute rest and do one more set

Thursday will always be a heavy deadlift day

It’s always done at a proper strength and conditioning facility with ONLY metal plates and a deadlift bar.

Conventional Deadlifts
40% x 5 reps
50% x 5 reps
60% x 5 reps
70% x 3 reps
80% x 3 reps
90% x 3 reps x 3 sets
* 40% to 80% is actually my warm up… Be prepared for this to escalate really quickly

Barbell Rows or Pendlay Rows
Light to Moderate x 12 reps x 4 sets

T-bar Rows or V-Bar Renegade Rows
Light x 12 reps x 2 sets
Moderate x 10 reps x 2 sets
Heavy x 8 reps x 2 sets
Light x 20 reps x 2 sets

Facepulls + Superset with any Abs Exercises
Light x 20 reps x 5 sets

Superset Abs – Cable Pull Downs
Heavy x 20 reps x 5 sets

Give it a go and let me know how you like it… It’s probably going to hurt a lot, because after training I’m usually wasted on the floor and have questionable life decisions.

In the meantime, train hard, may your back get stronger and stay injury free!