Beginner Back Workout

This back workout has been designed for new lifters looking to build some muscle. It comprises of 3 exercises and 7 sets targeting all major muscle groups in the back.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

Welcome to the beginner back workout. This workout has been designed for new lifters looking to build some muscle and size on their back. It comprises of 7 sets and 3 exercises, and hits all major back muscles.

This workout should be performed once per week only to allow for adequate recovery.

Workout Notes:

  1. Perform a 2 set warm-up before this workout. First set with a very light weight, and the second set with half the weight used on the first exercise.
  2. Strict technique on all exercises. (see back exercises)
  3. Aim to improve at least one aspect of your workout each week.

Weekly Workout Routine:

Beginner Back Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Front lat pulldown 3 15-12-10
Seated rows 2 10
One arm dumbbell row 2 10
About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

30 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 19:12

I have a home gym with free weights and a bench with two olympic 45lb. bars. I work for a furniture distribution center and wanting to create a routine I can utilize with my work schedule for mass gains. Any suggestions? I work 4 9's and 4 hours on Friday.

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2013 - 19:29

you wont make gains with this,,,needs way more volume.the end!

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/26/2012 - 16:02

When you pull, think about pulling your elbows back instead of pulling the weight with your hands. This can help.

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Posted Tue, 09/25/2012 - 16:10

I cannot feel my lats no matter what I do, I am pretty sure my form is OK on pull ups, though with proper form i can only do about 1 pull up, i cant really feel my lats on any back exercise. My shoulder blades are definitely pinched when I perform the exercises. Any tips for developing a good mind-muscle combination with the lats would be greatly appreciated, many thanks in advance.

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Posted Fri, 03/30/2012 - 04:26

Hi Steve,

I want to do pullups instead of seated rows. How many sets and reps should I do?


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Posted Wed, 01/11/2012 - 18:38

" Not bad, but even for beginners there should be some lower back."

I agree wholeheartedly, I would add deadlifts to the routine, just be careful if you've never done them before, set your barbell so your bar is roughly 8-10 inches off the ground and use proper form, chin up, back straight and strong.

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Posted Tue, 02/21/2012 - 13:23

fat cutter is better or chromiun is better for reduction of fat bt not muscle

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Posted Wed, 12/14/2011 - 16:40

Not bad, but even for beginners there should be some lower back.

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Posted Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:20

Hey Steve,

To which routine I can add the back workout to?
Arms? Chest? Shoulders?

Thanks for your help :)

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/04/2011 - 14:00

Hi Ivan,

Back usually works well as a stand alone day, with something like biceps, traps and/or abs added on.

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Posted Sun, 09/18/2011 - 12:37

What would be good to replace front lat pulldown?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 15:27

Hi Billy,

Pull ups, if you are able to perform them.

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Posted Fri, 08/26/2011 - 11:22

Dear Steve,

I can't find good replacements for the two exercises that require special equipment (i.e. the one with cables and the machine). Great question stated by Nick (above), I'd be grateful for a response!

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:58

Hi Per,

You can do pullups and barbell rows.
<strong>Need more help? <a href="">Ask me on the forum.</a></strong>

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Posted Thu, 02/24/2011 - 06:37

I workout at home with a bench, barbell and dumbells. What could I swap lat pulldown for? Also I do not have a pull up bar, what would be the best alternative to this to build a wide back?

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Posted Wed, 12/22/2010 - 16:26

hey ive been doing gym for 6 months but due to high metabalism its hard to show my muscle gain im thinking of doing

Mon - chest
Tue- Back
Wed - Rest
Thurs- Legs
Fri - SHoulders and Arms

is this a gud routine?
also i was wondering should i do as many exercises for each muscle part
E.G Chest Flys, Incline, decline, flat <- Bar and dumbbells Alternate everyweek?

or should i stick to;
mon- chest and tri
tue-bak and bi
Wed- rest
thurs-Chest and Tri
Fri-Bak and bi

its hard to deside whether to ram a load of exercises for one muscle or a few exercises higher wieghts and reps and in desprated need of help
Thanks Chris

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:36

Hi Chris,

The split you are considering looks solid.

Heavy weights on basic exercises is always a good idea. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. This will maximize results.

Here is an article I recommend on splits and training:

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Posted Sat, 10/16/2010 - 01:12

how much weight can i use in one arm dumbell row i'm beginner sir

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 18:55

Hi Kash,

Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

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Posted Tue, 10/12/2010 - 23:45

I do have the pull cables. So for the pulldowns, I replaced it with the resistance bands(wrapped around my pullup bar and sat on the floor to do these), and used resistance bands to do the seated rows (I wrapped them around the base of my bench and sat a good 8-10 feet away.) Are these adequate substitutes, or do you recommend something else?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:06

Hi Bryce,

As long as you can increase the resistance of an exercise someway, somehow, the exercise is solid.

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Posted Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:27
Aamir Muzafar

hloo sir...
I am a beginner In the how many sets are suitable for me in a day....

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Posted Wed, 06/23/2010 - 19:23

could you suggest an alternative exercise to the seated rows.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/24/2010 - 11:51

Barbell Rows are a great choice.

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Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 01:51

Are there many back exercises that beginners can do at home with only free-weights available?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 10:54

Sure. Deadlifts, pullups, dumbbell rows and barbell rows. Can't go wrong with these 4.

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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 09:55

You only do 2 warmup sets before the whole workout correct? So we would only do two warmup sets of pulldowns then go into the workout 5/2/2? We don't do a two set warmup of each exercise?

Like Rachel I just want to make sure I am reading it correctly.


Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:04

Warming up can be an art form. I would do at least 2 warmup sets before the first exercise, and at least one warmup for other exercises. It's good to get the feel of the exercise before you just into the heaviest weight. Also, you don't want to use a warmup weight that taxes your body so that you can't perform 100% on working sets. Listen to your body, and do at least one warmup set per exercise. For heavy lifts 2 warmups sets (or more) is often required.

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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 22:43

The warm up sets are same reps just lighter weights - so you in total do 5/4/4 sets of all the exercises? Just making sure I'm following you on the instructions. Thanks! Love the site.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 08:33

Thumbs up!