Sean Sullivan's Back Specialization Workout

Beef up your back with this back specialization routine from natural bodybuilding champion Sean Sullivan.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
5
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

Rest between all sets is 90 seconds unless specified.

Monday - Back Thickness
Back Thickness
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 6 7/5/3/7/5/3 (Work to 3RM Twice)
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 4 6 to 8
T-Bar Rows 4 4 to 6
Seated Cable Rows 4 12 to 15
Tuesday - Legs and Delts
Legs and Delts
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 10 to 12 w/3 Drop Sets - 25 to 30 Reps per Set
Close Stance Squats 3 12 to 15
Lunge 3 8 to 10
Leg Curl 3 12 to 15 w/3 Drop Sets - 25 to 30 Reps per Set
Seated Calf Raise 3 15 to 20
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 8 to 10
Seated Lateral Raise 3 10 to 12 w/2 Drop Sets - 25 to 30 Reps per Set
Wednesday - Back Width
Back Width
Exercise Sets Reps
Chin Ups 6 8/6/4/8/6/4
Wide Grip Pulldowns To Rear 4 8 to 10
Straight Arm Pull Downs 4 10 to 12
Rope Pull Downs 3 12 to 15 (Elbows Wide at Bottom)
Friday - Traps, Lower Back and Rear Delts
Traps, Lower Back and Rear Delts
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Shrugs 6 4 to 6
Seated Dumbbell Shrugs 4 6 to 8
Weighted Hyperextensions 4 8 to 10
Seated Face Pulls 4 10 to 12 (Elbows Wide - Pull to Chin)
Bent Over Lateral Raise 4 12 to 15
Saturday - Chest and Arms
Chest and Arms
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8 to 10
Cable Crossovers 3 12 to 15 plus 2 Drop Sets
Barbell Curls 3 10 to 12
Machine Preacher Curls 3 12 to 15 plus 2 Drop Sets
Close Grip Bench Press 3 10 to 12
V-Bar Tricep Pressdowns 3 12 to 15 plus 2 Drop Sets
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About The Author
Involved with this sport since '78. Started by meeting some guy named Arnold at a seminar he was giving in Ohio. Have been a bodybuilder ever since.

37 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 03/15/2015 - 16:39
Sebastián Beltrán

Hi, I have been doing this workout for 2 weeks, and I really like it, but I would like to ask, how and which day would it be better to add some arm workout? I get the feeling that i could be training them two times per week instead of one. Thanks in advance for a response and for putting this workout out!

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Posted Thu, 07/11/2013 - 20:07
Niki Tall

Can you please explain day 2's drop sets? Is it 3 sets then 3 more drop sets? 3 sets and then one drop set? Or just 3 drop sets....?
Thx

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Posted Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:12
Mario

I'm trying to improve my back area a lot, I like this workout, but I can't workout on Saturday or Sunday. Any alternatives for this problem?

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Posted Thu, 12/06/2012 - 21:49
Chris

I've been using this routine for 6 weeks now, and my back has allot more muscle tone then before. I'd recommend this routine to anybody looking to change things up a bit. Thanks Sean!

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Posted Thu, 10/25/2012 - 19:28
dustin

I've been lifting a while and have noticed my lower back is growing rather large...I would like to achieve the same with my traps, is there a way to isolate traps?

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Posted Tue, 09/11/2012 - 23:24
crew

Hey steve,

what exactly is a seated face pull?

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Posted Sat, 05/05/2012 - 18:32
Ryan

i notice it say /drop set.. what exactly is drop set?

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Posted Sun, 04/01/2012 - 16:45
michael

hello there steve,
i have been back training for over 6 months now and have put a bit bulk on but i want to turn this bulk into definition now,all exercises i do consist of 4 sets,2 sets of 10,1 set of 8 if a can manage and last set i lift my maximum of anywhere between 3 and 6 reps depending on how i perform on the day. What workout would you recommend to gain definition but keep the same size? bodybuild a couple of years back and when i would get to this stage i would head down the illegal methods route i.e steroids,growth hormones etc and stick to the same workout routine. But i am doing it naturally this time and wonder if a change in routine would give me the same results that the illegal stuff did.

thanks

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Posted Mon, 12/05/2011 - 00:46
Michael Barrett

Sup Steve,
My gym doesn't have a T-bar row machine or a decent seated row machine. What other excercises can I do instead of these to get the same results?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/20/2011 - 10:37
Steven

I would use barbell or dumbbell rows.

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Posted Thu, 09/08/2011 - 16:40
Dj

Steve whats up man? I need help puttin gaining weight.. Im 5'6 130.. Ive wrestled all my life an now cant put on weight.I was takin cytogainer, anything better?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/28/2011 - 15:26
Steven

Hi DJ,

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

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

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/building-muscle-eating-like-a...

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Posted Tue, 08/02/2011 - 19:54
John

Hey I have notice that there is no Bicep or Tricep Workout...Why is that??

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/03/2011 - 14:44
Steven

Hi John,

Saturday includes arm work.

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Posted Sun, 07/24/2011 - 22:08
Robbie

Hi Steve I was just wondering if you could create other "specialization" workouts for other body parts? It would be greatly appreciated considering my shoulders are lagging a great deal behind the rest of my body.
-thanks

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Posted Fri, 06/10/2011 - 16:43
Josh

What does "Work to 3RM Twice" mean? Also what are drop sets? These are two terms I am not familiar with. Thanks for you help! Looks like a great workout- I am excited to get started.

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Posted Sun, 04/24/2011 - 21:36
Thomas

Hey just wondering will this program really work and if so can u link me some before/after pics of people who have done this program? And how long were they on it?

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Posted Wed, 01/26/2011 - 09:45
alex

Dear steve,

i'm 190cm and 105Kg. I am tall but still have a belly id like to get rid of. I was 125KG a year ago. I do alot of cardio n already lost 25 Kg. I want to at the same time mix cardio with lift weight to start getting shape. I kindly ask you for an advice; a program of cardio to lose weight quickly & lifting weights to gain shape! i attend the gym 4 times per week. As supplements, what do you suggest?
Many thanks,

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Posted Thu, 01/13/2011 - 18:47
Luis Hernandez

On your work outs do you increase in weight as you go from one set to the other?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 02/16/2011 - 13:39
Steven

Hi Luis,

There are many different ways to approach what weight you use. Here is an article that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/practical-progression-approac...

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Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 01:43
sonny chopra

hey i had a quick question. im about 5'10 and hover around 165 to 170lbs. i cannot gain weight. i take gainers and glutamine and pre-workouts and i count my calories and i get upwards of 3-4 thousand a day. my question is when i start eating alot of food, no matter how clean i eat, all that happens is my muscle definition goes away and my stomach starts sticking out like im constantly bloated yet my arms and everything else never get bigger...why? my abs go away and i kinda just get soft like anything i gain goes straight to my stomach. i dont get it.

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 08:31
Steven

Hi Sonny,

You lose your ab definition because either you are gaining a little fat or water weight. If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more. It's as simple as that. Try calorie dense foods like whole milk, almonds and natural peanut butter.

Understand that when trying to gain muscle, you will generally gain a little bit of fat as well.

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Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 21:31
Alejandro Vasquez

Is there such thing as a chest specialization or arm workout?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 11:20
Steven
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Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 22:47
Remy Piazza

HI Steve.

Why do you use Thursday as a rest day?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 09:31
Steven

You are working back on Wednesday. Friday has you working more back, and back-related bodyparts (lower back, rear delts, etc.)

You simply want a day of rest in between direct or indirect back work, so Thursday is a rest day.

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Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 13:29
Remy Piazza

Thanks Steve.

Another question - A lot of the workouts on the M&S website tend to be 4 days a week. I've heard some guys say they work out the same body part 2 times, or even 3 times per week. Is there any advantage to working each body part 2 per week? What if my goal is mass and strength - should I stick to one workout per body part per week? Lastly, are there any workouts on the M&S website you would especially recommend for achieving the aforementioned goals?

Thanks again!

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 16:49
Steven

Many of the old school lifters trained bodyparts multiple times per week. It can have it's advantages, but you have to do the same weekly volume. If you train chest only once a week for 12 sets, you must still train it for 12 sets if you hit it 3 times a week - if that makes sense...

Here are some fullbody workouts I suggest:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-wo...

For mass and strength I recommend sticking to a simple workout and eating like a beast! The workouts in the above article are great for mass and strength. But you can also do a 3 or 4 day split if you prefer. Just make sure this split uses bench press, overhead press, squats, deadlifts and other heavy compound lifts. I can also be reached via the forum if you have more specific questions:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/members/bendthebar.html

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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 20:40
Jonathan

Steve:

What in the world is a seated face pull? Maybe this is such a common exercise that everyone but me knows, but I am very confused. I am doing as close to what I imagine a seated face pull would be, but if you could elaborate I would be greatly appreciative, as I try to perfect my form on every exercise I do and that's hard without knowing quite what it is. Thank you.

Jonathan

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 08:42
Steven

Think of a seated cable row, but instead you are pulling the weight towards your face...

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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:25
Jonathan

THANK YOU! I was trying to use a lat pull down machine, and I knew it couldn't be quite right.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:44
Steven

No problem at all!

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Posted Mon, 05/10/2010 - 03:22
Alex

Hello, in all your workouts i've noticed that the exercise consits in 4 sets and 8 to 10 reps. I normally do 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps adding wheight every set, should i keep the same wheight instead? A light one or heavy one? Can i do an extra very light set with lots of rep to warming up?
Thank you for your help.
Alex

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/10/2010 - 08:01
Steven

Hi Alex. There are a wide variety of workouts and recommended rep ranges on M&S. Whatever approach you use, remember to keep a focus on progression of weight. Also, I wouldn't use too many higher rep sets as a warmup. You don't want to over-fatigue a muscle before moving to heavier sets.

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Posted Sun, 07/10/2011 - 20:17
raccer

YES BUT JUST DONT STAY WITH THE SAME WORKOUT ... YOUR BODY WILL GET USE TOO IT AND PLATO...STOP GROWING

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Posted Tue, 02/07/2012 - 13:47
Parker

Plateau* Plato was a philosopher.

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Posted Fri, 05/18/2012 - 10:48
james

need answer