You’re due for back day, or a pull workout. You’re feeling stagnant in your training, or not seeing the results you’ve hoped for and you’re ready to increase the intensity. Or maybe you’re just pushed for time and only have a short allotment of time in which to train either way, we’ve got the perfect workout for you.

This 30-minute back workout combines to-failure bodyweight movements with heavy compound movements and high-volume isolation movements. You will definitely feel the pump and be one step closer to that wide lat, v-taper look you’re after.


You’re starting off with a bodyweight movement to failure. Go with a grip at least right outside of your shoulders; go with a wider grip if you’re up for the challenge and can still to do pull-ups for repetitions. Aim for 4 sets of as many repetitions as possible.

There’s no shame in your game – use the assisted pull-up machine, or do band assisted pull-ups if need be until you perfect the movement and can perform at least 5 pull-ups with good-form through a full range of motion.

Once you reach failure, without resting move right into the next movement – pendlay rows.

Pendlay rows

This is not just a bent over barbell row. Pendlay rows are a heavy, compound movement that is pretty strict in form and limits your ability to use momentum to move the weight. In this movement, you’re working on power, explosiveness, and pulling all the way from the floor each time. You’ll come to a dead stop, breathe, and pull, then return to the dead stop and repeat.

Aim for 4 sets of 6 quality (strict and clean) repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds and then move on to your next set of pull-ups.

Conventional deadlifts

Deadlifts are arguably one of the most important and functional exercises … period. While it’s predominantly a back and posterior chain focused exercise, it’s technically a total body movement. This is the only exercise in the workout that won’t be performed in a superset or tri-set.

Try for 4 sets of 6 repetitions at a challenging, but doable weight. Focus on good form and remember, you’ve got 4 sets of this movement. Rest for 60 seconds and then go right into your next set of deadlifts.

The last three movements in this workout are to be performed as a circuit. These isolation movements are to be performed with high volume, no rest between exercises, and minimal rest (30 seconds) between circuit rounds.

Close Grip V-bar Pulldowns

Start with close grip pulldowns. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions with a 1-2 second pause (and squeeze) at the bottom of the movement. Once you’ve completed your set, without resting, move onto your next movement – chest-supported reverse flyes.

Chest-Supported Reverse Flyes

This isolation exercise targets your upper back and postural muscles – traps, rear delts, and rhomboids. You can perform reverse flyes in many ways, but the reasoning behind this setup, in particular, is to limit momentum and take some stress off of the lower back.

Don’t let your ego take over here; use weights that are doable to perform the movement without compromising your form. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. After finishing your set of reverse flyes, move right into a set of supermans.


The last exercise of this intense 30-minute workout is a bodyweight movement to target your lower back, glutes, and erector spinae. Try for 3 sets of 15 repetitions with a 3-second pause on the raise and extension. When performed correctly, this movement is a lot tougher than it looks. Rest for 30-45 seconds and then go right back to the beginning of the 3-exercise circuit.

Video credit:, ScottHermanFitness, MyTraining App

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