Fitness With Simon Dunn: Build Up Your Back!

Photography by Christian Scott

In this post, Simon runs through a back workout so you can give them something to look at as you turn and walk away!

Bent Over Row

As always, we start our workout with a compound lift typically used to strengthen the muscles of the upper back (latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius). This requires assistance from muscles in the lower back, core and gluteus for stabilization. 

  • With feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in the knees, slowly hinge at the hips bringing the bar towards knee level. 
  • Maintain a neutral spine; this can be achieved by positioning the scapulars back and prevent curving your lumber spine. 
  • Bring the bar towards your torso by pulling your elbows into your sides and slowly lower back to starting position. 

 Set x rest: 5 x 10-12. Rest: 60 to 90 seconds

Lat Pull Down

Another compound lift, as the name suggests this primarily targets the latissimus dorsi. This is a great way of building the desirable V-shape of the back.

  • Attach a wide grip handle to the machine and take a seated position.
  • Pull the handle towards your body until elbows are at your sides and bar is almost touching your chest, then return the handle back to the starting position under control.
  • Be mindful of technique, leaning too far back in the lift will turn this into a row. 

Set x rest: 3 x 10. Rest 45 to 60 seconds

Neutral Grip Cable Row

By simply changing the grip on an exercise we effect how muscles work as a collective to carry out the movement. This time we’re going with a neutral grip cable row as this will put more emphases on the middle and lower traps. 

  • Grasp the bar with a neutral grip (palms facing in).
  • Keep a slight bend in legs and a straight back. 
  • Keeping your body in position, pull the handle into your stomach.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back, squeeze, pause, and then slowly extend arms back to the starting position.

Set x rest: 3 x 10. Rest: 45 to 60 seconds.

Pull Up

To finish off the workout we’ll do a double set AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible). The idea here is to empty the tank, making sure you’ve gotten the most out of your workout. 

  • Grasp an overhead bar with a wide grip, palms facing away from you
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, following a similar movement as the lat pull down, where your elbows are brought into your side.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat until exhaustion.

Set x rest: 2 x AMRAP. Rest: 60 seconds. 

Want to workout with Simon? 
He’s currently training clients at A Squad Called Savage in Potts Point, Sydney. Get in touch with him by email

Photography Christian Scott | Instagram | Website
Trainer Simon Dunn | Instagram | Website | Email
Gym A Squad Called Savage | Instagram | Website
Gear Project Claude | Website

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