The Iain Valliere Back Workout | The Ultimate Guide!


Iain Valliere is one of the world’s top professional bodybuilders. Some of his career highlights include winning the 2021 Taxas Pro and the 2021 Tampa Pro bodybuilding shows.

If you want to learn how Iain Valliere trains his back then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Iain Valliere Training Split
  • Part 2: The Iain Valliere Back Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you exactly how Iain Valliere trains his massive arms.

Iain Valliere trains 6 days per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro split. He trains each muscle group on its own separate training day using a lot of volume and intensity. Check it out:

Iain Valliere’s Training Split

  • Day 1: Chest / Triceps
  • Day 2: Back / Biceps
  • Day 3: Quads
  • Day 4: Shoulders
  • Day 5: Arms
  • Day 6: Hamstrings
  • Day 7: Off

Talk about a brutal training split! Iain trains his back once per week on the second day of his training split.

Iain also likes to throw in some extra upper back work on his hamstrings day. This is a strategy that many professional bodybuilders like Chris Bumstead use to increase their upper back training frequency.

Iain’s upper back workouts are very interesting. He picks about 4-6 exercises for his upper back and he performs 2 working sets to failure on each exercise.

Iain usually performs one heavier set to failure in the 8-10 rep range and one lighter set to failure in the 12-15 rep range. Sometimes Iain even throws in high-intensity techniques on his last 2 sets including drop sets, rest-pause sets and forced reps.

Here is a simple low-volume back workout that you can try. Check it out:

Back Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: One-arm hammer strength row (neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: T-bar row, 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated cable row (V-handle), 2 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video:

This is a very normal looking back workout for Ian Valliere. He picks 4 major exercises to train his entire upper back and he performs 2 working sets to failure per exercise.

Iain says that performing the 2 working sets with different rep ranges has really helped him to target different types of muscle fibers in his upper back.

Here is another Iain Valliere back workout that you can try. Check it out:

Back Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (facing away from machine), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Chest supported row (neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: One-arm DB row, 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Lat pulldown (medium / neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: 45 degree back extension, 2 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video:

Once again Iain follows his usual back training system. He picks 4 exercises for his upper back and 1 for his lower back. On each exercise Iain performs 2 working sets to failure: one heavy set in the 8-10 rep range and one back-off set in the 12-15 rep range.

Iain doesn’t perform any heavy deadlifts or rack deadlifts in his back workouts. Instead he likes to focus on pulldown and rowing movements on his upper back day. Iain does perform deadlifts but he likes to do them on his hamstrings day.

Here is a higher-volume upper back workout that Iain Valliere recently performed. Check it out:

Back Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Straight arm cable pullover, 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength low row (neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps**
  • Exercise #3: Chest supported row, 2 sets of 8-15 reps**
  • Exercise #4: Seated dual handle cable row, 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Lat pulldown (medium / neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Machine assisted pull up (wide / overhand grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps

**On the second set perform a cluster set. Take a weight you can perform 10 times and perform 4 sets of 4 reps with 10 seconds rest in between each attempt.

Here is the training video:

https://youtu.be/uggBvAj2wVA?t=193

For this workout Iain is using the straight-arm cable pullover exercise to pre-fatigue his lats. He says that this exercise has really helped him to bring up his upper back.

“I find this exercise has made a huge difference in the look of my lats from the front shots.

I find doing this exercise at the start of my workout really establishes a great connection with the lats.

We’ve stuck with this as the first exercise of my back workouts and it’s working well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Throughout the workout Iain performs different high-intensity techniques like cluster sets. Iain says that he periodizes these intensity techniques based on how he is feeling.

Iain likes to perform more of these techniques in the offseason when he has more energy. However, as he gets closer to his bodybuilding competitions Iain likes to drop the high-intensity sets so that he can recover from his workouts.

“The intensifiers and the amount we put in is really based on where my weight is, where my food is, and that’s all determined by my coach patrick.

When my food was a little higher and I was further away from my competition I used more intensity techniques.

As I get closer to my competition I limit the high-intensity techniques so I don’t overtrain.” 

Here is one more Iain Valliere back workout that you can try. Check it out:

Back Workout #4

  • Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (medium / neutral grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength low row (wide / overhand grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row (dual handle), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Machine pulldown (medium / pronated grip), 2 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Rope cable pullover, 2 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video:

https://youtu.be/ypvXkDlIiXg?t=114

Iain performed this workout when he was starting his offseason phase of training. Iain decided to keep the weights a little bit lighter and focus on getting good quality contractions in his upper back on each exercise.

“Right now I’m just focused on super controlled eccentrics and form over everything, especially leading into the offseason.

I want to make sure my form on everything is 100% perfect before I really start building my strength up again.”

Many professional bodybuilders use this strategy as they are transitioning into their offseason phase of training. They slowly ramp up their weights on different exercises to minimize their risk of injury.

Conclusion

Iain Valliere trains arms using traditional high-volume bodybuilding style workouts. He trains his back using about 4-6 exercises and he performs most of his sets in the 8-15 rep range.

One interesting thing about Iain’s back training program is he only performs 2 working sets to failure per exercise. He also likes to perform high-intensity techniques on these exercises to blast through training plateaus.

If you respond well to high-volume workouts I highly recommend you give Iain’s arm workouts a shot..

If you enjoyed this content then make sure you check out my article “The Iain Valliere Training Program!

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100%.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

Recent Posts