Are you interested in how Jeff Nippard trains his back? Do you want to know Jeff’s secrets to building wide lats and massive traps, rhomboids and spinal erectors? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Inside this guide, you’ll learn the secret workouts that Jeff uses to build his upper back, as well as his pull ups and rowing exercises.
Jeff Nippard trains his upper back using many different training splits. He uses back / bicep workouts, full body workouts and even dedicated back training days to build up this important muscle group.
One of Jeff Nippard’s favorite training splits is the classic push / pull / legs split. He likes this split because it limits overlap between muscle groups, and because it lets him train his upper back up to two times per week.
Here is one of Jeff’s favorite back-focused pull workouts. Check it out:
Jeff Nippard’s Back-Focused Pull Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Pull up (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #2: Meadows row, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: Omni-grip lat pulldown, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #5: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Here is the training video:
Jeff Nippard starts this workout with one of his favorite upper back exercises: the pull up.
Jeff says that he likes to start his back workouts with some type of pull up or pulldown variation. He likes these exercises because they really isolate the lats and allow you to safely apply the progressive overload principle.
After the pull ups Jeff moves onto another one of his favorite upper back movements: the Meadows row. Jeff learned this exercise from the bodybuilding coach John Meadows.
Jeff likes this exercise because it hits the entire upper back, including the lats, traps, rhomboids and rear delts. It also lets you train your upper back using an abduction focused shoulder movement pattern. Check it out:
“This exercise has really grown on me recently for many reasons. First, the arm is out to your side/ The plane of motion is basically directly in line with the fiber orientation of the mid-trap fibers.
You’re going to hit the rear delts pretty well too through transverse shoulder abduction.”
Here is another one of Jeff Nippard’s back-focused pull workouts that you can try. Check it out:
Jeff Nippard Back-Focused Pull Workout #2
- Exercise A1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise B1: Chest supported row with bands, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Exercise C1: Machine high to low row, 2 sets of 12-15 reps
- Exercise D1: Kneeling cable pullover, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise E1: Snatch grip barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Exercise F1: Reverse pec dec, 3 sets of 12 reps
- Exercise G1: Ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps****
- Exercise H1: Standing DB curl (pronated grip), 2 sets of 12 reps, no rest
- Exercise H2: Standing DB curl (neutral grip), 2 sets of 10 reps, no rest
- Exercise H3: Standing DB curl (supinated grip), 2 sets of 8 reps, 1-2 minutes rest
**Perform 12 reps leaning forwards, then 12 reps with the same weight and an upright torso
****Have your training partner apply extra manual resistance on the eccentric portion of each rep
Here is the training video:
Talk about a high-volume back / biceps workout! Jeff uses many interesting techniques in this workout, so let’s take a closer look.
Jeff starts this workout with the lat pulldown. He says that pull ups and lat pulldowns have their advantages and disadvantages, so he likes to alternate between the two in his training programs.
“Research show no significant difference in lat activation for the pulldown and the pull up so it makes sense to alternate between both of them in your training.”
After the pull ups Jeff performs a variety of upper back exercises, including chest supported rows, machine high to low rows and kneeling cable pullovers.
At the end of the workout Jeff performs different exercises for his biceps, including a mechanical advantage drop set on the standing dumbbell curl.
Jeff says that it is better to train the biceps at the end of your back / biceps routine, rather than the other way around.
“The goal is to pre-exhaust all the elbow flexors except the biceps as much as possible first. Most people go about pre-exhaustion the wrong way.
Most people pre-exhaust the target muscle first with an isolation movement before doing a compound movement to supposedly increase its activation. But the scientific literature suggests the opposite occurs first.
When you isolate a muscle first you actually cause that muscle to fatigue. So secondary muscles take over and the primary muscle becomes less active in the compound exercise.”
Jeff Nippard is also a big fan of the classic upper body / lower body training split. Here is one example of how Jeff likes to organize his back-focused upper body workouts. Check it out:
Jeff Nippard Back-Focused Upper Body Workout
- Exercise #1: Bench press (competition grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #2: Pull up (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 8 reps**
- Exercise #3: Floor press, 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #4: One-arm cable row, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Arnold press, 2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Reverse pec dec, 2 sets of 10 reps****
- Exercise #7: Cable rope pushdowns, 3 sets of 21 reps******
- Exercise #8: One-arm machine preacher curls (supinated grip), 2 sets of 15-20 reps
**Perform 8 regular reps, then 2 extra forced reps with the help of a training partner or a lifting platform.
****Perform 10 reps with your upper body leaning forward, then 10 reps with your upper body vertical.
******Perform 7 reps in the bottom half of the range of motion, then 7 reps in the top half of the range of motion, then 7 full range of motion reps.
Here is the training video:
Talk about a high-volume upper body workout! Jeff performs 8 different exercises for his entire upper body, including 2 separate exercises for his upper back.
Jeff starts this routine with the flat bench press, rather than any upper back work. Jeff says that this is one of his favorite upper body exercises, and he almost always tries to start his upper body workouts with it, even if it’s a back-focused workout.
“We’re starting with the bench press because if I had to pick one overall upper body exercise for building muscle it would be the bench press.”
After the bench press Jeff moves onto a variety of upper back exercises, including pull ups and one-arm cable rows. Sometimes Jeff likes to train using a 5-day full body training split. Jeff really likes to train this way because you can hit each muscle group up to 5 times per week.
Here is an upper back focused full body workout that you can try. Check it out:
Jeff Nippard Back-Focused Full Body Workout
- Exercise #1: Pull up (wide / pronated grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #2: 30 degree chest supported DB row, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Exercise #3: Leg press, 3 sets of 15 reps
- Exercise #4: Standing calf raise, 4 sets of 8 reps
- Exercise #5: Cable upright row, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Exercise #6: Hammer curl, 3 sets of 10 reps
Here is the training video:
Jeff starts this upper body workout with two exercises for his back. This makes sense, as this was an upper back focused full body workout.
During the workout Jeff uses a number of interesting techniques to hit his upper back harder. One of these techniques was including inter-set stretching.
In other words, Jeff would stretch out his lats in between sets of pull ups.
“One thing I’ve been doing on this program is stretching my lats between sets. Inter-stretching has potential hypertrophic benefits.
A 2019 study showed that when subjects perform the same full-body program twice per week, stretching between sets results in 50% more muscle growth. In individual muscles, results only were significant with quads.
I usually hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds at a 7/10 intensity. This should be a deep stretch but not painful. I believe stretches have a slightly positive or neutral effect as long as they are not held for too long.”
Jeff Nippard normally likes to train his upper back with other muscle groups, such as his biceps or even his entire upper body. However, when he trains with other professional bodybuilders he sometimes trains his upper back on its own separate training day with 4-6 exercises.
Here is a bodybuilding-style upper back workout that Jeff Nippard performed with the legendary bodybuilding coach John Meadows. Check it out:
Jeff Nippard’s Mountain Dog Back Workout
- Exercise #1: One-arm cable pulldown, 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #2: Trap bar row, 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #3: Band-assisted pull up (wide / pronated grip), 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #4: Chest supported row, 2 sets of 8-10 reps, 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #5: 45 degree back extension (holding barbell with snatch grip), 2 sets of 10 reps
Here is the training video:
This bodybuilding-style upper back workout included 2 types of pulldowns, 2 types of rows and one isolation exercise for the lower back.
Throughout the workout John Meadows really emphasized exercises that helped Jeff establish a great mind-muscle connection with the upper back. For example, on the first exercise John really emphasized the need to get strong muscular contractions in the lower lat.
“When you think of back training, what do most people say they have the hardest time establishing a mind-muscle connection with? Their back! So this exercise is all about establishing a great mind-muscle connection.”
Jeff Nippard says that he especially likes John Meadows upper back workouts, as he uses a science-based approach to his training programs.
Jeff Nippard usually performs two main exercises for his back workouts: one vertical pulling exercise, such as pull ups or pulldowns, and one rowing exercise, such as the seated cable row or the machine row.
Jeff says that it is important to include both of these types of exercises in your back workouts, as vertical and horizontal pulling movements work the muscles of the upper back differently.
If you are stuck in a training rut, then go ahead and give Jeff Nippard’s back workouts a shot. They may be just what you need to take your training to the next level.
“You must have a sincere and burning desire to achieve what you dream, dedicate yourself to making progress, and take control of your circumstances to change your body.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!
What’s going on! This is my own personal training log. Follow along as I train to become The World’s Strongest Natty Bodybuilder! Also, check out my NEW online coaching program: DC...
What’s going on! This is my own personal training log. Follow along as I train to become The World’s Strongest Natty Bodybuilder! Also, check out my NEW e-books: The Dr. Mike Training...