Lean Muscle Trainer Hero

Day 9:Back

This is our second back workout on my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program. You’ll perform cardio upon waking before you get to the gym, that is if you train later in the day, but if you train early, hit back and then do your first cardio immediately following. That will help transport nutrients to your legs, which should be sore from yesterday’s workout. It also gets your blood flowing and supports burning body fat. You’ll keep this cardio session to 20 minutes of steady state this week. Then you’ll perform another 20-minute session at the end of the day.

The first weight-training move today is lat pulldowns, performed with a basic bar with your hands placed a little wider than your shoulders. You can place your hands along the bend if that is more comfortable for you. You’ll pull the bar down to your chest, stopping at the point where it becomes uncomfortable—we all have a slightly different range of motion for pulling. Take a look at the video for a comparative example—Danielle is able to pull a little farther below her chin than Kai is. Yet both are working through a proper range of motion.

Next up are pull-ups or chin-ups as I call them. We’ll perform them with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) with hands only about shoulder-width apart. You’ll get a good contraction at the top, and a deep stretch at the bottom. Do note that you don’t need to fully extend your arms to get that stretch at the bottom—I mention that in the video. Note that I’m also spotting Danielle and Kai to make sure they keep constant tension in their target muscles. Too many people try to perform too many reps, resting too long between reps. At this point in the program you want to emphasize the quality of each rep over the amount of weight and number of reps you’re performing.

We’re going to rest only about 1-2 minutes between all sets for back throughout this workout. Don’t forget to stretch the muscles you’re working between sets. And let me emphasize, as I do in the video, that we don’t care if stretching further exhausts the muscle, making us “weaker.” The purpose of this 12-Week Lean Muscle Program is to encourage the muscle to grow rather than to make it stronger. Of course, these two are intricately linked, but our primary goal is growth over the number of reps or amount of weight that we use for each set.

Bent-over dumbbell rows are the next exercise today. You can perform these in different ways, but today we’re going to perform them without support and working both sides at the same time. This means we’ll use less weight than we would if we were performing one-arm dumbbell rows with support. Note that for this version, you’ll hold the dumbbells as though they’re attached on a barbell. Hold your upper body elevated at about a 30-45-degree angle, and keep the weight moving throughout the set without using momentum.

Next up are machine deadlifts, which you’ll perform with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) if you have this available in your gym. If you don’t then you can substitute barbell, Smith machine, or dumbbell deadlifts. Note that Danielle and Kai both keep their backs straight with just the natural curve—you don’t want to involve unwanted movement of the spine for momentum or leverage.

Our finishing move today is close-grip pulldowns. This is our first close-grip move today, and you’ll use a neutral grip with a triangle bar. Notice how I don’t allow my arms to go all the way to full extension, but I allow them to drift behind my head for a deeper lats stretch. Then, I pull to the front for a good contraction.

That’s all for today—we’ve worked both the legs and the back in week two on my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program. For now, we want to target these large muscle groups while keeping the training volume moderate. This allows the body to accommodate and prepare for the increased demands we’ll be placing upon it later in the program.


20 minutes

Steady state upon waking


Lat pulldowns

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 1-2 minutes between sets

Chin ups

3 Sets/Failure

Rest 1-2 minutes between sets

Bent-over dumbbell row

3 Sets/15 Reps

Rest 1-2 minutes between sets

Machine deadlifts

3 Sets/15-20 Reps

Rest 1-2 minutes between sets

Close-grip pulldowns

3 Sets/15-20 Reps

Rest 1-2 minutes between sets


20 minutes

Steady-state after training or later in the evening

GETHIN’S GO-TO: If you don’t have a partner or spotter available, and you’re not able to perform 15 chin-ups on your own, then you can perform them on an assisted pull-up machine to get in more quality reps. Emphasize constant tension, adjusting the weight so you can perform about 12-15 reps per set. Make similar accommodations to other moves as necessary, as well.



Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) include leucine, isoleucine and valine. Because your body cannot make BCAAs, you need to get them from your food and supplements, and you have a much greater demand for them when you’re training with intensity. Kaged Muscle’s fermented BCAAS are delivered in the sought after 2:1:1 ratio.

DOSE AND TIMING: For best results, take in fermented BCAAS 3 times a day, emphasizing first thing upon rising, before workouts, and during workouts. I also like to mix this in my gallon jug with other amino acids such as glutamine, citrulline (on non-training days) and HYDRA-CHARGE. Choose the option that works best for you.

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