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Day 31:Back

I include both rowing and pulling moves in virtually every back workout. I like to hit a lot of rows to work on thickness in my back. Pulling moves target width. At this point in Operation Aesthetic it’s crucial that you pay attention to how your back is coming in so that you can make shifts to the specific exercises for Phase Two. Either follow my suggestions or change them to what’s best for you.

In addition to the exercises, I include a lot of techniques that support improving back development while the diet gets more challenging. We’re going to include burnouts, drop sets, supersets, and other intensity techniques such as rest-pause.

Note that I’m adding more rowing work to create those bubbles in the back. You can target width by substituting a pulling move or two if that’s your weakness. Regardless, keep working on the mind-muscle connection with your back because you can’t see it working as well as other muscle groups. I recommend that you check out the appearance of your back during exercises while you’re on a fat-loss program.

See if you can rig up a way to watch your back as you train. If not, then spend more time posing in front of a mirror or on video to see how the muscles in your back are coming in as you shed body fat on Operation Aesthetic.


*I like to begin with a heavy compound movement for back, and deadlifts are the best for this. We’ll perform this as the first exercise on every back day during Phase Two.

*Perform warm-up sets as needed for deadlifts, but don’t count those toward your working sets. You can also perform a warm-up set or two for other exercises to make sure everything feels right before you get to heavier weights.

*After deadlifts, I include three rowing moves. Note that I rotate in a pulling move after a rowing one, and then I burn out with rowing. Make shifts like this to your workout to target thickness and width based on your needs.

Early morning cardio


25 minutes

Don’t consume whole foods before you perform this cardio session.




Remember that this move parallels a squat except that the weight comes from below your hips instead of from above.

6 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

One-arm dumbbell row

My preferred stance is standing and bent at a 90-degree angle, stabilizing with my other hand. Use the position that targets your back best.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Lat pulldowns

SUPERSET: You’ll perform a set of lat pulldowns followed immediately by seated cable rows, and then you’ll rest for about 90 seconds between each superset.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Seated cable row

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

T-bar row

This is a great finishing move because it uses a different type of tension than the other moves have in this workout.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Post-Workout cardio


25 minutes

You can get in RE-KAGED as you’re performing your post-workout cardio.

TIP: This is the first time we’re including supersets during Phase Two. For supersets, the goal is to work your target muscle in two different ways without rest. Set up your stations so you can transition immediately from lat pulldowns to seated cable rows—you’ll need to claim these two setups. If this superset doesn’t work in your gym, then I recommend pairing another pulling and rowing move from my list of moves. For example, you can perform a superset of lat pulldowns with T-bar rows, and then use seated cable rows as your finishing exercise.

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