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The Athlean X Back Workout | The Ultimate Guide!

Are you curious about Athlean X back workouts?

Do you want to know exactly how Jeff Cavaliere trains his upper back for size and strength?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, I will teach you exactly how Jeff Cavaliere designs his Athlean X back workouts to help him build a big, strong upper body.


  • Part 1: Athlean X Back Workout #1
  • Part 2: Athlean X Back Workout #2
  • Part 3: Athlean X Back Workout #3

Jeff Cavaliere is one of the biggest fitness influencers in the world today.

He is best known for his popular YouTube channel, where he shares helpful fitness videos with over 12 million subscribers.

Of course, he is also known for his incredible physique – including his back muscles.

How did Jeff build his upper back? Does he have some secret Athlean X back routine, or does he just have great genetics?

Jeff Cavaliere says the fastest way to build a big, strong upper back is to “train like an athlete.”

He designs his Athlean X back workouts using many different functional exercises like deadlifts, pull ups, rows, and face pulls to strengthen your weak points and attack each muscle group from many different angles.

If you are willing to train hard, then Jeff Cavaliere’s Athlean X back workouts may be just what you need to take your upper back to the next level!

Here is one of Jeff’s high-volume back workouts that you can try. Check it out:

Athlean X Back Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Deadlift, 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Exercise #2: Seated cable row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Pull up, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Weighted carry, 3-4 sets of 100 feet
  • Exercise #5: Plate front raises, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Hyper rows, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

This Athlean X back workout is absolutely brutal!

Jeff uses 6 different exercises to train all of the muscles on the back of your body, including your lats, traps, rhomboids, and spinal erectors.

Jeff starts this workout with the king of back exercises: the barbell deadlift!

Jeff says this is a great exercise for athletes, as it works all of your upper back muscles together in one athletic movement pattern. Check it out:

“My mindset is I always have a staple exercise, and that’s the deadlift!

I always deadlift, no matter what kind of back workout I’m doing.

I find that it’s great for increasing strength, and it’s also again allowed me to work on my posture.”

After the heavy deadlifts Jeff Cavaliere moves right into the seated cable row.

Jeff says this is another one of his favorite exercises for building the overall thickness of the upper back, as well as building structural balance in the upper body.

“I love the seated row, because it allows me to get into that stretch, as we have the cable down lower, which allows me to get into that stretch and really feel it in the lats.

You can see, with that low cable set up, it brings your arms out in front of your body, separating the attachment of the lats so you get a better stretch.

This allows you to get a more powerful contraction on every single rep. But it’s just a good way to do the seated cable row.”

After the heavy deadlifts and rows, Jeff moves into several other exercises for his upper back, including good old fashioned pull ups, weighted carries, and hyper rows.

If you respond well to high volume back workouts, then this Athlean X back routine may work great for you.

Of course, Jeff Cavaliere is a very creative trainer – sometimes he likes to pump up the volume and use supersets and other high-intensity techniques.

Here is a very demanding Athlean X superset routine that you can use to shock your body into growth. Check it out:

Athlean X Back Workout #2

  • Exercise A1: Deadlifts, 2 sets of 8, 6 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise A2: Weighted chin ups, 2 sets of 4, 8 reps, 2-3 minutes rest
  • Exercise B1: Deadlifts, 2 sets of 4 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise B2: Wide grip pull ups, 2 sets to failure, 2-3 minutes rest
  • Exercise C1: Barbell dead rows, 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise D1: Alternating high pulley row, 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps to failure
  • Exercise E1: Alternating Hyper Y / W: 2 sets of 14-20 reps
  • Exercise F1: Barbell shrug ladder finisher (see video for more details)

Here is the training video:

Talk about an intense workout! If you are having trouble reading this workout, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a closer look at the first two exercises: the deadlift and the weighted chin up.

Jeff Cavaliere wants you to perform the deadlift, rest 30 seconds, perform the weighted chin up, rest 30 seconds, and then go back to the deadlift!

In other words, you are “supersetting” the deadlift with the weighted chin ups.

This is an advanced bodybuilding technique that is great for shocking the body into growth. Check it out:

“We’re kicking off this perfect back workout with a compound lift: the deadlift.

It’s a great foundational exercise for hitting the traps, the spinal erectors, the lats, and the scapular muscles.

But more importantly, we realize there are some compressive effects on the spine with the deadlift.

So we can pair this up with another great compound movement – the weighted chin up – and get a de-compressive effect on our spine.”

In this routine you do 2 supersets of deadlifts and chin ups, and then you move onto the next superset with deadlifts and wide grip chin ups.

Once again, you do 2 of the supersets. If you can make it through these first 4 exercises, then the rest of the routine is much easier.

As usual, Jeff Cavaliere incorporates different corrective exercises into his routine, such as the high cable row.

Here is Jeff describing this Athlean X corrective movement:

“The next exercise is the one-arm alternating high cable row.

I do it in alternating fashion here to keep this workout moving along, so I can just go from right to left and save an additional set in the process.

The point here though is this exercise is perfect for taking the lats through their entire range of motion.

I like it because it gets my lats out in full stretch, and still gets all the way back behind my body in extension.”

Finally, let’s look at one of Jeff Cavaliere’s low-volume back workouts.

This workout has you perform 3 sets to failure on 4 different exercises.

This may not sound like a lot of volume, but if you put in the intensity that Jeff recommends, then you will be able to stimulate plenty of growth. Check it out:

Athlean X Back Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Pull ups, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #2: Barbell rows, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #3: Lat pulldowns, 3-4 sets to failure
  • Exercise #4: Dumbbell one-arm rows, 3 sets to failure

Here is the training video:

Jeff Cavaliere is a big believer in training hard in the gym.

He believes that too many bodybuilders coast through their sets without ever really pushing themselves. Check it out:

“If you’re not taking your sets to failure, what are you really doing that’s causing a change in your body?

All you’re doing is wasting your time.”

With that in mind, Jeff designed this low-volume routine so you can really push yourself hard on every set.

He says if you are on your phone in the gym, then you aren’t training, you’re just pretending!

“The guys who train sub maximally on all of their sets, or very rarely hit failure, again, I beg the question, what are you trying to accomplish?

If you’re not working on  muscular endurance, what are you doing?

If your goal is to get bigger then you have to think about those analogies again.

The suntan, the sunburn, the burnt steak – you have to get in, get the job done, and get out!”

This is fantastic advice by Jeff Cavaliere.

I’m not saying you have to train to failure all the time, or that it’s necessary to train to failure to build muscle… clearly it’s not.

But too many people are afraid to push themselves in the gym, and it shows in their workouts.

Thank you Jeff Cavaliere for reminding me… that I need to train harder!

Conclusion | The Athlean X Back Workout!

Jeff Cavaliere is one of the smartest experts in the fitness industry.

I especially like the way he designs his upper back workouts to stimulate size and strength gains.

Jeff likes to use a combination of heavy compound exercises, such as deadlifts and chin ups, as well as smaller corrective exercises, in his back routines.

He also likes to use a mix of high-volume and “high-intensity” routines, as we can see from his videos.

If you are looking for a new back routine, then I strongly recommend you try one of these Athlean X upper back workouts.

They may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!

Before you go, check out my other world-class articles on Athlean X:

Trust me – you won’t find this cutting edge information available anywhere else!

“If you want to look like an athlete then you’ve got to train like one!”

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