skip to Main Content

Beast Mode Challenge – Back Day

By Alexander VanHouten, Master Trainer & Life Time Education Specialist

Are you bored with the same old workouts?

Yeah, you and every other regular gym-goer.

There’s something to be said of the tried and true methodologies that are easy to follow and generally don’t require much tracking to see progress.

Well, I previously issued a “call to legs” (see what I did there?) in our leg day challenge . Here, I’m laying down another challenge for anyone who’s ready to take things up a notch.

In the past, I’ve covered foundational program design, advanced programming tools, different modalities , suspension, and more, and even the why for athletic training.

Now it’s time to put it all together. Again.

Welcome back to the Beast Mode Challenge: A scientifically superior program design created to exemplify the adaptations needed to let out your inner athlete in epic ways.

Let’s continue with Back Day.

The Workout

I will preface this entire thing by saying, “There’s no such thing as the perfect workout for everyone.”

Since we all have different goals and are starting at varying levels of conditioning, workouts need to be modified to meet every person’s needs, wants, and fitness level.

So, I write this workout as a challenge. Challenges are supposed to be hard and to identify your opportunities for growth. I will follow the workout with an explanation of terms and reasoning so that you can follow along and modify as needed.

The following program is designed to test and enhance your mental focus, promote strength, power and hypertrophy, and annihilate your core musculature while challenging your metabolic output and forcing EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption) to nuke fat.

Get your StrengthStack ready. You’re going to need it.

Let’s get started.


Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
A) Row Machine 2 500m Moderate N/A Pause each pull. Emphasize row.
B) Scooter Ab Pull 2 20 Moderate N/A Keep core dominate over low back.


This superset should progressively wake up your core stabilizers and prime movers for a dynamic and intense back workout in addition to priming the “pull” movement pattern. This begins the injury prevention portion of your gym-time.

Check out this article if you’re ready for something more challenging than scooter pulls. There’s no reason to start your workout with COREDOM!

Mobility, Plyometric, and Agility Work

Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
Plyometric Push – Up 2 10-12 BW 30s Do “clap” variations as able
Chin-Up 2 Failure BW 60s Full extension, chin over bar. Use band or machine to complete 10 if help needed.
Explosive Cable Chop 2ea 8ea Light 30s High to Low, then Low to High


These movements under only the light loads will prime the push, pull and twist patterns to further stave off injury and prepare for the adaptive intensity and volume to come.

Please note that the pectoral muscle is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder during heavy back movements. Priming the “push” pattern with plyometric push-ups will help prevent shoulder injuries during this workout.


Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
A) BB Clean 5 10 (-2) Moderate- Heavy 30s Increase weight as able, decrease 2 reps each set. Regression = DB Snatch
B) DB Scaption (scapular plane elevation) 5 12 Light – Moderate 90s Feet Shoulder Width. Shoulders down.
A) SA DB Row EMOM 2ea (+1) Moderate EMOM 8 Minute EMOM. Add 1 rep each set.
B) DB Pull Over EMOM 6 Moderate-Heavy EMOM Rest until minute is up
A) BB Deadlift AMRAP 5 (+5) Moderate AMRAP 8 Minute AMRAP. Add 5 each round. Fight through the strain!
B) BB Push Press AMRAP 5 (+5) 95lb. – M  45lb. – F AMRAP M – Males ; F – Females
C) DB Renegade Row AMRAP 5 (+5) 50lb. – M

25lb. — F

AMRAP Rest as little as possible. How many reps did you get?


Oh snap, this is where stuff gets real.

One of the biggest challenges to constructing a well-rounded back workout is to give enough variance in grip strength and endurance that your wrists, forearms and elbows do not hinder your epic back beat down.

This workout is designed to give you all of the benefit and none of the hindrance. Nix the wrist straps and let your arms develop how they must to be awesome.

You can almost feel the weakness leaving your body as you overcome each challenge with stubborn grit and a commitment to good form. Enjoy the rough sweat. You earned it. Now to relax.

Cool Down

Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Rest Notes
Jog or Stair Climb 1 5min Light N/A Promote some blood flow to the worn out body parts.
SMR 1 5min Light N/A Any exceptionally tight muscles can benefit 
Static Stretch 1 5min Light N/A Now stretch those muscles
Dry Sauna 1 5-10min Relax N/A Finish and rest until minute is up then do it again!


This last segment seems extraneous but it’s an important part of jumpstarting your recovery from this workout. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system directly following the BEAST MODE challenge will ensure your positive adaptations are maximal and that you prevent injury in the future.

Get maximum growth hormone output, recovery harder than you worked out.

Explanation of Terms

Now to understand the workout in full. Let’s take it from the top.

Reps – This is the number of repetitions to perform for each exercise before resting or moving on to the next movement.

Sets – This is the number of times to complete the full number of repetitions before moving on to the next line item in the workout.

Rest – How long you should rest after performing a set.

Load/Intensity – How much weight should you use? BW means body weight. Light means 25-50% of your 1RM (or top speed). Moderate means 50-70% of your 1RM (or top speed). Heavy means 70-100% of your 1RM (or top speed). Your 1RM (1-rep-max) is the heaviest weight you can possibly lift with good form.

Another way to understand this is with RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of 1-10. How hard does 1 rep feel on a scale of 1-10? Light is a 2-3. Moderate is a 4-6. Heavy is a 7-10.

Notes – What Coach Alex would be saying to you if he were perched on your shoulder.

Superset/Circuit – Denoted by letters beside the movements. These movements are to be completed one after the other as a set until finished in full, then repeated back to back until the number of sets are completed.

For example— BB Cleans and DB Scaption are a superset. Complete your first set of cleans at a moderate weight (10 reps), rest 30s, then pick up the DBs and perform 12 scaptions. Change your weight on your clean for the next set if able (8 this time since we’re decreasing the reps by 2) while resting 90s. When the clock says, start your second set of cleans. Repeat this superset until you’ve completed 5!

AMRAP – As many reps as possible. Complete the circuit as many times as possible during the 8 minutes and rest only when you physically cannot continue. Your “score” is how many reps you complete. Try to improve your total rep count next time you do this workout! Since the AMRAP in this workout is progressive, once you’ve met your max reps twice, increase the time (for volume) or increase the weight (for intensity).

EMOM – Every minute on the minute. Set your timer for 8 minutes. Complete the superset and rest only as many seconds as are left in the minute. When the minute is up, begin the new set. If you can’t complete the set before the minute is up, stop. You’re done. Next time try to move faster. If you want to progress, increase the weight (for intensity) or increase the time (for volume).

DB, and BB – Modality abbreviations. Dumbbell and Barbell. Pretty simple.

SA – Single Arm. The reps are denoted with ea (each). Meaning that many reps on each arm.

Failure – Complete as many as you can with good form until you can’t continue. Best adaptive rep-range ever.

Modifications – Some may need mods during this workout. If a movement is not compatible with your body, ask a trainer to help you modify to find comparable pull, twist, or push.

Go Beast Mode

This workout challenge will push you to your limit and force your back through any plateau’s you’ve recently encountered.

I want to see you burn fat, grow muscle, get stronger, be tougher, and really mean business.

Set aside 90 minutes. Don’t skip the warm-up. Get help with form as needed. Fight hard through the discomfort of a REAL workout. And recover. Like. A. Boss.

I believe in you.

Let’s go BEAST MODE.

The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
Back To Top