If you’ve just completed a back workout, then plan a chest workout, leg workout, or rest day for the following day. Most workout plans follow up a back workout with a lower body workout or a rest day. This allows your back muscles time to recover, rebuild, and grow before they’re called upon to work again. For the most beneficial training, work out your back and biceps on the same day.
How Back Workouts Fit Into Popular Workout Programs
When asking what to work out after back day it’s a good idea to look at how the most popular and effective workout programs manage training volume. The programs below range in difficulty and time commitment, but each one balances back workouts by targeting other muscles during the next workout.
Stronglifts 5×5 and similar total body workout programs tend to follow each workout with a rest day. So, if you work your back with barbell rows on Monday, you’ll take the day off from the gym on Tuesday.
- Stronglifts and other total body workout programs follow up back workouts with a rest day.
- After your rest day, your next workout will focus on lower body and shoulders, giving more time for your back to rest.
In addition to rest days, any Stronglifts workout that includes barbell rows is followed by a workout that focuses on your shoulders and lower body. So, if you did barbell rows on Monday, you’ll rest Tuesday and then do a workout of squats, overhead press, and deadlifts on Wednesday. This gives your back muscles time to rest and recover.
The time-honored Upper/Lower split follows up upper body workouts with lower body workouts and rest. Your upper body workout will typically include exercises for all the major upper body muscles, including your back. Your body needs time to recover from moving heavy weights. A typical Upper/Lower Split looks like:
- Monday: Upper body (with back exercises)
- Tuesday: Lower body
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Upper body (with back exercises)
- Friday: Lower Body
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
This program allows your back muscles to rest 48–72 hours after each workout. This is essential for muscle and strength development. Pushing your back to perform strength training workouts after less than 48 hours of rest is detrimental to your progress.
The PPL training program, also known as Push, Pull, Legs, takes another approach than the Stronglifts 5×5 or Upper/Lower workout programs. It typically follows up a back workout with a chest workout or a leg workout. Here’s what a typical PPL weight training schedule looks like:
- Monday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Tuesday: Back, Biceps
- Wednesday: Legs
- Thursday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Friday: Back, Biceps
- Saturday: Legs
- Sunday: Rest
Although this sample always has back workouts followed by leg workouts, you can shift this around however you want. Just make sure to repeat the same pattern back-to-back each week. You can do Back, Chest, Legs or Back, Legs, Chest if you prefer.
What Muscles Should You Work Along With Your Back?
Depending on your resistance training plan, you can combine back workouts with a number of different exercises. However, our favorite method is to combine back and biceps on the same day. This exhausts all your “pulling” muscles. You can then focus on “pushing” or lower body workouts for the next few days while your back and biceps recover.
- Biceps exercises pair well with back workouts because biceps are a secondary muscle used during back exercises.
- On a PPL program you work your back and biceps in the same workout, followed by 2–3 days of rest for these muscles.
- You can work your back as part of a complete upper body workout if you prefer an Upper/Lower split training schedule
If you prefer, you can combine back with other upper body workouts into a single day. This is common in Upper/Lower split weightlifting programs. However, some lifters feel like they only get to do 1–2 exercises for each muscle during this workout. If this leaves you wanting more, consider a PPL resistance training plan.
How Should You Rest Your Back After Working Out?
After working out your back muscles in the gym, allow 48–72 hours before working out your back again. This means you should not work out your back on consecutive days. Working out your back (or any single muscle group) too often can reduce muscle development and raises your injury risk.
- Do not perform back exercises in the gym for 2–3 days after a back workout.
- Working your back too frequently inhibits muscle development and may cause injury.
- Eat a high protein diet and consider adding this BCAA supplement for muscle recovery.
- Hydrate with plenty of water.
- Take hot and/or cold showers to reduce muscle soreness after an intense back workout.
After a back workout, eat a high-protein diet and drink plenty of water to promote muscle recovery. Both hot and cold showers are also scientifically proven to help reduce muscle soreness. Combine this with some healthy BCAA supplements and plenty of rest and you’ll be ready for your next back workout.
What Should You Do After Back Day?
After a back workout, do not plan another workout with back exercises for 48–72 hours. It’s a good idea to follow up a back-focused workout with a lower body workout, a chest workout, or a rest day. This will give your body time to recover so you can perform at your best during the next back workout. Across the board, popular workout programs typically allow for leg workouts and rest after back day.