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I have just spent 1 month working out with weights in a gym. Currently I am doing pull downs (not yet strong enough for pull ups) and seated rowing for my back. The seated rowing seems to be involving the lower back muscles a bit, but still I am considering adding back extensions. Also I am wondering if I should add 1 or 2 stabilizing exercises e.g. the plank.

My goal is to a have a strong and healthy (functional) back, not to look big.

On the other hand my preference is to do as few exercises as possible and with relative heavy weights (10-12 reps per set).

With that in mind I was wondering if it would be possible to reduce the numbers of exercises?

More spesifically I was wondering if dead lifting + 1 stabilizing exercise (which?) would be enough?

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Thanks for the question. However answer can be quite complicated. I'll try to go through points I have in mind. Hope it help.

10-12 reps per set, with high weight is much. Normally up to 6 reps per set is considered as training for power. I understand that you don't want to go big. Look here or better - go to YT, and search for deadlift. Not all of them are big. In practice 10-12 reps means going big. More reps - like 15-20 gives stamina, lower, as wrote before. Perhaps that is somehow tested, but for me that is kind of wisdom, not always correct, or better - for some exercises it goes like that, for other probably not. So question is why you are doing 10-12 reps per set? If that month is your first month at the gym - perhaps you should talk with trainer there. That way you can relay on physical person's opinion. Also someone with experience can see what your are doing, and your new program can be based on that. More - you can ask for update after month or so.

Other point, more as a side note - please do not do dead lift / squat after pull ups. Pull ups are relaxing your spine's muscles, and that is why this order is considered harmful.

Dead lift uses whole back, but mostly lower back, gluts, hamstrings. So exercises like shrugs should not interfere much. Pull ups are other exercise that can be performed. After not before.

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