Do you aspire to have a strong, muscular back? One that captures attention and commands respect? A back so thick and wide
that it puts the look of fear into a tailor's eyes? Are you willing to pay the price for such a back? The price may be steep
but the results can be very rewarding. Having a densely muscular back can separate you from other competitors or weight trainers.
A densely muscular back will help you in attaining that much sought after v-taper indicative of a highly trained athlete.
Once your back is properly developed, your shirts and suits will never be quite the same!
Other than legs, the back is probably the most neglected body part when it comes to training. This in part is
due to the fact that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to develop an outstanding back. Also, sometimes it is rather
difficult to "feel" the back muscles working when performing an exercise. Most of the time this is due to using too much weight
and using body momentum to perform the lift. Sure, your back may get worked like this but not as much as it could be
if you dropped the weight a little and perfected your form. Once the form is perfected, then you can increase the weight but
never at the sacrifice of good form.
Keep in mind to consult a physician before starting this or any exercise program. If you are ready for a great back workout
then let's begin!
Pull-ups (palms facing forward)
5 sets. Take 2-4 minutes between sets.
Perform as many reps as possible using just your bodyweight. Once you can perform 5 sets of 12 reps, then and only then
may you add weight. A repetition starts from a dead hang and counts as one once your chin surpasses the bar. Perform each
rep from a dead hang and do not swing. Use controlled movements and "feel" the back muscles do the work. Think about pushing
the elbows down instead of pulling yourself up with your arms. This will help shift the focus onto the back instead of the
arms. Exhale as you pull yourself up and inhale as you lower yourself.
You may use wrist wraps if you choose to do so. However, if you are concerned about grip strength and/or forearm development
then refrain from their use.
4 sets. Take 1-2 minutes between sets.
5-10 reps. Choose a weight where you can perform at least 5 reps but no more than 10. Once you can do 10 reps add additional
weight. Bend over at the waist and keep a soft bend in the knees. It is not necessary to keep the back horizontal but you
should not stand up so high it looks more like a shrug than a row. A 45-degree angle works well for most people. Using your
back muscles, pull the weight up to the waist area. "Feel" the back muscles doing the work and not the arms. Exhale as you
pull the weight and inhale as you lower the weight. Some people prefer to use a belt when performing this exercise. That choice
is up to you. Personally, I only use a belt when I am performing my heaviest sets so that my lower back remains strong.
Choose a weight with which you can perform quality repetitions. Do not use so much weight that you have to heave it or
do a movement that looks like a partial deadlift/shrug. We are looking for quality here and maximal back involvement. Once
you perfect this movement, then you can start to add additional weight. I suggest that you perform this exercise with an overhand
grip but occasionally you may use an underhand grip. If you choose to do so, you will probably have to lighten the weight
so that you can get the "feel" again.
3 sets. Take 2-4 minutes between sets.
4-8 reps. We are looking for power, size, and strength here so we will go with slightly lower reps. You may use an overhand
grip here but to use additional weight I would advise using a staggered grip with one palm facing you and the other facing
away. Bend over at the waist and keep the knees bent. Take your grip, keep your back flat during the entire lift, and keep
the bar against the legs as you make your lift. Do not let the bar stray away from the body! The bar should literally drag
against your legs as you make the lift. Instead of thinking of lifting the weight up, visualize yourself pushing the floor
away with your legs. You do not need to make an exaggerated arch with the lower back at the top of your lift unless you want
to maximally stress the lower back muscles or you are a power lifter. Powerlifters are required to perform such an arch to
have the lift marked as successful. Exhale as you lift and inhale as you set up for your next rep. Do not bounce your reps
off of the floor and do not stop short of setting the weight down between reps. Each rep for a deadlift should be its own
movement. After you do your first rep, set the weight down and do the next rep just as you did your first and so on.
You may choose to use a belt and lifting straps for this exercise. Always concentrate on perfect form for this exercise.
Slowly increase the weight in small increments as your strength increases. This exercise is often left out of training programs
because it is physically demanding. Do not make that mistake! You do not have to perform deadlifts in each and every workout
forever, but they should come back into your training cycles on a frequent basis.
3 sets. Take 30-60 seconds between sets.
5-10 reps. Again choose a weight where you can perform at least 5 reps but no more than 10. Once you can do 10 reps add
additional weight. On this exercise, use a close grip (4 apart) with your palms facing you. Pull the bar down to just below
the chin level and exhale as you do so. It is not necessary to make contact with the chest. Pause at the bottom and squeeze
the back muscles. Slowly lower the weight and inhale as you do so. Concentrate on "feeling" the back muscles do the work and
not the arms.
Do not use so much weight that you have to heave it and rock back and forth to bring it down.
There you have it; an intense, complete back workout. Just remember that this is only one type of workout and there are
many more with many different exercise possibilities. I would suggest that you use this program for approximately 6 weeks
or until you feel as though you are no longer making gains in size and/or strength.
Good luck to you!