Big Man On Campus: Week 1, Day 2

If a barn-door back is on your list of school supplies, you've come to the right place. Steve Cook will take you to mass class.

You're probably sore from yesterday, but it's not time to rest. Not yet. To become the Big Man, you need to focus and prepare for another hour against the iron.

Your classes, homework, friends and girlfriend can wait. This hour is yours. It's time to hit the gym; it's time to blast your back and biceps.

Big Man On Campus: Back & Biceps Training

Watch The Video - 12:24

Schedule. Track. Succeed.


Bigger Man Tips

Mental Strength ///

Get your game face on before you step foot into the gym. Spend 10 minutes thinking about what you're about to do; see yourself with that giant back and those incredible arms.

This visualization/focus period is important. If your brain isn't ready, your body can't do what it needs to.

When you get into the weight room, it's time to do work, not socialize. Put on your headphones, crank up the music, and pay attention to what you're doing. There's a time for chit-chat, but that time is not now.

Exercise Tips

Pull-Ups ///

You need to hit at least 10 reps per set. If you need to take a little rest, or get someone to spot you, do it. On the other hand, if you can get to 15 reps, put on a weight belt. These pull-ups should be challenging. They'll get easier over the next 12 weeks, so add weight and/or decrease rest as necessary.

Pull-ups are a great exercise to do at the beginning of a workout because they're very functional. They're also going to create that width you want.

Make sure you keep the elbows as wide as you can, squeeze at the top of the repetition, and control the eccentric (lowering) phase of the move.

Bent T-Bar Rows ///

For this exercise, grab a belt for some extra support. If you don't have one, don't worry; you can still perform the movement. As you begin, keep your back flat and your butt lower than your hips.

Fully contract your lats on your way up and fully extend on your way down. Like pull-ups, this movement is great for building a wide back.

On the last set, go to failure. But don't stop there. Strip some weights and keep going. It should be tough. No matter how difficult these are for you, don't let your form suffer. Bad form leads to injuries. Injuries lead to less growth.

Close-Grip Pulldown ///

This movement is great for lat length and it targets your lower lats. Since we've been focusing on width, the close-grip pulldown will help build density and depth. Your back should be wide and thick.

Dumbbell Single-Arm Row ///

To really isolate your lats, keep your elbow as close to your body as possible and pull towards your hip. Don't use straps unless you absolutely need to. Instead, try to build some forearm and wrist strength, which will help you with multiple movements.

If you feel too much strain in your arms, you need to lighten the weight. All emphasis should be on your lats, not your shoulders or arms. I think it's good to incorporate two rowing movements into any back program to accentuate the back's thickness.

Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown ///

Keep your chest high as you bring the weight down. The stretch is just as important as the contraction: the further you stretch, the better the contraction. Between sets, stretch out your lower lats.

EZ-Bar Curl ///

Your grip should be wider than shoulder-width, and you should be concentrating on the last two-thirds of the movement. Don't lock out your elbows at the bottom. Your elbows should be pinned to your side for pure biceps contraction.

For the second two sets, we're going to cheat a little. Now, that doesn't mean jerk backwards; it means you should use just enough momentum to get the weight up. You're still focusing on pure biceps contraction.

Incline Dumbbell Curl ///

At the top of the curl, turn your wrists out and bring your pinky up to really help bring out that lower cut on your biceps. Get a full range of motion by stretching all the way down without locking your elbows.

On the last sets, I bring my legs up and cross them so I only use my biceps to lift the weight. I can't use any momentum from the floor to help me. It's pure contraction for peaked-out biceps.

Spider Curl and Dumbbell Hammer Curl ///

Supersetting these two exercises targets your brachialis, building biceps thickness and emphasizing your peak. This finisher should also deliver a sleeve-splitting pump.

If your biceps aren't swollen to the point of bursting, you need to lift heavier and work harder.

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