The Shadow II Back Routine!

Let's get right down to the heart of this thing, 24 hours ago I was flexing in front of the mirror and pulled out a front lat spread and almost knocked the lamp off a table that was three feet away.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Let's get right down to the heart of this thing, 24 hours ago I was flexing in front of the mirror and pulled out a front lat spread and almost knocked the lamp off a table that was three feet away. I felt a sudden change in pressure as the flow of air speeded up over the top of my lats and created that difference which almost took me off the ground.

I noticed that my back, sometime between now and 6 weeks ago, had exploded to mammoth proportions. Portions so big that you could feed a third world country from it. I changed up my back routine quite a bit a while ago hoping to add even more thickness, and some additional width.

If any of you read the first Shadow article you will know that I am big on rowing movements, BIG on them. Earlier I was doing a lot of cable rowing to supplement my barbell and t bar rows. But the biggest change now is that the only thing we do on cables is pull downs to finish, and I will get into those later. What I started doing now is more rowing variations with barbells and dumbbells, tossed in a couple dumbbell pullovers, racked dead lifts for the back. Here are a couple routines that I interchange as the weeks go on, first exercises I will describe. Note that these are only hardcore bodybuilders that are chalk full of true American grit.

Routine A

Weighted Chins - 4 x 10,8,6,6

    Get wide and get heavy. I notice that it helps me out a lot if I look straight up towards the ceiling when I do this exercise and I try to keep my elbows back. I really focus on contracting the lats to get up there. Moderate pace with a full ROM.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Hanging Chins To The Front.
Video Guide: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

Bent Over Rows - 4 x 12,8,8,8

    Yeah, that's right, get your hands chalked up for this one. Load that barbell up with everything you can find, maybe your cousin. When I do these I alternate between under and overhand grip.

    I pull the barbell right up my legs into my lower abs and squeeze my back hard. Something that helps me out when doing this is if I yell something on every rep, it just fires me up. Go heavy as possible while still being able to use your back muscles. This gets you big.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Bent Over Barbell Rows.
Video Guide: Windows Media - Real Player

Racked Deadlifts - 4 x 12,8,6,6

    I talked about these in my article called "Mount Saint Trap". It's virtually the same thing but instead of targeting the traps I focus on the back. Pulling the weights back and crunching my middle back into oblivion. Get heavy on this, use some straps. Toss on 4-5 plates a side, you can handle it.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Racked Deadlifts.
Video Guide: Windows Media - MPEG

Pull Downs, Ultra Wide Grip - 4x10

    Heavy on these with a good stretch at the top and pull it all the way down and feel it. We finish with these to aid in that extra width that is so crucial.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Pull Downs.
Video Guide: Windows Media - Real Player

Routine B

Weighted Chins Again

    As you can tell I am a firm believer in the fundamentals. So we start with these a lot.

Dumbbell Pullovers - 4 x 12

    These are an advanced movement that take great technique to ensure you are pulling with your back and not using your chest and Tri's to get it up. For me, the way I do it is I like to point my elbows straight into the ceiling and close my eyes and think "BACK, BACK, BACK" I also like to lay perpendicular to a bench so I can fully expand and stretch my rib cage. I take this slow and deliberate trying to feel every fiber.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Dumbbell Pullovers.
Video Guide: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

Deadlifts From The Floor - 4 x 10,8,8,8

    Go a little lighter than the ones from the rack, but use the same principles. Squeeze and crunch things together.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Deadlifts From The Floor.
Video Guide: Windows Media - Real Player

One Arm DB Rows - 4 x 10

    Get the biggest dumbbells in the gym, some wrist straps and your water bottle. I like to use a sit up bench that is inclined a little better. For me that gives the best angle of attack. I let the DB hang in front and stretch before I pull it back with my elbow. I also try to keep my elbow as far back as I can, for maximum back involvement.

Click Image To Enlarge.
One Arm DB Rows.
Video Guide: Windows Media - Real Player

Routine C

Chins Of Course! View Exercise

Bent Over Rows - 4 x 12,10,8,8 View Exercise

T-Bar Rows With Palm Facing In - 4 x 12,10,8,8 View Exercise

Pulldowns - 4 x 12 View Exercise


Other routines can be these exercises just mixed up. The bottom line with early back development is go heavy and go hard. Train for that thick dense powerful back that people will be afraid of. As your back gets stronger, everything else will follow. I guarantee it.

I have outlined things that I do and the way I do them. Note that these ideas and concepts work for me, but they may not work for you. Not everyone has been privileged as of yet to know what works for them, these are just some tips in helping you find that.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Good luck to all.
Be a Freak, Be a Champion

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