When working your back, the more you focus on squeezing the muscles, the better the results.
I used to go very heavy, but I found that I got more sore when I was able to contract the muscles real hard at the top for 2-3 seconds. If you use too much weight - even though you ARE able to lift the dumbbells - it will be extremely tough to do slow, slow motions.
This is my favourite workout that I usually do:
Chins - 4 sets, 6-12 reps
I always do weighted chins in order to overload my lats. I use a spotter all the time, doing almost just negative reps. I go as heavy as I can, doing no more than 2-3 reps before reaching failure. There after I let my workout partner spot me for 3-5 more negative reps. It's critical to go superslow, the way down should take no less than 4-6 seconds.
Tip: Use lift wraps
T-Bar Row - 5 sets, 8-12 reps
Never round your back! I bend my knees slightly and keep my back parallell to the ground. The more erect you stand, the more emphasis on the upper traps, which is not my intention. Once again I use a spotter to lift the bar all the way to my stomach, so I can squeeze the lats, visualiszing the muscles being claws gripping my spine. I hold the peak contraction for 3-5 seconds, squeezing the sholder blades together before lowering the bar.
When I have done 5-6 reps and reach failure I make the spotter help me up the bar all the way to do some more negatives.
Tip: lift wraps should be use as well as a lift belt. Be extremely careful as this method overloads the muscles well, but can be dangerous if you cannot hold your back aligned with the floor.
Seated Cable Row - 4 set 8-20 reps
I put a bench around 6 feet from the cable machine, knees bent 90 degrees, with a rope attached to the lower pulley. With my back exaggeratedly arched, I pull the rope to my hip bones, using a neutral hand grip. Keep your chest up, and once again, do the movements slowly. Aim to get your elbows as far back as possible, visualizing the arms to meet behind your lats.
Unilateral Pull Down - 3 sets 10-15 reps
Attach a hand grip in the upper pulley. Sit down on your knees approximately 4 feet from the cable machine. Lean to the opposite side of the cable, so your upper body resembles of the letter C. Keep a slight arch in your back, keeping your shoulder blades together. For more support, put your hand on the thigh closest to the cable. Do the normal pull down this way, going through a wide range of motion, stretching at the top. Hold the peak contraction momentarily.
Belly Back Extensions - 3 sets 10-15 reps
Keep your hips on the pad and relax your glutes. Curl up your back and head - don't lift it with your glutes. Feel the peak contraction for 4 seconds.
Don't forget to stretch after this session, which should be done in no more than 50m minutes. This workout has shaped my back to what it is today, and is as gruel as it is effective for getting your back a supreme development!
As a bonus, I have included my thoughts on mental programming!
There's nothing more important for reaching your goals than your mental approach. Sometimes it's difficult to stay motivated, sometimes it's like you don't really want to keep going. For those times I use this reminder/prayer to help myself remember why and for what I commit to my rigorous exercise routine and diet planï¿½
I know it's tough to focus on making the right choices and not to fool myself that I'm just going to eat that crap only one last time. I need to let the desire for it go away in order to reach my goal.
The only way for me to do that is to have the will, patience and perseverance.
Eating the crap will never make me happy in the long run. Feeling like a million dollars is what will make me satisfied forever.
The temptations are temporary, but my physique is lasts eternally.
Every failure drives my goal further away from me. When I make the right choices, the road to success shortens. I choose, I decide.
I win when I turn down the devastating desire. Desire shall not control me. I'm the one in charge of myself.
The more times I succeed to stay focused on the right things, I become stronger and the more easier it gets to keep going. I want a ripped, muscular body. I need to be determined for that to happen.
I will not let all the hard work so far be in vain by fall victim for the temptation.
Everything will be easier eventually. I just need to live through this all.
Remember who I want to be, who I need to be to feel the very best.
I will succeed because I decide what takes place.
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