Stately shoulders: Check. Bulging biceps: Yep. Trophy-worthy triceps: You know it! But what about a barn-door back? What about lats that block the sun? If you don't have them, it's time to build them. A strong and well-built back is essential to a balanced physique and functional, athletic body.
If you've been leaving your posterior on the backburner, don't fret. Calum von Moger, who bears a striking resemblance to the young Arnold Schwarzenegger, is here to help.
Bring up your lagging back with these pro tips and Calum's personal back attack!
1. Concentrate On Compound
Calum's best piece of advice: Start with compound exercises. It's the best way for any beginner to get started. It's how he started. "Compound exercises not only help you develop your back but also help with coordination and core strength," Calum says. Opt for moves like the deadlift—which targets your back, legs, and glutes—as opposed to an isolation back exercise like a stiff-arm pull-down.
Another important note: Never sacrifice good form for more weight. Piling iron on the bar until you completely round your back on barbell rows is a recipe for injury, not additional mass.
Calum has learned to keep form tight from years of first-hand experience. "I used to try and haul the heaviest weights, whether for deadlifts or lat pulls," he says. "It's no good for building muscle."
2. Create A Mind-Muscle Connection
Calum built a gigantic chest, but until recently never felt the connection with his back. Once he got his mind in it, he grew!
While he's always had great back definition and separation, Calum hasn't always loved training that particular body part. He'd rather be pressing heavy iron or squatting his way to powerful quads. Only in the last year has Calum noticed changes in back width and thickness that have fueled his drive.
Calum has also recently created a strong mind-muscle connection with his back. "What I love about training back now is the better mind-muscle connection I have," he says. "I used to struggle activating my lats. I didn't know how to flex. Now I can do both, which makes training much more satisfying."
3. Pull, Pull, Pull
When you think back, barbell rows and wide-grip lat pull-downs should come to mind. "For a nice, thick back, bent-over rows are perfect because they primarily target the middle traps, which run down the center of your back," Calum says.
"Combine this with lat pulls to develop width and you'll create a bigger, better "Christmas tree" back." Head into your back day workout with the intention of making it snow year-round.
4. Flex and Squeeze
To build a stellar back, it's essential that you flex and squeeze each muscle at the peak of every rep. Isometric exercise—like flexing a muscle for a count of 5 before releasing—helps activate and fatigue that muscle.
Any isometric hold increases the time a muscle is under tension while strengthening the mind-muscle connection during each movement. The result is more of that magnificent mass!
Back to Work
Are you ready to put these tips into action? Put your back to work with Calum's personal back smash. Push yourself to move heavy iron on the sets that call for it, but keep your form tight and your rest times precise.
Mental focus, patience, and good form will help you engage the many strong muscles that give you the power to pull your weight in the gym.Calum von Moger's Back AttackRest 30-60 seconds between warm-up sets Rest 60-90 seconds for working sets