Some of the most impressive photos ever been published in bodybuilding magazines are back shots. From the old days of Lee Haney, to the width and freakiness of Ronnie Coleman, to the detail, rear double biceps shot have revealed epic back development.
And who can forget the hardcore black-and-white photos of the legendary Dorian Yates? The Shadow cast a big one. You know these great physiques athletes worked very hard to achieve that combination of thickness, width, and detail.
Achieving your best back development will not be easy, either. It takes sacrifice, great effort, high intensity, and pushing yourself to new realms. Take, for example, this new twist on back training. It provides a challenge, is very intense, shouldn't take all day to perform, and most importantly, will provide you results.
Do this routine once a month to shock your back into growth; or do it once a week for no more than six consecutive weeks.
Giant Sets for a Giant Back
To help you achieve that giant back, you are going to do giant sets. Giant sets push you to the extreme because you do four or more movements without rest. This routine will actually have you doing five exercises before taking a break. It'll be hard, and there are some things you need to understand before attacking this program:
1. Leave your ego at the gym door
Since you are going to be doing so many exercises with so little rest, you won't be able to use the weight you normally handle with these exercises. Going too heavy will only lead to injury. Instead of thinking about the number of plates, focus on your form. If you can't reach the minimum of reps in the rep ranges given, lower the weight.
2. Warm up thoroughly
Take 10 minutes and warm up on the treadmill or elliptical. You will want your body temperature to be warm enough to avoid muscle pulls.
Stretch out your entire body before taking on this giant set workout. You want to be loose and flexible. Also, stretch out when you do get your brief breaks in between these giant sets.
4. Use a belt and straps
5. Focus on the squeeze of each rep
Taking your time with each rep and squeezing with each contraction will help carve in that freaky detail and make those muscles pop when you flex your back.
Perform one warm-up set of each of these five movements before going into your work sets. If you need detailed descriptions of each of these movements, check out the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database.
Overhand barbell row
The overhand version will not involve the biceps as much as the underhand version. You don't need to be bent at a 90-degree angle for this movement but don't just slightly lean forward, either. Position yourself at 45 degrees and your lats will get blitzed. After your warm-up set, do this movement for 8-12 reps.
Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Row
You can have the dumbbells right there where you are doing the barbell rows, so transitioning will be quick. The dumbbells will force you to work each side of your back independently-plus you can pull in more than you can with the bar. You're doing this immediately after the barbell rows, so you won't be able to use the same total weight with the dumbbells that you have on the bar. For example, if you have 200 pounds on the bar then, you likely won't be able to perform the dumbbell rows with the 100s. After your warm-up set, do this movement for 8-12 reps.
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
The wide-grip pulldown will help build lat width-but only if you do them right. Don't let gravity take over at any point during the set. You may be tired, but fight through the fatigue. If at any point you can't control the weight, then your poundage. Squeeze when you finish pulling and take the weight back up slowly. After the warm-up set, you'll do this movement for 12-15 reps.
Your grip will be closer, and your palms will now be facing you. So while your biceps will help a little, focus on your lats instead. Just like with the wide-grip pulldowns, you control the weight, not vice versa. You may be tempted to start swinging a little at this point to move the weight, but resist. Lower the weight instead and pull with the lats. After the warm-up set, do this movement for 12-15 reps.
Finally, we're at the last exercise. Can't forget about the lower back. You may want to either speed up to get through this or skip it altogether, but once again, finish strong and finish right. If your bodyweight isn't enough resistance, hold a plate across your chest. If you start to use weight and realize you can't finish the set, simply place the weight down and keep going. After the warm-up set, you'll do this movement for 20 reps.
The Mile-Wide Back Workout
Now that you know the exercises, let's review the workout plan itself. Do one warm- up set of each movement. This will familiarize you with the range of motion and prepare your body for the working sets to come. After that warm up and a brief two-minute rest, the workout should look like this.
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After the two-minute rest you will perform each of the exercises again the same way. This process continues until you have finished three rounds or "cycles."
If you do three rounds, by the time your workout is over, you will have performed 15 working sets. If you are an advanced trainer, then four rounds, or 20 total working sets, may be what it takes for you.
It should make sense now that giant sets could be what it takes for you to achieve that giant back you want so badly. With this giant routine, giant effort, and a giant desire to go the extra mile, you'll reach your goals in no time.