A lot of people compliment me on my back development and the most frequent question I am asked is how I train it. There is no secret it comes down to consistency and with enough hard work and time you will have a superior back. Based on all the questions I receive, I decided to write and article about how I train it.
Basic Compound Movements
First of all I am a true believer in compound movements such as deadlifts, chin ups and variety of rows. Another aspect of my training I pay a close attention to is my form; everything is done in a very controlled manner with very slow negatives and somewhat explosive positives to stimulate maximum muscle fiber recruitment. Well let's get to the workout itself.
1st Exercise: Deadlift From Knees
My first exercise of choice is deadlift from the knees. You set up the safety pins in a squat rack at the knees or slightly below that will be your starting point for this exercise. The reason I feel this is a better variation of deadlift for back is because it allows lifting heavier weights then the regular deadlift. Also I feel it works the back muscles much more efficiently without excessive involvement from legs and lower back. Of course we can not totally eliminate leg and lower back involvement but we can greatly reduce it by completing this exercise in such fashion. Because it's a power movement you should strive to use heavy weights for 8-10 reps for a total of 3 sets. Remember to keep your back flat and pull your shoulder blades back at the top of the motion and squeeze tight.
2nd Exercise: Behind Back Pull-Downs
Second exercise for me behind back pull-ups or pull downs. Once again keep the form tight using 3 second negative (lowering phase) and 1 to 2 second positive. You can vary your tempo from workout to workout to further stimulate muscle growth. I will complete a total of 2 sets aiming for 8-10 reps.
3rd Exercise: One-Arm Rows
Third exercise I will do one-arm rows. I only do one set of 10 reps for this exercise. The only function for this exercise in my routine is to stretch out my back muscles. It is completed in a very slow motion with a full stretch at the bottom of the movement and then very explosive positive. By completing a very full stretch, you put a human body at a disadvantage point, where it assumes you are about to pull a muscle from the extreme stretch and the body will react with a very strong contraction and greater muscle fiber recruitment. It take a little bit of time to fully develop this technique and truly know how far to stretch and at what point the body will just contract the given muscle. Start with low weights and slowly increase the weight as you become more comfortable with this exercise done in this way.
4th Exercise: Bent-Over Side Laterals
Forth Exercise is Bent Arm (at the elbow) bent over side laterals. The way I complete this exercise is; I try to hold a contraction at the top of the movement for at least one second. I use light weight and concentrate on the contraction itself. I do 1 set of 10 reps.
5th Exercise: Chin-Ups
Then I move on to chin ups which is my fifth exercise, I complete 2 sets of 8-10 reps. The form is very strict once again, with full stretch at the bottom and a quick squeeze and contraction at the top of the movement and slow negative. Most people will use their own body weigh however as you get stronger you might need to add some weights to your body weight to not exceed 10 reps.
6th Exercise: Pull-over
Sixth set is pullovers; once again the object of this exercise is to get a full stretch just like in the third one, which was one-arm rows. I complete 1 set of 10 reps for this exercise.
7th Exercise: Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Rows
Seventh and last exercise is reverse grip bent over rows. You want to keep the form strict once again with a strong contraction at the top of the rep. I do 2 sets of 10 reps.
It might seem like a lot of exercises but the overall volume is still pretty low with a total of 12 working set. I am a believer in Quality over Quantity, so make your workout intense and keep the form strict and you will feel this workout the next morning, guarantee! Here is the workout itself.
|I would also recommend a few light warm-ups with pull downs|
|Deadlifts from-the-knees||WARM UP||12-15||2-1-2|
|Pull-ups to-the-back||1 SET||8-10||2-1-3|
|or pull-downs to-the-back||1 SET||8-10||2-1-3|
|One-arm rows||1 SET||10||1-1-3|
|Bent-Arm / Bent-over Laterals||1 SET||10||1-2-2|
|Reverse-Grip Barbell Rows||1 SET||8-10||2-2-2|
* First number represents positive (lifting), second is the contraction & third is the negative (lowering)
Well, here you have it my back routine for all of you to try out and enjoy the results. Make sure to feed your body high quality protein and simple carbohydrates after your training to replenish nutrients and stimulate fast recover and muscle growth. You can't build muscle from thin air, right?