Most people will tell you that they believe only what that can see and to see it they will believe it. Bodybuilders are extremely guilty of this narrow point of view and will confidently walk onto a stage and, from the frontal view, exude extreme pride in their appearance. Rightfully so, since that are totally flawless from the front. The judges, being impressed and with hopes to be more impressed, call for the line-up to face the rear. This undoubtedly will be the deciding factor separating the line-up. Why? Because they will surely determine those who have experienced the "Big Back Attack"!
Go Way "Back"
Think back to when you first began to train and all that mattered was anything that you could see in the mirror. The barreled chest. The rippling abdominals. The sweeping quads. The towering shoulders and traps. The bulging biceps and brachialis. All the visible areas that only you can see. The problem is that you have neglected anything and everything "not" in plain view. What? You don't think it's important? The judges will! A season judge thoroughly understands the human anatomy in detail. They will immediately recognize those athletes who fail to place enough emphasis on things like the following: Teres Major and Minor, Infraspinatous, Rhomboid, Erector Spinae, Semitendinosus, Gracilis, Biceps Femoris, and Gluteus (Medius, Minimus, and Maximus), Posterior Deltoid, Gastrocnemius, Plantaris, and Soleus. Those are just a few of the meticulous and neglected areas of the posterior body that are usually under achieved by most. The neglect begins at the start of any training regiment. If it's not visible, then why worry about it? Simple, because the judges will ultimately uncover the weakness that you have failed to.
Baby Got "Back"
When you see a well-developed back, you will appreciate it even more if you yourself have achieved similar accomplishments. The isolated and meticulous detail necessary to account for all the small yet important areas of the back is crucial and, at the beginning, time-consuming. If you haven't realized, when I refer to the back, I am referring to the entire back from head to heel. A well-defined back deserves the attention that it most certainly receives from those knowledgeable in the building of bodies. It not only purports a work ethic worthy of enduring accolade, it eminates to others what is truly "artistic". When you are able to achieve the sculpturous rear view (striated glutes, sliced hamstrings, heart shaped calves, etc.), you will be at a point that, in most cases, you are way ahead of the pack. You know you have "arrived" when you hear the opposite ..... say as you enter the gym and remove you sweat top, "Damn, Baby Got Back"!
"Back" That Thang Up
How and what can you do to "Back That Thang Up"? My philosophy for training back is probably no different than anyone elses. To train back, you must use proper, Proper, PROPER FORM! That means thoroughly isolating the area being worked. That means, no rocking when doing things like bent-over rows or laterals. You must maintain good alignment and don't use momentum when executing repetitions. You must contract and squeeze at the peak of concentric movement and control the eccentric movement. You must feel the muscle being worked or connect your mind and muscle. It takes time to develop the mind and body connection but if and when you do, get ready for unbelievable results. You must continually stimulate the muscles by hitting each from as many angles as you can imagine. Don't be afraid to try something new. For instance, if hitting hamstrings, there is only a limited amount of alternatives. Try this. Kneel on the floor upright and on both knees. Have a training partner stabilize your ankles. Now, place your arms across your chest. Here's were the fun begins! Start to lower your body towards the floor. Once you've achieved an angle of about 30-60 degrees, pull yourself back up. Do this as many times as you can. It won't be many but the hamstring burn will be impressive. When training the back (i.e., Latissimus Dorsi etc.), you should overloading these areas with as heavy weight as you can muster and still maintain the proper form mentioned above. Near the end of my back work, I always make sure to hit some areas that I feel the competition will not. One of these areas is the Sternocleidomastoid. What is that you ask? The neck! I use a neck harness to train this area. It enhances the Trapezius/Rhomboid tie-in. If you decide to try this, use light weight to start and use proper form and technique until you get comfortable.
"Back" By Popular Demand
A full and developed back provides several health benefits. It assists with upright posture and alignment reducing stress on other opposing areas of the body. It is the last impression you leave when exiting. People notice your back development more so than any other areas simply because its the last thing they see as you walk away. Although overlooked by most bodybuilders, it is can and most certainly will be the difference that separates the top of any class. Training back should be as popular as training chest, legs, or abdominals. Well another wrap. The season approaches and I wish you all a successful and inspired season. See you again soon!
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars."
-- Les Brown