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By Jim Smith, CSCS
Back Off! Massive Muscle Building for Your Back
Having a strong back is critical for success in athletics, in staying healthy during training and for overall well-being. With that said, what does it take to get a strong back? Read on and find out how to build a back side that will make everybody take notice.
1. Pull Ups and Chins Ups form the foundation:
Pull ups and chin ups are to your back as squatting is to your legs. You need to do them and do them often. Not only do they use a tremendous amount of muscle, but they also get you BRUTE STRONG. All the connective tissues of your shoulders and back get noticeably stronger when you perform these exercises. Many people get bogged down with trying to do max reps on pull ups and chin ups. If you have ever read the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, Arnold recommends that you pick a goal number of reps you want to achieve and do as many sets as it takes you to reach your goal number. I feel that this is one of the best ways to increase your pull up and chin up strength.
2. Go heavy on big lifts:
By this I mean go heavy on the deadlifts, the barbell shrugs, barbell rows, back extensions etc. All of these lifts require the back musculature to work overtime in a big way to engage and lockout the movement. You will be hard pressed to find a single exercise that does not require the back musculature to be engaged to some degree to help with the execution of the lift.
3. Balance you back budget:
Make sure you train your back with a sense of balance. Make sure to hit a horizontal row (seated rows, DB rows, barbell rows), a vertical pulling motion (shrugs, pull ups, chin ups), also make sure to get your external rotators with some band external rotation, DB external rotations, or cable external rotations. Lastly hit some retractions before or after your work out.
If you follow these three steps, in no time at all you will have a back that legends are made of. Imagine going to the beach and hitting a lat spread and making people wonder if a solar eclipse is occurring. Now tell me that doesn’t sound cool.
Sample Back Workout:
A. Plate Halos 2 x 15
B. DB Retractions 2 x 20
C. Static Pec Stretch 3 x 10 s (each side)
Strength Training Workout:
1. Chins Ups: 10 x 3
2. Barbell Rows 5 x 8
3. DB Shrugs 3 x 10
4. Seated Low Row 3 x 12
5. Band External Rotations 2 x 20
Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.