Back Exercises

Muscle in Minutes: Back

In the gym, you can’t see your back at work. Eliminate all doubt with these two workouts that hit every back fiber in different ways.

back muscle in minutes

The lat pulldown is a great exercise. Cables offer constant tension. The wide array of handles offer seemingly unlimited variety of grips and hand spacings. The knee pads (when properly used) help to eliminate tension-robbing sway for cleaner reps with heavy loads. But if you’re looking to really build wide, thick lats, deep erectors and crazy detail, you have to subscribe to another back training life – one that transpires well away from the lat pulldown station.

As ever, deadlifts are the most fundamental back-builder around. Calling in assistance from nearly every major muscle group, a bar-bending set of deads heavily taxes your entire posterior chain and grip – two key muscle groups that assist in nearly every other lat-swelling pull you can conceive of. Along those lines, the pull-up is an underused move for back mass. Almost universally, those who manage to master their bodyweight on this vertical pull begin to uncover freaky detail in their upper backs while also cultivating crazy strength.

This multi-workout plan – two, short workouts done on non-consecutive days – attacks the pull-up and deadlift with heavy work early in the week then comes right back with a higher-volume sesh that chisels your lats from top to bottom (and front to back).

Pull-Ups

WORKOUT 1

So we’ve established that pull-ups and deadlifts are essentially the keys to the kingdom for back-building. Where people go wrong with these exercises is going too light, or doing too many reps. Pull-ups and deadlifts produce the best results when done with a heavy load and low-reps. In my experience, five-rep sets produce some great strength gains, as well as thickness and overall mass in the lower back, lats, and upper back. The machine row is also great to utilize when trying to go heavy. If you go too heavy on bent-over barbell rows, you are likely to use poor form and risk throwing out your back. Because it offers a supported and fixed range of motion, the  machine row is perfect for heavy weight and lowering the risk of injury when using heavy loads.

Exercise

Sets

Reps        

Pull-Up  

5

51

Machine Row 

5

5

Deadlift 

5

52

1 Use a weight belt, if needed, to approach failure at the prescribed rep range.

2 Use the first three sets as warm-ups. These should be relatively light and not done to failure. The last two sets should be around 80-85% of your 1-rep max.

Perform all three exercises in a circuit fashion, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. Rest 90 seconds between circuits. Make sure to rest at least 48-72 hours before you perform the next workout.

lat pulldowns

WORKOUT 2

After your first back day of the week, your muscles are ready for some increased blood flow to the muscle. This higher-volume workout helps to build up more lacate and triggers a greater release of growth hormone. The lat pulldown is much more favorable when using higher reps than the pull-up. Some good, long-range-of-motion, single-arm dumbbell rows will produce great results when utilized with high reps. Finish off the back with some shrugs and you are on your way to some serious upper back growth and detail.

Exercise

Sets

Reps        

Lat Pulldown  

3

12

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

3

12

Barbell Shrug   

3

12

These exercises are performed in straight sets fashion. Finish all sets and reps for one exercise before moving to the next. On each exercise perform one light warm-up set and then start at a weight that is about 65% of your 1RM. Add weight on each set until you reach about 80% of your 1RM. Make sure to rest at least 48-72 hours before your perform your next back workout.

For more training info from Justin Grinnell, CSCS, you can go to www.justingrinnell.com, or visit his gym’s website at www.mystateoffitness.com, his Facebook page, or check him out on Twitter. He is the author of The Grinnell Lifestyle: My Nutritional Doctrine, available on Amazon.

 

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