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In today’s video, I show you one of my favorite back training exercises. I’ve been throwing it in a lot for tons of reps and have noticed a big difference in my pulling strength. For the setup, we use two boxes to elevate a flat bench. You can do the same movement just by elevating one end of the flat bench on a few plates or lay face down on an incline bench.
I perform other horizontal pulling exercises – like bent over rows or seated cable rows – but I don’t get the same feeling of “isolation” I do with this new movement. And, most times when athletes perform bent over rows, they don’t have the muscular endurance in their posterior chain to hold a good position throughout the set. Which means they end up typically throwing the weights and losing that critical time under tension of the eccentric movement.
Yes, with this supported back exercise less weight is used, but there is no momentum. And you can really concentrate on engaging the lats and keeping more tension as you raise and lower the weights. You should also try to hold the top position for a count of one to really engage the stabilizers of the upper back and own the weight. To build more raw strength, we also move the weights from a dead stop instead of a more dynamic or reactive movement.
Click to the next page for video demonstrations of these back exercises.
I’ve actually written about a variation of this movement before in my Weird Exercise for Building a Strong Back article. In the article, I show the same exercise performed on an elevated platform with a cambered bar.
For the new video, we use dumbbells and perform the exercise with a neutral grip.
Try out this variation and let me know in the comments how the workout went. Of course there are endless variations – like adding Fat Gripz, using kettlebells, or even some insane band-resisted variations – but you don’t have to get fancy. The basics always work.
Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most “innovative strength coaches” in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach “beyond their potential.” He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.