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Thread: Back Training

  1. #1

    Default Back Training

    Many people train back and biceps together.They think that they have to train biceps while doing back anyway,so they might as well.This same logic dictates that they train triceps with chest.I think something different.I think you should not be limited by your relatively small biceps while training something as immense as your back.
    The problem,once again,is that people are taught to do "exercises",not to train muscles.Therefore if the exercise requires that you move a weight from A to B,you simply move it as best you can.Since most people don't have a strong "mind link"with their back muscles,this usually translates to using momentum and biceps.
    If we are to train a muscle,we must know,first off,what does the muscle do?In the case of the lats,their function is to draw the upper arms into,or behind,the body.In no way do they bend the arms.This is our first clue.We must attempt to draw the upper arms into,or behind the body,while bending them as little as possible.
    Before we do anything,let's take a moment to strengthen our connection with our lats.
    Stand in front of a mirror.Hold your arm straight out at shoulder level.Palm facing down.Now,rotate your arm to palm facing up,and as you do,try to pull out your lat.It should flare out.Practice until you can do this.Next,do the other arm.Now,both at the same time.If you've never done this before,it will be quite fun.
    This is the position I use when hanging from a pull-up bar to stretch my lats,and also when I'm doing rows from the side.I do these between 2 pulleys,like you would use for cable cross-overs.The gym I train in has adjustable ones.I lower these to shoulder height,or so.This is to put the line of force more in line with the lats.If you don't have adjustable ones,you could stand on a box to get a little higher,or just do them as they are.
    Standing between the pulleys,with a handle in each hand,flare out your lats and bend your arms to a 90 degree angle.Keeping your arms at this angle,use your lats to pull your upper arms behind your back.keep the cables"in line"with your lats.As you lower the stacks,keep your lats flared as you round out your upper back,stretching as you resist the lowering.Do not straighten your arms.Then repeat.
    When I see people doing seated cable rows,what I usually see,is a jerk backwards,initiated by their spinal erectors.This momentum gets it going and then the biceps finish it off.Therefore we will begin by sitting upright,and we will maintain this position throughout.First,without bending the arms,pull your shoulders straight back.Now imagine that your hands are hooks attached directly to your lats.You have no arms.Use these hooks to drag the weight back by contracting your lats.Your arms will of course bend,but keep this to a minimum..You are most likely going to have to reduce the weight you use at first.This is because we aren't going to use momentum or your biceps,and your lats aren't as strong as you've led yourself to believe.
    After training this way for a while,your strength will increase dramatically,now that you are actually training your lats.I'm considered strong,and a lot of that has to do with the way I train.I did seated rows today with the whole stack,sitting upright,pulling with my lats.No jerking,etc.There are some big boys where I train,and I guarantee that none of them could duplicate this.This is not to brag.I'm used to being strong and it means little to me.Only to point out that you can be MUCH stronger than you are presently,if you are willing to back up a little,and try something new.
    On pulldowns,I recommend pulling to the front.If you do it without holding anything,you will see that your hands would come apart,quite naturally as your lats draw your upper arms down to your side.This would suggest using a 2-handled strap,if possible that would allow this pulling apart so that your arms could maintain their 90 degree bend,and not recruit the biceps.If you don't have access to this equipment,then sit facing the stack.Grab the bar at shoulder width,and flare your lats.Using your lats and trying not to bend your arms(this is impossible,but try anyway)Pull the bar down using your lats.Only go to the point where your lats are fully contracted.It is pointless to go further than this.It will onlyinvolve your front delts and take the stress off your lats.
    I recommend hanging from a bar and stretching for 60 sec.Use straps if you have to.
    Okay.I'm not going to try and explain every variation of rows and pulldowns,but I think you get the general idea.
    As usual,I wish you success in ALL that you do!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Default

    you are right, most people dont have a good "mind link" w/ their back. what i call muscle control most people dont have a clue. like flexing rear delts- thats almost impossible for most LOL. it took me a couple of years to learn how to train back.

    BTW, i do train biceps on back day but only after my back work out. i just finish them off w/5-7 sets & i have been getting good results w/ this routine. i dont have enough time in the week for an arm day

  3. #3
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    Default

    Biceps go with back... Chest/shoulders/Tris -- makes sense in all aspects of working out... push/pull.

    I've done 300 on Barbell Rows... with much the same effect... Extending my arms downward to really get a good flare on my lats. Same with T-Bar rows... I've had 5 plates on that *****... with much the same result.

    I do agree that many people don't have good form on their exercises, this isn't limited to Back -- I would say it is more apparent on legs lol. This is another reason I think 90% of the people training in the gym NEED a personal trainer.

    C-ditty
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  4. #4
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    Great stuff SYL. I will admit that I probably do all the wrong things for the lat pull downs and rows, ie useing my body for momentum and then using my biceps. This description how to better excercise those muscules that you are actually trying to hit is great. I can't wait to get into the gym tomorrow and try them out.

    I have to admit I can't wait for what's next your series. Legs, shoulders, triceps? Bring it on!

    I wonder if someone could create a sticky linking to this series of articles by SYL, they've been very informative thus far.

  5. #5
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    I must say as I get older every day I NEED to do back in order to get my bi´s really warm. Same with chest and tri´s. It surely limits the strength in arms , but espesially tri´s (elbows etc) need a really good warm up. I still can do them either together or arms alone , but prefer to use the push/ pull method mostly. Otherwise I agree with u SYL.... back´s a different sucker to master so good tips are always welcomed. Recommend them wholehartedly...
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  6. #6
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    I like this post SYL, a lot of good points made about training back

    Mr.X

  7. #7
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    Yes Hanauri... definately a very important thing to focus on hitting the back, rather than just using your arms... I would say many of the members here realize that, however... this is a good post, to explain on an elementary level how to do things.

    C-ditty
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  8. #8
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    Great post, SYL. Even though most claim to know these fundamentals, it's always beneficial to take "refresher courses" and incredibly informative for the newbie.

    Peace and Luck,

    BB34

  9. #9
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    i prefer to give back it's own day. i used to do the chest/tri, back/bi thing religiously. since i've switched to giving chest and back their own days and doing bis and tris together on a seperate day, i've seen dramatic improvements all around.

    i also think everyone should pay specific attention to what syl said about the mind/muscle connection thing...it's prolly the greatest thing i've learned to do since i've begun training. at any given time you should be able to almost acheive a pump by just flexing.
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  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mac83
    i prefer to give back it's own day. i used to do the chest/tri, back/bi thing religiously. since i've switched to giving chest and back their own days and doing bis and tris together on a seperate day, i've seen dramatic improvements all around.

    i also think everyone should pay specific attention to what syl said about the mind/muscle connection thing...it's prolly the greatest thing i've learned to do since i've begun training. at any given time you should be able to almost acheive a pump by just flexing.
    I agree.If you can't contract the muscle with no resistance,how can you contract it against resistance?As for the back,bis thing,do what you want.I train antagonistic groups.Chest-back,bis-tris,hams-quads,alternating,so that one is recovering as the other is working.This allows me to train at a non-stop pace that increases intensity without sacrificing effort.

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