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Thread: Back Training

  1. #1

    Default Back Training

    Many people are under the impression that biceps are "automatically" worked on back day. And while this can certainly be the case, it is due to ignorance, more than physiology. The biceps, in addition to supinating the hand, bring the forearm and upper arm closer to one another.
    The lats (not the only muscles in the back, but the subject of this discussion) serve to rotate the upper arm in several planes around the shoulder joint.
    If the degree of angle between the biceps and forearm is decreasing, then you are using biceps. If you are bringing your upper arm closer to your body from the front or side, then you are using lats.
    Isolating the back is not something that comes easily to most folks, simply because they've never had occasion to do it. I'm gonna share with you a technique for learning this that completely takes the biceps out of it.
    It involves using Ab Slings. It can be used on cable exercises, but once you understand and get the hang of it, you can use on bent-over rows,etc. Basically, you put your elbows in the sling and pull your upper arms to your body. This works well with seated cable rows, and pulldowns to the front (as in close grip, with palms facing). I also like to stand between two adjustable pulleys set at shoulder height and draw my arms straight into my sides.
    This should demonstrate to some that training back and training biceps are two distinct operations and may take their back development to another level. I sincerely hope so. Good luck!

  2. #2


    ???? how about a picture of this exercise

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Southwest Florida


    When I first read this, I thought you must have been high when you wrote it or something, SYL. I thought, "How the hell do you do any rowing movement without using your biceps?" I was with you on the ab sling exercise, I actually went and tried it and isolated the proper muscles, but I still didn't think it would matter once I bent over and tried it with a bar. It did though! It was a eureka moment. I had to drastically drop the weight I usually use, but once I did and really concentrated on squeezing the muscles together instead of simply moving the bar from the ground to my chest I could definitely feel the difference. Naturally, there was still some biceps involvement, but I never realized how much they {improperly} dominated the movement before. My middle back particularly has always lagged a bit and now I know part of the reason why; my biceps are taking too much of the load on back movements. Thanks man. That was very enlightening.
    Last edited by Morskaya_Pekhota; 01-01-2009 at 07:46 PM.
    "You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again."
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  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Morskaya_Pekhota View Post
    Thanks man. That was very enlightening.
    You're welcome bro. I'm happy.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by MrOlympia2014 View Post
    ???? how about a picture of this exercise
    I don't have a picture of the exercise, but here's a pic of the absling if you don't know what that is. You put your elbows in and use your upper arms only to pull the weight. Since your lower arms are out of the picture, there's no way to use your biceps. You have to use your back. Once you get the hang of just keeping your arms bent at a 90 degree angle when you train back, then you can do without the slings. As MP observed, you'll have to lower the amount of weight you use at first. That's cuz your back isn't as strong as you thought it was. And it never woulda been either. That's about to change though. Train like this for a bit and you'll have the satisfaction of pulling even heavier weights. Because once you actually stress your back, it'll get stronger than your biceps could ever dream of becoming.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by StrappingYoungLad; 01-01-2009 at 11:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    How did I miss this before, I haven't even tried this yet though I can see its what I am looking for. On the adjustable pulleys I also like the movement as you noted, Though felt that the Bis always played to much of a role in bring the weight down. and yes on all the moves you described this will be a huge change. I can't believe I couldn't of thought of this it seems so simple when you think of it, So like the caveman who watched his friend throw the rock for the first time said,, ouch I think that good!!

  7. #7


    Ha ha, it does seem rather obvious after the fact, doesn't it? I felt the same way when I first thought of it. I've still never heard anyone else mention the idea which is a shame really... Have fun!

    Also , on the adjustable pulley thing, if you stand with the pulleys about at shoulder height, the arms will be coming more "laterally" into the sides, rather than "down', so there will be more of a direct line of tension , and hence more resistance in the fully contracted position.
    Last edited by StrappingYoungLad; 04-28-2010 at 04:15 PM.

  8. #8


    Bump... ^^^^

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