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Back Exercises

12 Dec 15
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The back muscles are one of our largest muscle groups but are neglected during workouts, but they shouldn’t be, because working the back is a great way to burn calories and fat. The Back Workout Companion App provides the best exercises for you to achieve the V shape look. Loaded with exercise descriptions and routines. Remember, the majority of the strength behind hits or throws come from the back; the more stable your shoulders and back muscles are, the more accurate your sporting movements will be. The Back Workout Companion App, all you need to get back on track.

Why Build a Great Back

Training your back muscles can often be a hard task; you can’t see them and hence can be hard to concentrate on them during training. The back muscles are one of our largest muscle groups, making them a killer calorie and fat burner.

The trick to building yourself a perfect back lies in the technique; if you lack good form, then you will achieve nothing with your workouts. We all want to build the perfect body fast, but this desire often results in people loading up too much weight and actually doing themselves more harm than good. The wide grip pull down is a prime example; if you have too much weight on, you will round your back when pulling the bar down. This often results in you pulling your arms out of position and rounding your shoulders, and instead of targeting your back, you’re using your whole body to complete the movement. Correct your technique by lightening the load and keeping your elbows under the bar at all times; pulling it towards your collarbone, not your thighs.

The biggest back training mistakes can often occur because of lack of concentration or loaded weight bars and bells. So remember, for the best gains; don’t overload your weights; don’t overarch your back as you pull; always maintain correct elbow position; don’t always pull your elbows back far enough.

What’s so great about a strong, muscular back?

  • Impresses the women
  • Improves sports performance
  • Improves quality of life.

Exercise – Lat Pull-Down

Target Muscles: Lats

Set-up: Make sure a wide bar is attached to the top pulley, sit down and place your palms at your chosen width facing forward over the bar.

As your arms are extended out in front of you, move your trunk back approximately 30 degrees, pushing your chest out and creating a small curvature in your lower back.

Technique: As you breathe out, draw your shoulders and upper arms back and down. As you do so, pull the bar down, stopping when it reaches your upper chest.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together for a second and as you inhale, slowly raise the bar back up until your arms and lats are extended. Repeat.

Tip: Turn on your core muscles to ensure the upper torso remains still – only the arms should move. Do not allow your forearms to pull down the bar; their job is to merely hold the bar. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles as you pull down, especially when your lats are in the fully contracted position.

lat pull down


Exercise – One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Target Muscles: Middle back

Set-up: place a dumbbell on either side of a flat bench. Place your right knee on top of the bench and bend forward until your torso is parallel to the floor and your knee is on a 90- degree angle. For balance, place your right hand on the bench directly under your shoulder. Pick the dumbbell up in your hand with your palm facing towards your body. Be sure to keep your abs on and back straight.

Technique: As you breathe out, pull the dumbbell straight up. Make sure you keep your upper arm tucked in close to your side and your abs are on to maintain a stationary torso. When the dumbbell reaches the side of your chest, breathe in and slowly lower your arm back down on the starting position.

Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles when you reach the fully contracted position. Also, make sure that the force is performed with the back muscles and not the arms. Finally, the upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the dumbbell; therefore do not try to pull the dumbbell up using the forearms.

One armed dumbbell row


Exercise – T-bar row

Target Muscles: Middle back

Set-up: Place a weight on one end of a barbell. Be sure there is something behind the barbell to prevent it from sliding backwards, whether it is the corner of two walls or a heavy object. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your hips until your torso is as closes to parallel with the floor as possible. Stand over the barbell at the end with the plates and place one leg on either side.

Grab the bar with both hands just behind the plates, keeping your abs tight. (A)

Technique: To maximise the use of your back muscles, tuck your elbows in and pull the barbell up until the plates touch your chest. As you lift the weight, breathe out and squeeze the back muscles. Hold for a second at the top before slowly breathing in and lowering the barbell back to the start position. Repeat. (B)

T Bar Row A   T Bar Row B


Exercise – Chin-Ups

Target Muscles: Lats

Set-up: Grab the pull-up bar with a grip closer that shoulder width and your palms facing inwards. Now, keep your torso as straight as possible, stick your chest out and create a small curvature in your lower back. (A)

Technique: With a firm grip, pull your body up until your head reaches a similar level to the bar. Focus on using your biceps to pull yourself up while keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body. As you pull yourself up, breathe out. Hold at the top for a second before slowly breathing in and lowering your body back down until your arms are fully extended. Repeat. (B)

Tip: Ensure you keep your torso as straight as you can; this will activate the biceps to maximum capacity.

Chin up A   Chin up B


Exercise Sets and Reps

The following is only a guide and you should modify the order of the exercise and the sets and reps to suit the goal you wish to achieve.

Important Tips;

  • The most underrated back exercises are pull-up variations. Change the grip: wide, narrow, alternated and weighted.
  • Incorporate rest-pause sets in to your workout. Rest pauses allow you to lift a heavier weight and still a higher rep count of 10 to 12.
  • Heavy supersets – just because you’re lifting heavy doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate supersets. You will find that these help to increase your back thickness.

Back Workout Companion

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