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Back Muscle Blasting
There are too many guys out there who only train what they can see in a mirror: Biceps, pecs, abs, and even quads. They train them hard with total dedication. They dont mind rolling up a sleeve to flash a BI or pulling up their shirt to flash the ABS, but dont ever tell them to turn around. After a good warmup and stretch consisting of chins and pullups, lets begin with seated rows.
The seated row exercise is excellent for building thickness in the back and lower lats. You want to feel your lats stretch and feel your back muscles doing most of the work. With you knees bent, extend the arms all the way forward; Then, pull the weights back and and into the abs while ensuring the upper body is angled slightly back. While in this position, flex the lats and all the muscles in the entire back. Repeat this for every set you do. You should do the typical 4 sets with 8 to 10 reps per set routine with moderate to heavy weight. There are different variations to this exercise. You can do these with the weight in the overhead position the where the weight is brought down to the center of the chest. Another variation is where the weight is below your center of gravity and it is pulled to the ab section. Either way, the exercises should be performed the same way. Another way to maximize this benefits of this exercise is to use either straps or hooks to take the pressure off of the biceps and to isolate the back muscles. A much more intense back workout will be achieved if you dont lose your ability peform well due to your biceps being over worked. The second exercise in this routine is the one arm dumbell rows.
The one arm dumbell row is done with one knee on the bench and the other foot planted securely on the floor. Although many people have their own preferences in their body position when doing this exercise, and the picture depicts different, its best to have the weight in one hand and position the other hand firmly on the bench so that you are almost in a tripod position. For example, if you are holding the weight in the right hand, you want to have your left knee and left hand on the bench and your right foot planted on the floor and vice versa for the weights being in the left hand. When lowering the weight, let it hang for a second or two two really stretch the lats. When bringing the weight upward, bring it straight up and not angled and make sure you flex the lats at the climax of the rep. You should repeat this for every rep. Again, try to do 4 sets of these with 8 to 10 reps per set. Its ok to go heavy when doing these but you must remember that form is extremely important; You want to ensure that you get a full range of movement. If you can use heavier weights and still maintain correct form by all means do it, but if you find yourself not getting a full range of motion (half reps), try a lower weight. Also with this exercise, it is beneficial to use straps and hooks to isolate the back and lats and to save wear and tear on the arms. The next exercise described in my routine is the pulldown.
When doing the lat-pulldown exercise, grab the angled portions of the bar using a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Position yourself on the pulldown machine so that te middle parts of the thighs fit under the leg restraint. Pull the bar down to the center of your chest, leaning back somewhat as you perform the movement. While the bar is against the chest, Flex the back muscles. Do this for every rep. Focus on the action of your back muscles, using your arms only as connecting rods between the bar and your back. When bringing the bar behind the neck, bring the bar to the back of the neck and pause for one second, and give resistence when letting the weight back up. When doing this exercise to the rear, try not to do extremely heavy weights because this puts an enormous strain on the rotator cuffs and the muscles of the shoulder. A variation to this exercise is to grab the bar with the palms facing you (chin-up position). In this position the arms can be placed closer together to work the upper lats more, or they can be placed farther apart for the lower lats. Either way, I would incorporate these into my back workout. Again, the use of straps or hooks will enhance the back workout. Try to do 4 sets of these with 8 to 10 reps per set. If you find yourself not completing full reps or find youself jerking the weights down, try to lessen the weight so the form is correct.
The standing bent-over row (T-BAR) exercise is an excellent overall muscle developer for the back. There are about 3 different ways to grips to do this exercise. The one we'll discuss is the handle-bar grip. Grab the handles out near the bend in the bar, and while bending the knees to minimize unneccessary stress on the lower back, pull the bar to your chest and hold this position for a split second to flex the back muscles, then slowly lower it. Because the T-bar weight is loaded in the front of the machine, the size of the 45 pound plates can actually limit the range of motion (the plates may hit the chest not allowing to raise high enough to work the back). Because of this, it may be necessary to use 25lb weights. You want to keep your back arched and knees bent when executing the reps. On the bottom portion of the rep you can round your back slightly for a little extra stretch. You can maintain the same grip for each set or you can do each set with a different grip. Experiment to see what works best for you. Again, you want to do 4 sets with 8 to 10 reps per set. You can use heavy weight for this exercise if your form isn't sacrificed. Straps or hooks can also enhance the usefulness of this exercise.
Building the back is probably the most difficult of all muscle groups. Its also probably takes the longest of all muscle groups to build also. Don't get discouraged if your back takes longer than the other groups, just stick with it.
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