So I feel that of all my body parts to train, my back gives me the most trouble. So I would like some advice from those of you who have been around the block a few times.
Currently, on back day (I am on a 5 way split, so I only do each group once a week), I do pullups (3 x 8, as many as I can unassisted, followed by assisted to finish the set), one armed DB rows (3 x 8 - 12), deadlifts (1 x 3 - 5), and inverted rows (I think that is what they are called, where I hang underneath the barbell with my feet up on a chair) for (3 x failure) - once I can do the inverted rows 3 x 15, I’ll be adding weight.
So my back is pretty underdeveloped. I can press 3 x 5 at 140, bench 3 x 5 at 200lbs, squat 3 x 5 at 300, and deadlift 1 x 5 at 400 (I’m obviously rounding here) to give y’all a rough idea of where I’m at regarding strength training, even though it is not very significant on a BB forum.
I want a strong back, a thick back, and a wider back. I have no machines, but I do have a squat rack, barbell, dumbbells, and pullup bar. And yes, I’m posting in the BB section on purpose, because while I don’t mind getting stronger (who wouldn’t want to be stronger), my focus is on looking good naked.
Okay, my back has naturally been a fairly strong point, but it seems like a lot of people “don’t get it” a lot of times when it comes to triggering the lats when doing back work. Here’s a few things off the top of my head;
1.) Are you doing your pull-ups first? How strict? Can you rotate your grips around? I have had awesome success with pre-fatiguing the lats with a set of wide-grip pull-ups to just under failure, a set of neutral-grip pull-ups to just under failure, and then a set of underhand pull-ups to just under failure. Don’t worry as much about total reps and stuff as far as this is concerned, but really flare the living fuck out of your lats when doing these. I see so many people who do pull-ups but only use half-ROM and don’t give their back a “full extension” at the bottom part of the movement. Do it this way. It will be hard as hell, but rotating around your grip will activate a lot of different muscles in your back so you can consciously focus on them better later in the workout.
2.) How much of a pump do you get in your lats from doing DB rows? It’s very possible you’re angling these in the wrong direction and either hitting more of your “upper back” muscles (supraspinatus, mid/upper traps, etc.,) or you may quite possibly be using too much weight with the whole “Kroc Row” mania that resounded out there for a while. I have noticed myself, through trial and error, as well as anecdotes from others, that DB rows with great form will trump loose and heavy DB rows. They have their place, but should by no means be a mainstay of your repertoire. Really flex your lats when you’re contracting - and this should help out.
3.) Why are you DL’ing so heavy at this point in your workout? Really, IMO, these should be partial deadlifts (just below knee level) for maybe a few sets of 8-12 or so. Because your back (should already be) fatigued, you’re probably using a lot of your legs and lower back when performing this movement. Just seems like very odd placement + rep combination at this point if your goal is hypertrophy. Do them at the beginning or just after pull-ups if you’re really trying to go heavier. I still think partial DLs are a superior movement for bodybuilders.
4.) Inverted Rows - I’ve generally heard these termed as “Rack Chins.” It’s a great movement. Similarly to the pull-up movement listed first, be strict with these to reap the benefits. Make sure your feet are high on a bench when doing these as well. The bar should be high as well and your ass should be somewhere around a foot off the ground, give or take. Huge contraction at the bottom, and a big squeeze at the top. Rotate wide/close/underhand/overhand grips to figure out the best ways to hit your targeted muscles.
Really, I can’t say how good you are at firing those lat muscles and SERIOUSLY getting a good MindMuscleConnection with these, but I can’t emphasize enough how big of a difference that, coupled with big stretches, will probably make a difference in your physique.
I’m sure others may disagree with some things I’ve said here, but this is all based on my experience with back training in general.[/quote]
Great post. Thanks for this.