T Nation

Bringing Up Middle Back - Evaluate My Plan

I’ve been lifting for about a year and a half now. When I started, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing, so I developed a few weird imbalances that I’ve had to deal with. One of those imbalances is disproportionately strong lats compared to lower/mid traps and rhomboids (because the only back exercises I used to do were pulldowns and vertical pullovers). I’ve been doing a fuck ton of rows to try to correct the imbalance, but it’s not working very well. 95% of the force is still coming from my lats because they are so much more powerful.

Here’s what I plan on doing:
Before each back day, do three or four sets of face pulls followed by three or four sets of bat wings on the cable machine (bat wings: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/reawaken_your_rhomboids). Then I go into my rows. The idea is to hit my upper/mid traps and rhomboids with the face pulls and mid/lower traps and rhomboids with the bat wings. Obviously, I won’t be able to go very heavy because of the nature of the exercise, but hopefully my mid back will be activated enough it will actually start to fire during the rows.

Genius? Stupid?

Neither genius or stupid. More like good.

Bent over lateral raises help too.

Also what’s good in warmups: y-t-w-l combo holds, chinup static hold at top, band pull parts, bird dogs, shoulder dislocations.

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
Neither genius or stupid. More like good.

Bent over lateral raises help too. [/quote]

Was hoping for genius but I’ll take it.
So how do you make middle back a focus for bent over laterals? Just make sure your shoulders drift forward during the eccentric and then squeeze together during the concentric?

How do you do your rows, ever tried a wider grip with your elbows flared?

when doing db rows bring it up in a straight line. to your chest. also, bb rows with full ROM to the lower chest

The lower you bring the BB on your torso the more lats involved. As said aim for lower chest. Kroc rows work wonders as well

[quote]Maglavar wrote:

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
Neither genius or stupid. More like good.

Bent over lateral raises help too. [/quote]

Was hoping for genius but I’ll take it.
So how do you make middle back a focus for bent over laterals? Just make sure your shoulders drift forward during the eccentric and then squeeze together during the concentric?[/quote]

You’re not gonna get much of a squeeze when using dumbbells because of the biomechanics of the exercise.

Perform them the way they’re supposed to. I don’t know what you mean by drifting shoulders forward.

If you want more of a squeeze, use a pec-deck machine for them.

And trust me, do the y-t-w combos and birddogs before your workouts. Those will activate your upper back pretty good before workouts.

Much to the chagrin of my upper back and lats for the first 5-6 years of my training, I used to be very upper trap - dominant with rowing variations (I used to have a yoke way before my shoulders filled out). The best thing I could do for developing a better mind-muscle connection both for my middle traps and my lats was to use dumbbells, dual-grip machines, bilateral resistance bands and the like. Rings and TRX bands would also fit the bill, I guess.

Also, I’ve found out I get the best target muscle recruitment in this regard by having my body hang into the exercise in a counter balancing manner.
A good example would be a high cable attachment with two grips where you shift your weight on your heels and start to lean back (brace your trunk, try to keep a neutral spine) - then pull away.
Honestly, I don’t know why this works so well for me.

Recently, I had to bring up my upper back for health/rehab reasons while having pretty much zero leeway in deviating from proper target muscle activation (I would’ve reinjured myself pretty bad, but I had to strengthen the area lest my rehab wouldn’t work).
The only thing that really helped me was applying my aforementioned ‘findings’.

Also, there are other tricks like doing 1.5 reps. I think John Meadows came up with those.

Try snatch grip barbell rows with a high torso angle. I’m extremely biceps dominant and i can feel ny upper back perfectly with this exercise