T Nation

Need Help with Back Exercises

I’m kind-a-sorta new around here. I’ve been reading threads and articles in T-Nation for the lest several months. I am currently putting together a training program based on Christian Thibaudeau’s “Destroying Fat” article http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/destroying_fat_war_room_strategies_to_maximize_fat_loss and need help or advise on a replacement for back exercises.

I’m hoping someone can help me in finding some exercises to replace chins and pull ups so I can still work on my back. I don’t have a chin bar and/or really anyplace I can put one up. Plus at current weight I think these my do more harm than good right now. I work out at home in my garage. My equipment is somewhat limited, simple bench with Olympic bar and weights (about 300 lbs in rubber weights), a 2nd Oly bar with 2-45bs plates for deadlifts/cleans/snatches, a curl bar, 2-25 lbs hex db, and the multi-plate db that I can get to about 45-50 lbs. I also have an elliptical machine, a stationary bike, and a decline sit up bench.

I plan on posting my final routine for input in a separate tread when it is all together along with my diet. To keep this brief the program I’m putting together will have two days Heavy lifting for Chest and Back, and 2 days lifting for Quads and Hamstrings. On these two days I will also include the alactic work in the form of sprints on chest and back days, and a bike ride on quad/hams days. In addition there will be 1 day each of lactate-inducing exercise which will be accomplished through circuit training based on weights, and 30 minutes of cardio via elliptical machine. I plan on buying a squat rack soon and will be adding squats to my routine, I’ve just been doing cleans up until now.

I’m 45 years old, '5 11", and as of this morning weigh 332 lbs with about 45% BF . I’ve been working out for about 1 year and I’m down from around 365-375 lbs. My reason for putting this program together is to focus soley on reducing body fat, and trying to maintain existing muscle mass while reducing the fat. My bench max has gone from a pathetic 75 lbs to 205 lbs and I work cleans presently at 135 lbs.

If it makes a difference to anyone reviewing my goal is to get my body fat composition to 35% in the 12 weeks I will do this program and diet. I look forward to any suggestions for back work exercises and or any comments regarding my still in progress training plan.

Problem is, the only two exercises that work the outside fibers of the lats (that I know of) are pullDOWNS with a wide overhand grip, and pullUPS with a wide overhand grip. You CAN still work the inner fibers with rows and pullovers, but they won’t have much carry-over to pullups.

It’s great that you’re focusing on compounds, but throw some isolation work in there as well, especially for arms. Aside from back day, biceps don’t see much action, and they need a lot of volume to grow.

Also, the bike ride on leg day seems like a bad idea. If you ride before you lift, your lifting will suffer. If you CAN ride after lifting, you didn’t do enough on your workout.

You can try pull ups on your bench.

Put your bar in the rack and lay on the bench.

Keep your legs straight and make sure you have something for your heels to rest on.

Then grab the bar and pull up to your chin.

I think some people call these fat boy pull ups.

They helped me get to where I could do pullups.

And I still do them sometimes for a warm up.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Problem is, the only two exercises that work the outside fibers of the lats (that I know of) are pullDOWNS with a wide overhand grip, and pullUPS with a wide overhand grip. You CAN still work the inner fibers with rows and pullovers, but they won’t have much carry-over to pullups.

It’s great that you’re focusing on compounds, but throw some isolation work in there as well, especially for arms. Aside from back day, biceps don’t see much action, and they need a lot of volume to grow.

Also, the bike ride on leg day seems like a bad idea. If you ride before you lift, your lifting will suffer. If you CAN ride after lifting, you didn’t do enough on your workout.

[/quote]

Thanks Jay,

Nice pick up. There is some isolation work called for in a third circuit which I didn’t plan to incorporate into the routine until the third week so I could get used to the two heavy lift days and the two circuit days. The isolation work is for bicepts, tri’s calves, and shoulders. Once this third circuit is put into the routine I’ll rotate the three between the two heavy lift days. I also anticipate some soreness for the first 1-2 weeks as I plan on including front/back and hack squats into the routine.

In addition, regardless of what type of training I’m working on anytime I’m working out I pull the curl bar up for a minimum 3 sets of 12 reps at 50 lbs. I also work tri’s no matter what for the same on the bb at at 95 lbs.

Because the alactic portion on this workout day can be separate from the heavy lift workouts I plan on riding my mountain bike for a lighter (read flat) 3-5 miles in the morning some 11-12 hours before my weight workout. I live near the ocean in So Cal along a natural bay that has trails stretching from my house 2-5 miles in either direction. Its a bit chilly in the morning (50-60 degrees) but that’ll get better as we move closer towards spring. I work from home so unless I have an appointment in the early AM I can get to both workouts in a timely manner.

Pretty much what everyone else said, if you can get access to a cable machine cobra pulldowns are great. If you’re trying to lose fat have you also considered low card dieting? I can tell you from experience that the anabolic diet works wonders if you’re dedicated enough to stick to it. If you’re interested there are several articles on it, an ENORMOUS thread and a great Q&A thread by Christian Thibaudeau on low carb diets.

[quote]Its All U wrote:
You can try pull ups on your bench.

Put your bar in the rack and lay on the bench.

Keep your legs straight and make sure you have something for your heels to rest on.

Then grab the bar and pull up to your chin.

I think some people call these fat boy pull ups.

They helped me get to where I could do pullups.

And I still do them sometimes for a warm up.

[/quote]

I’d of never thought of this, thanks. My son also gave me a similar idea, he said he used to use the squat rack to do pull ups when all the pull up bars were being used in the high school gym while doing his football workouts. I can us your suggestion to work into the squat rack mini pull ups. Between the two they just might get me to the point where i can do regular pull ups and chins without pulling my arms out of their sockets.

[quote]300 wrote:
Its All U wrote:
You can try pull ups on your bench.

Put your bar in the rack and lay on the bench.

Keep your legs straight and make sure you have something for your heels to rest on.

Then grab the bar and pull up to your chin.

I think some people call these fat boy pull ups.

They helped me get to where I could do pullups.

And I still do them sometimes for a warm up.

I’d of never thought of this, thanks. My son also gave me a similar idea, he said he used to use the squat rack to do pull ups when all the pull up bars were being used in the high school gym while doing his football workouts. I can us your suggestion to work into the squat rack mini pull ups. Between the two they just might get me to the point where i can do regular pull ups and chins without pulling my arms out of their sockets.
[/quote]

When I first tried doing pullups it hurt my arm sockets. I started by just holding onto the bar and count to 30. Then when I could, upped the count to 45, then 60. After I got to where I could hold onto the bar and dangle for a 60 count. I was able to do some pullups without hurting my shoulders. But doing the bench pullups gave me some volume (reps) and is pretty similar to a pullup movement.

[quote]Its All U wrote:
300 wrote:
Its All U wrote:
You can try pull ups on your bench.

Put your bar in the rack and lay on the bench.

Keep your legs straight and make sure you have something for your heels to rest on.

Then grab the bar and pull up to your chin.

I think some people call these fat boy pull ups.

They helped me get to where I could do pullups.

And I still do them sometimes for a warm up.

I’d of never thought of this, thanks. My son also gave me a similar idea, he said he used to use the squat rack to do pull ups when all the pull up bars were being used in the high school gym while doing his football workouts. I can us your suggestion to work into the squat rack mini pull ups. Between the two they just might get me to the point where i can do regular pull ups and chins without pulling my arms out of their sockets.

When I first tried doing pullups it hurt my arm sockets. I started by just holding onto the bar and count to 30. Then when I could, upped the count to 45, then 60. After I got to where I could hold onto the bar and dangle for a 60 count. I was able to do some pullups without hurting my shoulders. But doing the bench pullups gave me some volume (reps) and is pretty similar to a pullup movement.[/quote]

Thanks

If you’re 42% bodyfat I hardly see any point in isolating muscles.

The “deadlifts/cleans/snatches” is great for your purposes. Throw in some bent rows. Even bench press done with narrow grip is going to use your lats quite a bit.

[quote]LiamBrady wrote:
If you’re 42% bodyfat I hardly see any point in isolating muscles.
[/quote]

For proportional development.

[quote]LiamBrady wrote:
If you’re 42% bodyfat I hardly see any point in isolating muscles.

The “deadlifts/cleans/snatches” is great for your purposes. Throw in some bent rows. Even bench press done with narrow grip is going to use your lats quite a bit.[/quote]

While the loss of fat is the basis of the routine I’m putting together there is need to continue to develop the muscle base in the shoulders/arms/calves, etc. In additiion to deadlifts, cleans & snatches I will also add several forms of squats.

thanks for your input.

You could always try BB pull-over with straight arms or lay on the bench and do bent arm pull-over and press (old school definately!)

[quote]Boffin wrote:
You could always try BB pull-over with straight arms or lay on the bench and do bent arm pull-over and press (old school definately!)[/quote]

Thanks Boffin.

I’ve got a pretty thick beam in the garage I started dangling from which might help a little bit. The only problem is its to thick for my hands to get a good grip. I’m trying to find some handholds so I can make my own pull up station.

Anyone have any homemade handhold ideas?

Loop some rope over the beam? Might be tough on your hands. Or loop the rope and get some cheap cable handles and attach them using carabiners.
Or buy a chin up bar? If you think you can attach it somewhere, see link for an example:
http://www.gymequipment.uk.com/store/item/1ipl1/Racks_Benches/Wall_Mounted_Chinning_Bar.html

[quote]300 wrote:
Boffin wrote:
You could always try BB pull-over with straight arms or lay on the bench and do bent arm pull-over and press (old school definately!)

Thanks Boffin.

I’ve got a pretty thick beam in the garage I started dangling from which might help a little bit. The only problem is its to thick for my hands to get a good grip. I’m trying to find some handholds so I can make my own pull up station.

Anyone have any homemade handhold ideas?

[/quote]

You can get 2 pieces of chain with hooks on the end to make a wrap around the beam. Then get a piece of pipe (1" dia. 3-4’ long) from local hardware store. Secure pipe to chain with tape or something similar so it doesn’t slide out of chains. Then you have a pullup bar and a burgular beater. Can also double as a walking staff on those really tough days. If body weight is too much, get a step and use your legs to help lift weight a little. Handles can also be made from shorter nipple(6") and rope. Put elbows on ends of pipe so it doesn’t fray rope. Hope this helps with some ideas.

[quote]danc2469 wrote:
300 wrote:
Boffin wrote:
You could always try BB pull-over with straight arms or lay on the bench and do bent arm pull-over and press (old school definately!)

Thanks Boffin.

I’ve got a pretty thick beam in the garage I started dangling from which might help a little bit. The only problem is its to thick for my hands to get a good grip. I’m trying to find some handholds so I can make my own pull up station.

Anyone have any homemade handhold ideas?

You can get 2 pieces of chain with hooks on the end to make a wrap around the beam. Then get a piece of pipe (1" dia. 3-4’ long) from local hardware store. Secure pipe to chain with tape or something similar so it doesn’t slide out of chains. Then you have a pullup bar and a burgular beater. Can also double as a walking staff on those really tough days. If body weight is too much, get a step and use your legs to help lift weight a little. Handles can also be made from shorter nipple(6") and rope. Put elbows on ends of pipe so it doesn’t fray rope. Hope this helps with some ideas. [/quote]

Yeah it does. I think I can do a little better on the handles (tape?) but the chains would work real well. I’ll probably use a threaded pipe fititng and a bolt and washer to screw the handle to the outside of each end of the chain.

If you can do pull ups on swinging chains I guess you could probably do pull ups anywhere.