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Thick and Wide: The Back Solution, Straight-Arm Pushdown and Pullovers?

Hi Paul

Question about lats: How about Straight arm Pushdown (singlehanded also) and Pullover (especially variations where You have more ROM eg.with cables or bands?

Straight arm pulldowns and pullovers are good but most people do those ineffectively as well. Too much flared arm path to get the lats fully shortened and pulling down with the triceps instead of driving the humerus down effectively.

How about lat prayers?

If performed correctly. I’ve yet to see someone do them correctly.

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I would like to incorporate this version, but with band placed on pull up bar behind me (it would look essentialy the same in terms of angles etc. as in this video).

What cues would You use to bias the lats most in this case.

That would not work very well with a band IMO because of the fact that in the lengthened position the movement would be completely unloaded. And that’s where you’re actually strongest.

The tension would increase going into the completion of the concentric, where you’re weakest.

So the resistance profile would do a shitty job of matching the strength profile. You’d be better off just doing a pullover with a dumbbell.

Thanks, I’ll try those

I could never do straight arm pulldowns right, felt like a tricep exercise, but then I saw Jeff nippard get down on on the knees and away from the cable and do them. This variation helped tremendously.

Jeff is a smart guy. Learned a lot from him.

LOL ehhhhhhhhh ok,

He uses EMG based routines. Which is terrifically dumb. And not scientific at all.

Why are EMG based routines dumb?

For a ton of reasons.

Mainly they are going to show “more activation” depending on shortening. But just because a muscle is shortened, or maximally shortened, doesn’t mean that it’s producing a lot of force.

In the squat and deadlift you have a descending torque curve, but depending on what EMG study you look at you’ll see all sorts of variations about what is the most activated.

When Jeff talks about things like squat stance due to EMG, it’s really stupid. Because what matters are moment arms. That’s what is going to have the greatest amount of actual tension on it. So it doesn’t matter if you’re in a “wide” squat if you have a significant degree of knee flexion compared to hip flexion. It will load the quads far more in the lengthened position. That’s physics. It’s indisputable.

The other thing is loading. Various EMG studies don’t use effective loading either. So what’s the most “activated” is sometimes under non maximally loaded conditions. We also have no idea how the execution of the movements are being performed.

EMG is “science”, but it’s shitty science. And basing a program around it is flat out stupid.

Lets look at lats - lots of EMG talk about lat activation during pulldowns vs chin ups. But if you’re actually trying to target the tissues of that area then a pulldown or chin doesn’t even meet the above criteria of getting the lat into a fully functioning shortened position. When you do your lat work do you do pulldowns with an arched back and pull the arms back behind the body? Cool, that means you’re actually not really training the lats optimally at all. That’s again not my opinion, it’s bio-mechanics. But EMG will pop up and say the lats are highly activated, when in fact they are functioning in the above manner in a stabilization role to the spine. Meaning, they can’t have a high degree of output for the movement. The contraction is not the kind you’re wanting to grow the tissue.

Basically most of Jeff’s content is flat out junk in this regard. Using EMG as opposed to good bio mechanics is like drinking Schlitz Malt Liquor when you could have…well, anything else with alcohol in it. It’s just bottom of the barrel shit.

paul I don’t want you to get too off topic because the emg talk is very informative, but another question about rack pulls and dorian deads.

Do you believe there is benefit from doing “snatch grip” rack pulls to target the upper and mid back than say a normal grip? also, to keep systematic fatigue down, do you think 2 working sets of either dorian deads or rack pulls is enough? say like a heavy 6-8 set, then maybe a back off set of 8-10? Also assuming you might do 1-2 working sets of a back thickness row

No. The snatch grip deadlift does nothing to benefit the upperback more. Why would it?

The extended range of motion is really occurring in the hamstrings, glutes, and low back. And unless you’re actually doing the snatch itself there’s literally no reason to do snatch grip anything. I’ve gone into great detail about deadlift variations and what they are actually working. The snatch grip deadlift rack pull isn’t offering up anything extra that a normal grip wouldn’t in terms of mechanical loading for the thoracic extensors.

1-2 sets done of really every movement is always enough if done properly.

Why do you think Ben recommends them?

I can’t speak for other people? Kind of a weird question TBH. I wouldn’t know his exact reasons. I can ask him when he calls me.

All rack deadlift variations that are from below the knee I like for the upper back. But I don’t think there’s any benefit to doing them with a snatch grip compared to a standard grip width.

I haven’t heard that joke in years lol, informative content nonetheless.

Yea that article is what i was questioning.

Thanks for the response paul.

I don’t really go by “sets” anymore. I understand how many reps are actually stimulating reps and how many need to be performed for a muscle in the daily and weekly training sessions.

I don’t look at “volume” the way it’s traditionally looked at. Looking at volume load for example, is almost completely useless at face value.

I love how everything you say now is monotized. Just elluding to things but with no context. Don’t you have an actual job still in computers? Stop acting as if anything you put out is new, it’s just the same ole with new packaging. It’s the fitness cycle that never ends. Do we really need to pay for coaching from someone who has done zero to impress.