Training the back can be quite a challenge because many people cannot feel the back muscles working when they train. This is very common because you can’t see the back and your biceps are heavily involved in all back exercises. Many times you get a great biceps pump and little else.
The secret to taking the biceps out of the picture is to visualize them as hooks. The other secret is to begin all movements with the back muscles instead of pulling with the arms.
Here are 5 routines that will help you build your back quickly!
Deadlifts: Pyramid, 5 Sets Of 15, 12, 10, 8, and 6 Reps
Start with a light weight, but make sure to add weight with each set. The 8 rep set and 6 rep set are your main working sets. At the top of the movement do as many reps of shrugs as possible to hit the traps.
Chins: 25 reps over as many sets as it takes.
If you can do this in one set, do two sets of 25. Use a fairly wide overhand grip, a full range of motion and no cheating.
Bent Rows: 3 Sets Of 12 Reps, using a weight you can get for 8 reps. Rest/pause your way to 12. Do this on all 3 sets.
Deads should be explosive but under complete control up and slow on the way down. Use a full range of motion on chins, concentrating only on the back, not the biceps. Remember, they are hooks, nothing more. On bent rows – explosive up, hold and squeeze at the top, lower slowly.
Power Cleans: Pyramid, 5 Sets Of 15, 12, 10, 8, and 6 Reps
Seated Cable Rows: 3 Sets Of 8 Reps
Lat Pulldowns: 4 Sets Of 10 Reps; medium wide overhand grip for 2 sets then a wide grip for 2 sets.
Shrugs: 4 Sets Of 12, 10, 8, and 6 Reps
Power cleans are an explosive exercise, so be sure you understand the movement and keep the rep under control at all times. Even though I suggest explosive for this and all power based movements (as the weight gets heavier) the bar’s not going to be moving all that fast.
Seated rows should be continuous tension (squeeze and hold for a 3 count when you bring the bar in to your chest). If you can, use a 4 count on the return movement. Use the same rep method on pulldowns.
When doing shrugs, pull your shoulders straight up towards your ears, hold and squeeze. This applies each time you do shrugs in any of the routines.
This is a width-heavy routine:
Chins: 30 reps over as many sets as it takes. If you can do this in one set, do two sets of 30. Use a wide overhand grip.
Close-Grip “V” Handle Pulldowns: 3 Sets Of 12 Reps
Behind The Neck Pulldowns: 2 Sets Of 8 Reps, medium wide overhand grip.
T-Bar Rows: 3 Sets Of 12 Reps
Dumbbell Shrugs: 4 Sets Of 12, 10, 10, and 8 Reps
On the close-grip pulldowns, you’re pulling the bar to your upper chest. On this and behind-the-neck pulldowns, use continuous tension style reps, holding and squeezing at the top for a 3 count. On T-bar rows, do your reps explosive up, slow and controlled down.
This is a thickness-heavy routine:
Deadlifts: 4 Sets 15, 12, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 4 Reps
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3 Sets Of 8-10 Reps
Seated Cable Rows: 3 Sets Of 8 Reps
Lat Pulldowns: 3 Sets Of 10 Reps or Chins: 1 Set Of 20 Reps
Shrugs: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Go heavier than usual on deads. Go explosive on the up motion, hold at the top for a 3 count and lower slowly.
On dumbbell rows, use the same rep performance.
Seated rows and pulldowns: this time use continuous tension and hold at the top for a 5 count. Stop halfway on every rep of every set on these two exercises and hold for another 5 count.
Power Cleans: 5 Sets Of 15, 12, 10, 8, and 8 Reps
Deadlifts: 5 Sets Of 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 Reps
One-Arm Barbell Snatch: 4 Sets Of 8, 8, 6, and 6 Reps
Any time you do a routine like this, you’re really working the entire body. You will see tremendous natural hormone release from this routine. Be sure you completely understand how to do each exercise and go for heavy weights on your top sets. Rep performance should be explosive, but under control up and slow down.
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