The back, I’d have to say, is the second most impressive body part on a bodybuilder’s physique. A lot may argue that it is the chest, that comes second to the legs. For me personally, it is the back. A massive back is much more intimidating than a massive chest. The way one’s arms falls upon their relaxed lats that have been developed over extensive back workouts, is just an awesome display of strength and power. I mean think of it, how impressive is when a person has a relaxed back and they flex their lats? Not only that, think of how a person who is trying to be intimidating would walk; with their arms far off to their sides. Now if you have a pathetic back development, we in the fitness community call this “invisible lat syndrome”. It’s the most ridiculous of behaviors known to man. But, what if you had those impressive lats, instead of pretending?
Unfortunately for some people, they can do as much back workouts as they can but they fail to actually work out their lats and always approach me asking what do I do for my back. It’s not like I have some special exercise that I do, to get my back as big as it is today. In fact, I just do the same exercises that are suppose to work your back muscles; bent over rows, pull ups, rows, etc. None are any more special than the other, at least in the argument of incorporating the back muscles in their execution. But for some people, activating the lats while doing these exercises, can be near impossible. The reason for this is because they are using more of their arms throughout the whole exercise!
Of course arms are going to be incorporated in back workouts, but the point of a back exercise is to workout the back! The arms are just there as supporting muscles that will get worked indirectly, but the main targeted muscle group is the back. To activate the back muscles while performing those exercises, one just has to pinch back their shoulders and stick out their chest. That’s it! By doing that, you are activating the back muscles, while doing pull ups, pull downs, etc. A good rule of thumb to make sure that you are activating the back muscles, is to use a weight that you can handle for 20 reps, and concentrate on contracting the back muscles while in the suggested position, with your chest stuck out. If you concentrate on contracting your lats, while executing the exercise, you will feel some serious pump in your back muscles.
I try to explain to people that an exercise only is effective, if the muscle you are intending to work out, does the work. As we’re on back exercises, I want to just quickly touch on performing a proper pull up. The same sticking out your chest applies but it’s a little more difficult to do with your hands holding you and your body dangling there waiting for the exercise to start. But, if you concentrate yet again on sticking your chest up and out a bit, then pulling up slowly while contracting your back muscles, you will feel the lats do most of the workout while doing a pull up. Pull ups, to me, is one of the best back exercises to do. I mean you’re lifting your own damn weight anyways, so how awesome is that?
So yet again, to perform a good back exercise, that targets the back muscles in the first place; stick out your chest, pinch back your shoulders and contract those muscles! Feel the muscles contract as you bring the bar or handle towards yourself. This will definitely improve your back gains and have you on the right track to not being one with the invisible lat syndrome 🙂Read More »