Saturday, May 3, 2008

Building a Strong Back

The Back contributes  to the overall shape of your physique ~ A well defined V-shaped back gives a smaller looking waist.  In addition to looking better, the result of training your back also adds strength in lifting for everyday daily activities.  A strong back determines your posture. Your lat muscles keep your shoulders from slumping.  No training program can be complete without a great back workout.

 * Use a comfortable weight to begin and master the exercise. When you have mastered the exercise feel free to jack-up the weight accordingly.  Focus on form, rest 30-60 seconds between sets and feel free to stretch between sets. ~ 3-4 sets of each exercise 8-15 repetitions ~

Bent-Over Barbell Row ~ Start with an overhand grip with a 30lb barbell. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees bent.  Keep your chest lifted, your back straight and your torso at a 45-degree angle.  Keeping abs tight, pull the bar straight up until it touches your rib cage.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

Stiff-legged Deadlift ~ Start with an overhand grip using a barbell or dumbells.  Keep your arms relaxed , your spine straight and your head lifted. Lower the weight toward  your feet and then return to your starting position (great for mid back muscles as well as hips, glutes and hamstrings).

Good Mornings ~ Start with an overhand grip. Hold a barbell across your upper back keeping your feet shoulder width apart, soft knees, abs tight and slowly lower your chest until your torso is parallel to the floor. Return to starting position (great for lower and mid back, as well as the glutes and hamstrings).

Pull-Ups ~ Beginners use assistance (pull-up) machine or a spotter.  Start with a wide overhand grip, cross ankles, pull your chest towards the bar and repeat (pull-ups work the entire back as well as the biceps).

Some other great exercises not mentioned:  Lat Pulldowns, One Arm DB Row, Hyperextensions, Seated Cable Rows, Reverse Flys etc.

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