Back Workout – T-bar row, db rows, lat pull downs, shrugs

I like to start my back workouts off with a quick warm up on rowing machine. This is a great machine to use as a warm up prior to any workout because it moves all the major muscle groups and get the blood flowing and increases your core temperature.

I’ll usually do between 5 and 10 minutes on the rower until I get a light sweat on and feel ready to move on to the weight training portion of my workout.

My first exercise is chest supported T-bar rows. The gym that I normally workout at doesn’t have this style of T-bar row machine so I like to add it in when ever possible.

You’ll notice that I keep one foot on the floor and one on the foot plate. This helps take some of the pressure off your chest and makes it easier to breath deeper when doing the exercise.

Next I move on to one of my favourite back exercises, the 1 arm dumbbell row. This allows you to work each lat individually and helps to develop balance and proportion between the left and right sides.

I like to do these free standing with my legs straddled as this creates a solid base and will allow you to lift heavier weights then if you did them kneeling on a flat bench like most people do.

Here I’m doing lat pull downs with a wide grip. This particular machine that I’m using here is one of the old fashion chrome universal machines. I don’t think there are too many of these still kicking around. It’s similar to the ones they used in the pumping iron and in Arnold’s encyclopaedia of bodybuilding.

As you do lat pull downs make sure to arch your back at the completion of each rep bottom to really get a good contraction throughout the lats and middle back.

I often pair up working my traps and back in the same workout as most of the exercises work both muscle groups.

One of my favourite trap exercises is the barbell shrug. When I work up to heavy weights I’ll use straps to help re-enforce my grip.

Shrugs are only allow for a short range of motion, but they work great for adding thickness across the upper back.

Another great trap and upper back exercise is the upright row. I prefer to do these from a low pulley cable using a rope attachment.

The rope provides more freedom of movement and is a lot more comfortable on the wrists compared to using a barbell. And using cables helps to keep constant tension of the muscles during the entire exercise.

My final exercise is shrugs using the standing calf raise machine. This is a unique exercise that most people haven’t heard of before. But it works great for isolating and building up the traps. When you set up for the exercise stand with your feet flat on the foot plate, don’t let your heels hang off the edge like you would for standing calf raises.

The great thing about this exercise is that your grip strength is not a limiting factor like it is with most other shrug variations so it also allows for heavyweights to be lifted.

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