The back is a notoriously tough area totrain. There are three main reasons for this;
a) When people start out, theydon’t usually train their backs, mirror muscles like the chest, abs and bicepsget more attention, meaning the back is usually playing catch up
b) Since you can’t see your backin the mirror, it’s often difficult to form that mind-muscle connection sovital for adequately stimulating the muscle fibers
c) The back is complex musculaturewhich requires a range of different movements and grips to hit all thedifferent sections
Training your back is crucial for youroverall physique, it is part of the crucial posterior chain forming thesupporting foundation of the entire body. The back area is an inverted diamondshape, spanning from the upper trapezius to the erector spinae, and, contraryto popular belief, parts of the back –the upper lats for example – are visiblehead-on.
In short, back training is an absolutemust. So what should you do? Everyone knows that pull-ups, deadlifts and latpull-downs are great back exercises that should form the core of your routine,but what can you throw in to mix things up and keep your back guessing? Hereare a few ideas;
1) Barbell Unilateral Rows
The dumbbell version of this exercise isvery popular, but using a bar will add an element of instability. Lean on abench with one knee supported and the other foot on the floor, make sure youback is parallel to the floor. Start with your arm extended and bring thebarbell up to your side, hold, squeeze and repeat.
2) Bent Over Rows with HammerGrip
Perform a bent over row as you normallywould – back parallel to the floor, rowing the barbell up to your abdomen byretracting your scapulae, but instead of an over or under hand grip, use twosingle handles from a cable machine so you can grip the bar in a hammerfashion.
3) Overhead Shrugs
You probably use a lot of weight forregular shrugs – you won’t be able to with the overhead variety. Hold a barbellabove your head with a shoulder length grip and literally shrug your shoulders.This move might take some getting used to but it’s highly effective.
4) Face pulls
This is great for stimulating themiddle/lower traps and rear deltoids. Attach a rope grip to a cable station,setting it about eye-level. You can do this standing or seated but I’drecommend standing to begin with. Standing with your arms straight out in frontof you, parallel to the floor, gripping the rope with both hands. Pull thecable towards you and up slightly so it’s parallel to your face, let the ropesplay out so you can increase the range of movement.
5) Inverted Rows
Despite this exercise being performed withno weight, it’s arguably the toughest on this list. Find a smith machine andposition the bar about 2 feet from the floor, place a bench in front of thesmith machine. Suspend yourself so your feet are supported on the bench and youare gripping the bar with a shoulder width grip, pull yourself up to the bar,lower, then repeat. Enjoy!
Joe is a personaltrainer Crawley and loves training his back! You can follow Joe on Twitter@JJ_Fitness.