Sometimes it is funny to see how much time and effort bodybuilders and other athletes spend on training the chest, without attaching to the values of the back. In clubs, I often see how muscular guys proudly walk in tight T-shirts and stick out their breasts like turkeys. Usually they have quite noticeable chest, shoulders and arms, but if you look at them from behind, then nine times out of ten it seems that they completely forgot about the back workouts.
And this is sad because a real bodybuilder is always striving for the proportional development of all muscle groups. Without a powerful back, you are nothing but a dumbass, training your own body only half and caring only for the muscles that can be seen in the mirror. Such "athletes" will be instantly swept off the stage in any bodybuilding tournament, because the back has gained tremendous importance since Dorian Yates together with Ronnie Coleman as a result of their training determined the new parameters of her development.
It is a fact that even among athletes who work hard on their backs, only a few achieve success. However, I am still convinced that everyone is able to build an impressive back if he follows the ten rules outlined below.
Do at least half the exercises with free weights.
Wherever you practice, you can always find a huge number of very different simulators of the day working out your back. In one fitness center, I counted more than twenty different machines of such brands as “Cybex”, “Hammer Strength”, “Icarian”, “Body Masters”, “Nautilus” and “Life Fitness”. There you could train your back for a whole year and change the simulators every week, without ever sitting in the same one. Sorry, but by the end of the year your back would not have become wider than at the beginning.
Work on simulators is an excellent addition to the basic training with free weights, but if you do not do at least a couple of heavy exercises on the day of your back workout, you will not stimulate noticeable muscle growth. Working with free weights is not easy. As Arthur Jones said, you need to try not to make it easier for you to do the exercises, but on the contrary - to make them even more difficult. Pulling a 150-kilogram staff in the slope is much easier than sitting on a gleaming chrome car for a belt - with a stopper installed on the same 150 kg. If you want your back to be bulging with muscles, then at least half of the exercises for it should be performed with free weights.
2. Do not replace pull-ups on the block.
This rule follows from the first, but it is so important that it deserves a separate item. Pulling ups is an absolutely necessary exercise for the back. Pulling ups is extremely difficult to do right, and I think that only 10% of all bodybuilders get the most out of them. Correct pull-ups imply a rise to the level when about five centimeters are left between the chest and the crossbar. At this point, you must stop, bring the shoulder blades together and strongly tighten the muscles of the upper back. Then it is necessary to slowly descend almost to the full extension of the arms, constantly maintaining the tension of the broadest muscles of the back, and begin a new ascent.
It is very easy to reproduce this technique in thrust on a high block, but this is where the difference lies. I have seen thousands of guys showcasing gorgeous shape in rods down with a weight close to the weight of their own body or even more, but they rarely had a back on which they wanted to look a second time. Show me a man who can perform a strict set of ten repetitions in pull-ups with a wide grip with 20 kg of additional burden on the belt, and I am ready to bet that he will have an excellent back.
Many practitioners avoid pull-ups, because they can not perform a large number of repetitions. But that is why they should pull up at every back workout. Everyone is able to improve performance in this exercise, provided regular work and rejection of the unit. I assure you that if you have achieved noticeable results in the pull-ups, your back will unequivocally say so.
3. Tighten your back muscles and feel their work.
You can train without feeling the work of certain muscle groups, but nevertheless forcing them to grow (a good example is the arms and legs). Not so with the back - if you have never felt the muscles work in various traction movements for the back, it is very likely that all this time the biceps and rear deltoids have done most of the work.
I knew one guy, whose shoulders and arms were almost impossible for his figure, but his back looked flat like a plain. Every time I watched him train his back, I saw that his biceps were swollen like airships. Like many others, he did not develop an effective connection between the brain and the back muscles.
For a long time working with my clients, I realized that it is not bad in disciplinary purposes to force them to mentally pronounce the syllable “tighten” and “stretch” during the positive and negative phase of each repetition. You may need lighter weights to truly feel the work of your back muscles, at least until you get comfortable with the technique. But there is nothing scary about it. If you have never felt their work and did not get pumped in them, most likely you have nothing to boast about the development of your rear.
4. Avoid cheating.
I saw athletes carelessly related to exercises in all muscle groups, but the most terrible observations concerned working on the back. More precisely, the overwhelming majority of those who practice traction use inertia. Take the dumbbell traction with one hand in the slope. Few can use in them 50 kg in a strict form, controlling the weight over the entire range of motion and achieving good muscle contraction at the top. However, every second person can take a dumbbell of 60-70 kg and perform convulsive movements, in form resembling pathetic attempts to start a stalled engine of a lawn mower.
I have a lot of respect for Ronnie Coleman, but in his film “Incredible,” he set a bad example for everyone by doing traction in the tilt of a 225 kg barbell! Its shape is terrible, terrible and terrible again! Ronnie throws the neck up and beats it with his chest, then beats it again, but at the lowest point of the amplitude. With such a technique, the back muscles get very little work, while the joints and ligaments experience enormous overload. At best, throwing up the scales will slow down your progress, at worst you will get a lower back injury or biceps injury and you will spend god knows how much time for rehabilitation. Forget about pride and work with weights that you can lift correctly. Another way is to continue the games with unbearable burdens and not get anything to be proud of.
5. Work at different angles.
The back is our most difficult muscle group. Biceps, for example, a lot easier. All you need to do for your biceps is to do all sorts of arms flexion. At the same time, at least one vertical traction movement (for example, pull-ups), one horizontal (traction to the belt while sitting), as well as pullovers, scars and hyperextension will be needed to load all parts of this huge and complex muscle complex. Advanced trainees must also change their grip. That is, you need not just pull the burden but also try to provide muscle stimulation at all possible angles.
6. Stretch between sets
One of the components of the process of creating a wide back is to dilute the shoulder blades to the sides. The stretching of the broadest muscles between the approaches helps in this. With one hand, grasp the vertical support, lean forward, head down below the arm, and pull the pelvis back until you feel the full stretch of the broadest muscle of this side of the body. Hold the stretched position for five seconds and do the same for the other side. Some fitness experts, including John Parillo, believe that aggressive stretching (when a muscle is pumped with blood) also stretches the muscle fascia, which promotes muscle growth. A fascia is a tight connective tissue that wraps skeletal muscle. According to my information, not a single study of this idea has been conducted, but many bodybuilders are sure of the great benefit of stretching.
7. Take care of the lower back.
Injuries are always sad, but in the case of problems with the lower back, many exercises for the back become simply impossible. You can forget about dead drafts, about any pulling movements with free weights and heavy scars, not to mention squats or bench presses. One of the rules to avoid a lower back injury is to never round the back, especially during tilting, dead dead and dead straight legs. Always keep a slight backbeat in all exercises. In this position, the lower back is the most stable and less prone to injury.
The second rule is to strive to increase the strength of the lower back. Work hard in hyperextension and bend forward with a barbell on your shoulders, constantly trying to increase weights. When you get to the point where you can perform ten good repetitions in hyperextension with an additional burden of 45 kg, your back will be in perfect order.
8. Regularly change workouts.
Do not work on the same program for more than three or four weeks. Change the exercises, the width and type of grip, repetition and pace, as well as the order of exercises. Once every few months, change the split so that the back workout occurs on a new day of the week or combines with work for another part of the body (but never train your back after biceps, otherwise they will not be able to help your back to load properly). Remember one axiom: if you continue to do what you have always done, you will have what you already have - and nothing more.
9. Do dead deadlines.
Almost every owner of a well-developed back places his achievements about dead deadlines. Ronnie Coleman and Johnnie Jackson are two excellent new examples, but bodybuilders of the past decade, such as Dorian Yates and Mike Francois (Mike Francois), have regularly included heavy dead thrusts in their programs. Let's look further - the stars of the 70s-80s Franco Columbus (Franco Columbia) and Samir Banu (Samir Bannout) were big fans of this exercise and had the best backs of their time.
I do not think that in order to extract maximum benefit from dead deadlines, it is imperative to pull from the floor. Partial thrust in the power frame from the level of the knees are also able to force a significant increase. I like partial dead thrusts, because they are more like an exercise for the back, in contrast to the usual deadlines, which, together with the upper back, heavily load and lower. Whichever option you choose, it should be the basis of your back workout program. Many people have succeeded through this exercise - and you should not ignore it.
10. Take care of the strength and development of the back.
The most important factor in the development of the back is a very strong desire for this development. There are too many guys in the halls, anxious about adding a centimeter to their hands or pumping their breasts, and not really worrying about their backs. If you do not see your own back in the mirror, this does not mean that others do not notice it.