Back Excercises

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    Back Excercises

    Post by DreamzUnlimited on Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:31 pm

    strong and healthy back can prevent a lot of anxiety as you get older. Back pains have been one of the leading injuries among average aged men for a long time, yet can be reduced with a proper back workout. A well shaped back not only reduces the risk of injuries, but straightens your posture and improves your overall appearance.
    A good back has two qualities: thickness and a v-taper shape. The thickness will bring your shoulders back and allow you to maintain proper posture, thereby bringing more emphasis to a well-rounded, defined chest.

    A more pronounced v-taper shaped back will give the optical illusion that the waist is smaller and the shoulders larger, which are important traits of a good physique. Pay attention to the muscles under the shoulder blades when crossing your arms because they are often neglected. These muscles will also help retract your shoulder blades as well as help to maintain a better posture.
    Here are little pointers that a beginner and an advanced fitness addict should check when performing a back workout. It is important to vary the grip when performing back exercises. Two main grips can be used; the reverse grip and the overhand grip . Most people use the overhand grip exclusively and miss out on valuable benefits offered by the reverse grip.

    Why is the reverse grip so important when training back muscles? When pulling weights with a reverse grip, your muscle fibers get more stimulation because the muscle is targeted from a different angle, and the muscles won't get used to the movements.

    This extra stimulation is also due to the fact that a reverse grip maximizes the stretch from each movement. It will maximize the stretch both for rowing movements and for pull-down movements; the two main back movements. Furthermore, this will lengthen the lat muscles for more effective results.

    Other benefits from taking a reverse grip vs. an overhand grip are that you can squeeze the muscles to their maximum. The squeeze at the end of the movement is really important for any body part, as it should be maximized when working the back. When applying a reverse grip, you will also increase the use of your biceps, which allow a more complete body workout.

    To sum it up, vary your grips between exercises. For example, one day can be done with pull-downs using a reverse grip and cable rows with an overhand grip. In the next scheduled back workout, use the opposite grip. This will ensure that you are utilizing the maximum amount of muscle fibers in your back area and exploiting them fully.

    when to train back
    An average trainer should train his back once or twice weekly depending on the intensity of the training schedule and the amount of time he has. Obviously, the harder one trains, the more recuperation time one will need between workouts. A good timeline is to wait at least 48 hours between each back workout. Remember that back muscles are one of the biggest muscle groups in the human body. Therefore, when trained exhaustively, these muscles will require a longer resting period.

    Each exercise should produce failure within your targeted range of repetitions. Here are basic guidelines one should follow in achieving a proper back workout. If you are a beginner, perform 12 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each back workout, and try to train it at least once a week. The sets can be split between 3 or 4 exercises. If you are looking to build mass 3 exercises of 4 repetitions should be performed, and if you are seeking more general fitness then 4 exercises of 3 exercises should be completed.

    More advanced trainers can perform between 12 and 16 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Advanced trainers usually recuperate faster and their bodies are accustomed to the poundage from the weight training. Simply listen to your body. If you're a beginner and feel fresh after the 12th set, you can go for one or two extra ones and really isolate the muscle. In general, allow a 90 second break between sets to allow sufficient rest and maximize the exhaustion of your back muscles.

    Next article: explanation of various back exercises, proper technique, how to execute exercises properly and combine them with other exercises for the most efficient back workout.

    First of all, it is important to point out that the back is comprised of three main areas: the upper-back, the middle back and the lower back (spinal erectors). It is imperative to build all three parts of the back to acquire a better posture and to develop a superior physique.

    Depending on what your fitness goals are: muscle growth, muscle definition, or regular fitness; a proper weight-training program will be needed to achieve your goals. In any case, a good back training program has to consist of exercises for the upper back, middle back and the lower back.

    There are two basic pointers to follow. First, increase your weight load for higher resistance, this should be done if you are seeking muscle growth. On the other hand, lower your weight load and increase the number of repetitions if you are looking for higher muscle definition.

    The recommended number of sets for a decent back workout is between 3 to 4 sets per exercise for a total of 9 to 12 sets. To start your back workout, pick one of the two exercises described below for each; the lower back, the middle back and upper back. Therefore, you will have three exercises hitting every angle of your back. Stick to the program for a period of 8 weeks.
    upper back
    To develop a good upper back, try lateral pull downs; pull the bar behind your neck or on the front of your chest depending on what suits you better. Take a wide-grip bar using an overhand grip, and slowly pull the bar to your neck or to the front of your chest and use the resistance of the weight on your way back up. Slowly repeat the movement 8 to 12 times. Feel the squeeze in your upper back and in the side lat muscles.

    Watch out not to swing when pulling down the weight because it is not only dangerous, but the muscles won't work as efficiently as if the form is properly held. Usually, gyms have special seats (around the universal machine) perfectly suited for this exercise. If no specific machine is available for lateral pull downs, try chin ups as an alternative. Chin ups are physically demanding, but they are a great overall back builder.

    Bent-over lateral raises is a great exercise to build the upper back and the rear deltoid muscles. This exercise should generally be performed at the end of a workout. Because of its finishing properties, one should take lighter weights and emphasize on proper form. Sit down on a flat bench and bend forward. Your back should have a 45-degree angle with your legs and knees.

    Take one dumbbell in each hand and slowly lift the weights parallel to the floor. Squeeze your upper back and rear shoulders at the top of the movement and slowly bring the weights down near your ankles. A little tip is to twist the dumbbells (with a flick of the wrists) at the end of the movement to emphasize the squeeze and to use all the muscle fibers in that area.

    middle back
    The middle back is the biggest and most prominent area of the back. Here are two proposed exercises to build your middle back. The seated cable row with palms-up grip emphasizes your middle back and your rhomboids. Sit on a rowing machine and lean forward to grasp the bar with an underhand grip (slightly wider than shoulder width). Try not to lean forward too much, and squeeze the middle region of your back when pulling on the bar. During the last repetitions, it is OK to lean forward a little more to get an extra stretch; but in general, one should maintain a strict form when performing his cable rows. Once again, remember not to bounce during the movement and keep a strict form.

    Dumbbell rows are another great lat and middle back builder. However, the nature of the movement is a little more advanced. Beginners should start with cable rows before moving to dumbbell rows after 8 weeks. Put one knee on a flat bench and take a dumbbell in your opposite hand. Slowly bend over with your back straight nearly parallel to the floor, and pull the weight up. Remember to lower the weight slowly and always have control of the dumbbell. Your movement should be tight alongside your body, so that when you pull or lower the weight, your elbow should be rubbing against your ribs.
    lower back
    To develop your lower back, hyperextensions are a good exercise. They are usually performed on a flat bench, but they can also be performed on a 45-degree bench. Stand diagonally on the incline back-extension machine so that the pads support your quads and your torso floats freely.

    Erect your back at the top of your movement as you feel the lower back squeeze, and slowly come back down. Keep a constant tension on your back muscle, making it unnecessary to go all the way down. Specifically for this exercise, perform as many repetitions as you can until a burning sensation sets in. To add resistance, you can take a plate to your chest and hold it with your hands crossed.

    Have a good workout!

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