In this lesson you’re going to learn about working out your back, which includes muscles such as the:
Latissimus dorsi, AKA “Lats.” These are the muscles on the side of your back that wrap around towards your chest.
Trapezius muscles, AKA “Traps.” These include lower, middle and upper traps. As the names imply, these muscles are on your lower, middle and upper back. The upper traps are usually considered part of the shoulder. This is the muscle on top of the shoulder that goes to the neck. When this muscle is well-developed, you get that “football player” look.
Rhomboids. These are muscles on your upper-middle back.
These muscles come into play when you’re doing other lifts. For example, some leg exercises incorporate your back muscles. And certain shoulder exercises also use back muscles. Once again, that means that a strong back can help you perform these lifts more effectively (and strong shoulders can help you do your back lifts).
Here are some of the most popular and effective back exercises for men:
Stiff legged good mornings
Deadlifts (this is one of the core exercises you should do on leg day, but it also works your back).
Bent over row.
Shrug (these help guys develop the “football player” look by hitting the traps).
Use a light grip. You’re working with a heavy weight, so of course you’ll need to hang on to this weight. But don’t squeeze the bar any more than you have to. That’s because if you squeeze too hard, you’ll be bringing your biceps and forearms into the action more than needed, which means you probably won’t fully utilize your back muscles.
Focus. When you perform an exercise, concentrate on the muscles you’re using. Don’t just go through the motions. Rather, feel them contract. If need be, do a heavy lift in slow motion so that you can really feel which back muscles you’re working. That way, you’ll have better form… and better results.
TIP: It helps if you focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Use hooks or straps. I mentioned this before – if your grip strength isn’t enough to support the weight for a heavy lift, then you’ll want to use hooks or straps to support this weight. That way, you can lift heavy enough weights to get the results you want.
Use the right weight and proper form. If you’re using a weight that’s too heavy, you’ll use poor form. At best, this means that you’re not using your back muscles the way you should to do the lift, so you won’t get the results you want. At worst, poor form can lead to injury.
One way to tell if you have bad form is to ask an experienced weight lifter or trainer to watch you. If you’re familiar with how a lift should look, then you can watch yourself in a mirror. Finally, if you find yourself “swinging” the weight up, then the weight is probably too heavy. Set your ego aside and put on a lighter weight so that you can get the results you want.
That’s it for this time. More exercise and lifting tips to come!
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