Friday, November 16, 2007

Triple Your Back Muscles

I'll introduce you another triple-set circuit workout routine to work your back muscles. It's one of my training principles to work muscles in balance for strength, posture and injury prevention.
I'm sure you see a lot of more people (particularly men) in the gym working on their chest and shoulder muscles well more than their back muscles in terms of training frequency and volume. Do you see more people doing chest press or pullup?

On the other hand, there are also a lot more people having back problems due to relatively weak, less developed back muscles and poor posture. How many people you know are having back pain of all sorts and seeking pain management?

It's health-wise to include workouts that strengthen your back muscles (latissimus dorsi, teres major, rhomboid, trapezius) from different angles.

From physiological and aesthetic perspectives, working your lat increases the width of your back and gives the visually appealing "V" tapered upper body shape. Thickening your back muscles gives off the power sign of strength.

It's time to build a big wide muscular back.

Triple Back Muscle Attack
A. Seated Lat Front Pulldown x 8-12 reps
B. Standing Lat Pulldown (45 degrees) x 8-12 reps
C. Standing Straight-Arm Pulldown x 10-15 reps

Again, review the superset and triset training principles as to how to set up effective and efficient workout.

How to do it
Go to the lat pulldown station in the gym. You can also attach a resistance tubing around a secured point about 2 or 3 feet above your head level while standing.

Perform your standard seated lat front pulldown by pulling the bar straight downward towards your mid chest (sternum). Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar all the way down to your mid chest. Contract your lat muscles. Avoid using momentum to swing or pull down the bar. Do 8 to 12 reps.

Then stand up and step back about two feet. You can probably use the same weight. Now do similar pulldown by pulling the bar down towards your mid chest. Due to the change in the angle of pull, it's now about 45 degrees. Do 8 to 12 reps.

Reduce the weight or resistance by half. In the same standing position, do straight-arm pulldown. Pull the bar downward like an arc motion pivoting from your shoulders towards your thighs and feel the muscle contraction on the back. Maintain your neutral spine position and stabilize your body. Do 10 to 15 reps.

The reason to reduce the weight is that you're close to temporary muscular fatigue on the your forearms and back from the first two exercises. You typically wouldn't be able to pull the same amount of weight as standard lat pulldown without using momentum. It's a great training practice to adjust (reduce) weight so that you're able to perform the exercise properly with smooth, controlled movement and put the target muscle under tension.

This tri-set back workout routine will give your old way of back training a new spin. It gives you new stimulus to your back muscles. Who don't want a "V" tapered body shape?

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