Not only is it aesthetically pleasing (in our opinion) to have a strong back, but it is also a key muscle group used to achieve total body strength. The back is arguably one of the most difficult parts of the body to train. It is the largest muscle group in the upper body, making it a key group to train for total upper body strength and posture. By strengthening your back muscles, you're building up the main support structure for your entire body. A healthy and strong back will stabilize and brace your spine, which will make reaching your health and fitness goals even easier.
You may be reading this thinking that you’ve tried every back movement in the book to grow your back, but it may not be the movement itself that is hindering your progress, it could be the WAY you are training.
#1 Focus on your mind-muscle connection.
The mind-muscle connection is a conscious and deliberate muscle contraction. The brain is powerful. When you are actively focusing on the specific area, the brain will use a higher percentage of high muscle fibers to complete the task (aka, a bigger/stronger contraction). To do this, you will need to think about putting the tension you are creating during a specific movement on the specific muscle (or area) that you are intending to work. Really think about squeezing/contracting those muscles to feel the burn.
#2 Slowwww your roll.
We can all agree that it’s fun to go into the gym and throw some heavyweight around and fuel our ego, right? Right, but in reality, this method of lifting will likely cause you to lose that valuable mind-muscle connection and recruit other muscles in order to move a weight that is too heavy.
#3 Push yourself.
And finally, if you’ve gotten this far, now would be a good time to honestly ask yourself if you are putting in 100% effort during your lifts. Your workout should be HARD, but not hard enough that you lose form. We recommend choosing a weight that will allow you to finish your program’s rep rage without breaking form, but it should be HARD by the last rep.
Wide Grip Lat-Pulldowns
Adjust the pad so it sits snugly on your thighs to minimize movement. Grasp the bar with a wide grip, looking forward with your torso upright. Retract your shoulder blades and pull the bar down in front of you to your upper chest. Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the move. Resist the temptation to lean back to aid the movement.
Overhand T-Bar Row
Holding the T-bar in both hands with an overhand grip (palms facing down), hands shoulder-width apart, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart on either side of the pole. While maintaining a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Extend your arms directly below your chest. This is your starting position. Bend your elbows to bring the T-bar in towards your lower ribs. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades. Extend your elbows to lower the pole and return to the starting position.
Seated Low Row
Sit on the platform with your knees bent and grasp the cable attachment with the triangle attachment. Position yourself with your knees slightly bent so that you have to reach to grab the handle with outstretched arms yet without curling the lower back over. Brace your core. Pull the handle and weight back toward the lower abdomen while trying not to use the momentum of the row too much by moving the torso backward with the arms. Target the middle to upper back by keeping your back straight and squeezing your shoulder blades together as you row, chest out. Return the handle forward under tension to full stretch, remembering to keep that back straight even though flexed at the hips.
Place your thighs on the pad. Bend your knees slightly and secure your feet, keeping them in line with your knees. Extend your arms toward the floor. Move up until your shoulders, spine, and hips are in line. Engage your core. Bend down from your waist to return to the starting position.
I worked with my team to put together a quick list of some of the most common foods so you are able to reference this as you are focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Simple. Easy. Effective.
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