Our own body’s continuous progression is the result of our repeated efforts day in and day out. Proper nutrition, adequate rest/sleep and of course the grind that happens in the weight room. Much to our dismay, however, there are areas that just decide to fight us a little bit. Stubborn body parts that we need to attack full on to see even the slightest amount of progress.
That area for me was my back. I certainly neglected it for a while, doing the same monotonous workouts so in return, I was getting the same consistent results … Which were nothing. It also didn’t help that I avoided deadlifts like most bro-seidons avoid leg day (In case you missed it – can’t spell LEGendary without Leg Day).
I was tired of the lack of progress and tired of my lack of truly filling out XLs. So I finally dedicated myself to transforming my back, putting in the necessary work and pulling some heavy ass weights.
Below I want to highlight the 3 cornerstones of my back development. Exercises that I either neglected or did not do enough of. Once the light finally went on for me and I incorporated them into my routine, I began seeing tremendous results.
It’s easy to overlook our greatest asset sometimes, our body. We place so much focus on hammering it with external weights that we forget that we can create some grueling exercises using just our bodyweight. Being able to control our body weight is just a necessity of life, it’s functional. When the zombie apocalypse hits, being able to perform a strict pull up might just pull you up to safety (just saw a commercial for the season premiere of Walking Dead).
I never did pull ups. Found them boring and rarely worked them into my routine. However, once I committed to taking my back from my worst feature to my best, I realized that I was incredibly bad at pull ups. Today, they are always included in one way or another.
Some key points to keep in mind
~ Make sure to use full range of motion. Not allowing the lats to come to a fully lengthened position, encourages more arm activation (not what we want).
~ Don’t let your elbows flare out. It’ll promote more back stimulus while also making it easier to bring your chest to the bar.
~ Make sure to properly set your shoulders. Each pull up should include a clear depression and retraction of the shoulders. This allows the back to tighten and will put less of the focus on the arms doing all the work.
T Bar Rows
This was mainly a result of not having the proper set up in my own gym. We didn’t have a T-bar Row platform set up or even a landmine station. So I would constantly jam a barbell into a corner, place a dumbbell over one end and then row. Problem with that is that I would get yelled at for ruining a corner of a wall… “They see me rowing, they hating” … Then we got an actual landmine setup. Go time!
Whereas Pull Ups will give you wings, T Bar Rows will add that back thickness that we all want. T Bar Rows also allow you to use a neutral grip, which has been shown to be the strongest position to pull from.
Depending on who you ask, the king of all exercises. And I avoided them like my Orlando Magic avoid winning.
I know! I know! Shame on me. Regardless of the debate, I’m confident in saying that deadlifts are in the top 2 for best overall exercises. For me, however, deadlifts were not easy, I sucked at them and I would just honestly rather do other things.
I came to my senses finally and realized that the road to accomplishing all of my goals was not going to be easy. SO in that light, I also realized that deadlifts needed to happen. I didn’t care how hard they were or how terrible I was. I dedicated myself to them, I learned proper form and it has been a major key to my successful back development.
The only piece of advice I have for all of you when it comes to deadlifts is to check your ego at the door. Learn the basics, perfect your form and then reap the benefits. For those needing a little extra help, check out Layne Norton’s tutorial and he’ll show you the way.
There is excitement in setting a goal and taking small steps to achieve it. Once the results start coming in, it becomes addictive. We all have goals we want to accomplish, some harder than others. They key is to always stay laser focused and realize that we’re not always going to be in our comfort zone. Enjoy the ride, work hard and you’ll see your visions come true.
Stay hungry everyone!