Your back is massive… You’re welcome for the ego boost. But seriously, you ever stop to think about how much real estate on your body your back covers. There’s a reason why “you put the team on your back” – you got a lot of room to play with. Ironically enough, I would argue that the back is one of the areas that overall is least focused on. It doesn’t scream sexy like some well defined abs or a good set of guns. However, the back anatomy includes some of the largest and most functionally important muscles in the human body. So with that said, lets take a look at one of my back day workouts and why.
* Deadlifts – IF you’re not doing these, avoiding them because of X,Y,Z or just think they’re hard … I HIGHLY recommend you start. But you are correct, they are hard. Regardless, it’s the Queen to King Squats or vice versa (depending on who you ask). When it comes to bang for your buck on a back day, deadlifts deliver. The amount of muscle recruitment/activation needed is insane.
Secondly, real life application. The deadlift is perhaps one of the most functional movements you can master. You ever move furniture? Shit is hard but being great at deadlifts can make it less hard (I’m still not great at deadlifts so moving furniture is still hard, lol).
* Pendlay Rows – When I program these for my clients, many have never heard of this move. It is certainly an under-utilized movement but one that has great benefits. You’re essentially performing a barbell row but from a resting position.
Benefits here are first of all, less stress on your lower back. Secondly, since you’re starting each rep from a deadstop, you’re working on explosive power. Working on your explosiveness creates more activation of type 2 fibers which can lead to maximum growth potential.
* Dumbbell Pullover SS w/ Lat Pulldown – Because I need wings and I’m not talking the red bull kind. I’m talking about Lats. I want them wide and I want them now. Lats are freaking terrible to train because it’s hard. You literally can’t see them when you train them (unless you have a ton of mirrors and always workout shirtless) and many of us don’t really feel them when trained. Additionally, they wrap around your rib cage which means the direction they pull can change depending on muscle length/exercise.
DB Pullovers and Lat Pulldown are two exercises when I work them in superset fashion, that I really feel my Lats firing. DB Pullovers are another under-utilized movement. Ahhnald swore by them (that’s Arnold Schwarzenegger). If it’s good enough for the greats like Arnold and Dorian Yates, it’s good enough for me.
* Straight Arm Pulldowns – By far one of my favorite back exercises. When I’ve got my lats firing, this move finishes them off. Benefits here is that you’ll also engage your teres-minor and rear delts which help complete the look of a well defined back.
* Wide Grip Pullups – We all should master our bodyweight before we move onto heavy loaded weight. So being able to pull your body up for at least a couple of reps should be a number 1 priority. Pullups are an excellent compound movement that will help add additional slabs of muscle to your back.
And there you have it people. A day in the life of one of my back days. Let us know if you incorporate any of the above moves into your routine or if you decide to follow the workout exactly.