Saturday, April 14, 2012

6 Weeks to a Better Back

Ha ha Sounds like a commercial huh? But it's true- take a look at these pictures!

Above (the impressive picture) is my back on Sunday, April 8, 2012. 

Below (the slacker picture) is my back six weeks earlier. Quite a difference huh? Changes like this really excite me!

I am four weeks from a competition, so in the next month, my back will become even more defined, I will have less fat and my waist will come in a bit more. When I saw the first picture, I was kind of shocked, it just didn't look like my back, how could that be my back? 

The erector spinae muscles are so thick, almost like wide ropes running down my back, I don't remember those. But I have always loved backs, and especially that nice deep indent that runs straight up the middle, and you only get that with well developed muscles running up the sides.

I remember a few years ago, I had stopped training on a regular basis with SC, and I went in to see him, we must have been training that one day because when he looked at me (I had a bra top on, no shirt), he got this shocked sound in his voice and said "What the hell happened to your back?!"

My back...was gone, no well developed muscles, no thick like ropes running down the sides, no big indent, I had slacked off on my training. I don't do that any longer.

So what have I done?

Year round I train my back once a week, one whole morning is devoted to back, and a bit of biceps as they naturally get worked when I train my back (I won't be reviewing bicep training now). When I start dieting for a competition, then I start training my back twice a week. 

So...I double my training, I cut rest periods and I add more sets. I suppose its almost like quadrupling my workouts then! 

I vary the training, and I will change what I am doing every 3 or 4 weeks. I do not do the exact same thing on my twice a week back days, although I do some of the same things. Here is an example:

Sunday is my long day, I have more time.

Chin ups/pull ups
I will do 4 sets of 4 different hand grips. I typically do 6 to 10 of each depending on the grip. I super set these with dips, body weight 10 reps. So I do my chin ups then move to the dip station, do those then rest.

Lat Pull Down
6 sets of 12 60 second rest in between
2 sets wide grip
2 sets narrow grip (palms facing me)
2 sets triangle grip

Low Row on a Cable
6 sets of 12 60 second rest in between
2 sets wide grip
2 sets narrow grip (palms facing me)
2 sets triangle grip

Barbell Bent Over Row
4 sets of 10, (palms can be changed, supinated will hit the biceps more, pronated will hit the back more...I like supinated best)

On the shorter days I will eliminate the BB Bent Over Row and the Low Row and I will add this instead:

T-Bar Row
4 sets of 10 (squeeze those shoulder blades).

4 sets of 12

Always, always, always do chin ups and pull ups! They are one of the best things for your whole body. Keep your core tight, do NOT "kip" them up, you are completely defeating the purpose of doing them then. Don't neglect your back, not only are strong backs stunning, they are vital to your overall physical health. 

My back also gets worked when I perform the Glute Ham raise, Squats, and Good Mornings, since they require a strong, tight focused core, it just all fits. So, if you are not doing any of these big compound exercises, and then fail to do much of the back training that I described and rely solely on the lat pull down as most people do, you will probably never had these nice thick ropes. 

But! It's never too late to start- cause see what I did in only 6 weeks?