Since the dawn of mankind, humans have needed the back muscles for bending, lifting and carrying objects. Whether a person is picking up a baby or a barbell, the back muscles are vital part of our existence.
The back has to be strong – so why not make it look good in the process?
The back has three major muscle groups: the latissiumus dorsi, trapezius and the spinal erectors. Each muscle group gives the back certain aesthetically pleasing characteristics.
The latissiums dorsi, more commonly known as the lats, performs many functions. These triangle-shaped muscles begin along the spine and extend from the shoulder to the waist. The lats rotate and lower the arm, as well as pull the shoulder backwards.
The lats have the biggest surface area of any muscle in the body, providing width to the back. This aspect helps give the upper body the “V” shape from the shoulders to the waist.
The trapezius muscles are also triangular in shape. They reach from the neck to the shoulder and down the spine to the middle of the back. More commonly known as the traps, they rotate, elevate and retract the shoulder blade. Some consider the traps for shoulder training as well as back. The traps provide thickness to the upper back.
The spinal erectors are three muscles that align the spine. They lie underneath the traps and lats. They elevate and straighten the spine, providing stability. The spinal erectors are visible only at the waist, giving definition between the lats and lower back.
The most effective back exercise is wide-grip pullups. While this exercise may also be among the most difficult, it develops the lats better than any other exercise. Wide-grip pullups also work the traps by forcing the shoulder blades together and works the spinal erectors with the need for stability.
Never go behind your neck while performing pullups. If you can’t do pullups, have your workout partner hold your feet and help you up, then come down as slow as possible. Eventually, you will be able to perform pullups.
If pullups remain too difficult, the same lat work can be completed on a lat pulldown machine. Do not pull down the bar behind the neck. Pull it to the top of the chest. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together as the bar lowers. Pullups and pulldowns are great exercises to provide width to the upper back.
Seated upper back rows are another tremendous back exercise. These are usually completed with a cable. This exercise provides thickness to the upper back and gives definition between the lats and lower back. As you pull, make sure to bring the shoulder blades together and “puff out” the chest.
Bodybuilding training splits are often varied and argued. The prescription with the most science behind it asks people to train what muscles do, not individual muscles. This means that if you are going to break apart muscle groups, perform pulling and pushing muscles on opposite days.
Therefore, a great back workout would consist of pullups, pulldowns and upper back rows. Maybe throw in some upper body raises while lying face-down on the floor. Work the back once every five to seven days.
These suggestions will provide the back with width and thickness. Definition will come if these exercises are combined with a proper nutritional plan. Follow the guidelines within this article and you will not see any more back fat – just a sexy, sexy back!
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