Back workouts for Bodybuilding | Training Knowledge
There is a saying or common thought within the bodybuilding community that 'shows are won from the back' This can very well be true. The back in its entirety has numerous separate back muscles which when all built to proportion makes a hell of a show stopper. In regards to bodybuilding shows or any stage shows ie. Mens Physique, Classic Physique etc proportions are key. This is where training and knowing your body will play a huge role in creating that well proportionate / balanced physique. We all have a body part that we feel is our strongest, and we all have one that we feel is our weakest. The task is to bring your weakest part up-to par with your strongest so there are no lagging body parts. Easier said than done that's for sure, but just recognising where you need to improve on is the 1st step. Then you can create a plan moving forward to balance out and work on your lagging muscles.
When it comes to the back, this can be even harder. Trying to separate each muscle of the back to target a certain area requires mind to muscle connection. An example of overpowered to lagging back muscles is Kia Greene. He is a perfect example of how he naturally has stronger and weaker muscles in his back. Notice Kia Greene in the of the image below and how his Latissimus Dorsi muscle (Lats) are quite overpowering in comparison to his Trapezius (Traps) This is all due to genetics and the mechanical make up of his joints, muscle origins and insertions. This is why it is vital to be able to create a mind muscle connection to separate each of the muscles within the back to be able to work harder on one (the weaker muscle) than the other.
I am going to go through 3 back muscles and some different exercises that will bring out the thickness of your back to create that 3D look.
Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) - Neutral Grip Seated Rows
This exercise is great for bringing out the thickness in the back. It all depends on how you execute the exercise to which part of the back you combat the most. For this example we are wanting to target the lower lat muscles and bring out the thickness. To do this, you will be wanting to pull the handle to the lowest part of your torso. Keep your elbows tucked in tight to your torso and pull back as far as you can go concentrating on the mind muscle connection with your lower lats. Imagine your hand as hooks and all you have to pull the weight back with is your upper arm. This will eliminate the use of curling the weight towards you as much as possible.
A great variation for this exercise is to do this Uni Lateral. By performing the exercise one arm at a time, you can actually feel and tough the desired part of your back you are trying to work on with your free arm/hand. This will encourage and help the process of mind to muscle connection.
So before I get into the exercise, this is a muscle that will always be worked when performing most back exercises. If you get this muscle popping it will really give you that 3D look. See the image below to understand the origin and insertion of this muscle. This will then give you an idea of the movement best associated to really target this muscle.
The Teres Major muscle is situated just above the the top of the lats. It does a similar job to the lats in terms of movement. Notice the origin is attached to the scapula, and the insertion is at the front of the humerus. This means to take this muscle to its fully stretched out position, you will want to flex your arms all the way above your head, and externally rotated them into a supernated grip position (underarm/palms facing up). To then fully contract this muscle, you will need to do the opposite. Meaning extending your arms all the way back to its furthest position while throughout this movement internally rotating the arm to finish it in a pronated position (overarm or palms facing down)
Single Arm Cable Lat Pull down
So I have basically already explained the exercise and movement to best hit the teres major muscle. You will honestly feel the burn right at the top of your lats and the pump on your teres major will be crazy. Give this a go and create those lumps and bumps for full back development.
Now when people think of training traps, they think of shrugs with the thought of their traps just being the the lumpy part that fills from the bottom of their neck to the collar bone. Yes shrugs will hit those UPPER traps but what about the MID-LOW region of your traps?
So the T-Bar Row exercise is a beast. Now again, the way you perform it depends on how much enthuses and strain you put on each muscle. To really hit the middle traps you want to stretch and protract your shoulder blades just liKe the legend Arnold is doing on the image above... (try and keep your back at a neutral position and keep a stricter form though) Then bring your elbows back keeping them tucked into your torso with a strict mind muscle connection with your traps retracting your shoulder blades back and really tensing and squeezing them.
Now this will get your lower traps burning for sure.
Set the cable around belly button height and connect a straight bar. Facing the cables with an overhand grip on the bar, slightly lean back and start with your arms extended. Engage and contract your traps and raise your arm/weight from the horizontal position to a vertical position. Really squeeze the traps and feel the burn at the top of the movement. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position and report the process. You will want to use what you would consider a fairly light weight for this exercise. You want to be able to perform this as strict as possible and concentrate on the trap engagement for full effect with no swinging or cheating to help execute the movement.
If any of this helped with your training please let me know. If you would like to learn even more exercises and have a solid proven bodybuilding programme with everything you need to bring your physique to the next level including a 17 week training plan, nutritional advice, nutrient breakdown, calorie counting and a lot more then check out our 17 week lean bulk training programme which has a mega deal in at the moment.