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Powerlifting Q&A #00
Back Training
Powerlifting Q&A #00
Back Training

Putting Power in Your Back Workouts!
By: (Bulldog)
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Powerlifting Q&A #00: Back Training

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Question: What exercise do you feel is best for thickening the upper back (latissimus darsi) muscles? My back is weak and very under-developed. Please help! Answer: Building the upper back is a fairly easy thing to do, providing you’re willing to work at it, and you don’t expect results overnight. There are two exercises that I recommend for the upper back thickness. I have never found any other movements to be as effective:
  1. Standard barbell bent-over rowing
  2. Single-arm dumbbell rowing

Heavy Dumbbell Rows
build incredible back
thickness & power!

Generally, it is best to train on the barbell movement until you’re working out with really respectable weight (say, 20-30 lbs. over bodyweight). That should be for sets of between 5 and 8 repetitions. Two or three sets (of 8) are plenty, and three to five sets (of 5) can be done, as you get up into really heavy poundage's. The benefits of this exercise will be lost if you do too much cheating, so work in strict style. This will be easy In the beginning, but it will become more difficult as you progress to really impressive weights. Nevertheless, stick with strict form until you’re handling poundage's you can be proud of. Then...

Change to single-arm dumbbell rowing, with one hand pressing down on a bench or stool as you row with the other. I prefer this exercise when advanced, because it prevents stress In the low-back area. If you work HARD and concentrate on single-arm rowing you can handle weights that are equal to the barbell movement (i.e. 100 lbs. in single arm rowing, instead of 200 lbs. in bent-barbell rowing, etc.). I suggest between 8 and 10 reps per arm with no fewer than three sets per arm, in this exercise.

One word of caution: Always do some training for your lower back. Regular or stiff-legged deadllfts, or even power cleans or snatches will keep the low back strong and supple. This area, despite the fact that it doesn’t “show” as nicely as the lats do, is the critical zone that permits total body power and stability to be cultivated. Always keep it in good shape.

In doing all forms of heavy rowing and deadlifting you might wish to consider purchasing or making a set of lifter’s straps which will allow a secure grip on the weights. HEAVY training is the only way to build the back! Always be sure to WARM-UP first!

Tags: Back Conditioning

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