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How to Train Your Back for More Muscle

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I’m not so good with pushing. I’ve never been good at bench presses, squats, or shoulder presses, but I am a puller. I can do pull ups and chin ups for days, row with pretty considerable weight and curl ’til the cows come home. Since I have long arms they provide me with good levers to do this. I’ll show you how to train your back for more muscle.

Back can be an elusive area to properly stimulate. I see many a gym-goer pull a ton of weight with some horrendous form and function. They pull almost exclusively with their arms – biceps, specifically. In a nutshell they aren’t “feeling” their back muscles contract. Below I’ve outlined some steps on how to better feel your back contracting with two different planes of movement: vertical pull and horizontal pull (pull ups/pull downs and rows, respectively).

*Ego warning: You’ll need to lower the amount of weight you lift.

 

How to Train Your Back for More Muscle

Pull ups/pull downs

  1. Grasp the bar with a solid, tight grip. From here on forget about your grip. You won’t be pulling with your hands. Just keep your grip.
  2. With your shoulder girdle raised (think as if you’re shrugging your shoulders up) stretch your lats as much as you can and straighten your arms completely.
  3. Start the pull. Simultaneously pull the bar down and lower your shoulder girdle.
  4. Here’s the most important part: Pull with your elbows. Imagine that you have ropes attached to your elbows and they are pulling the bar.
  5. Once you’re reached full contraction stretch the lats out again with full extension. Arms completely straight.

 

Rows

  1. Bend over at your hips. Avoid rounding your back. Get your torso as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
  2. Just as described above, grasp the bar and forget about your grip.
  3. Keeping your back straight and inline with your hips, release your shoulders and stretch your lats.
  4. Again, simultaneously pull with your elbows and raise your shoulders. Try pinching your shoulder blades together while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  5. Pull to touch your belly button for a contraction then return to the stretched position.

 

Happy pulling!

By Brad Borland

Cancer Survivor, Military Veteran, University Lecturer, Strength Coach, Natural Drug-Free Bodybuilder, Husband, Father

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