Archive for the ‘Back Building 101’ Category

We all know that theres almost nothing more appealing than a sculpted back. A nice wide back can make any man look like a greek god and a sculpted back looks oh so good on a naked back dress. Thats what we’re trying to accomplish here but first lets drop some knowledge on the muscles in the back so we know how they function and how we can build them!

The photo below does a good job showing the different muscles in the back. As you can see the trapezius reaches from the back of the neck down to just halfway past the back. The  lats or latissimus dorsi, cover both the left and ride sides of the  back, while the rhomboids, which are underneath the traps, are found in the middle of the back. The final muscle in the back, the erector spinae, is found on the lower portion of the back.

BACK

Even though there are several types of muscles that make up the back, the major ones are the trapziues, the latissimus dorsi and the rhomboids.

So what do these muscles do? Well, the trapezius basically facilitates most of the movement of your shoulder blades (the technical term is the scalpula) and the back of your neck. It allows you to squeeze your shoulder blades backtowards your spine and move them up and down, as well as allowing you to move your neck and head up and down. The latissimus dorsi is the muscle responsible for giving men that sought after V-shaped figure. Its main functions is the movement of the shoulders through the arms, which allows your arms to move backwards when fully extended. When flexed, the lats help lift the torso upwards. The rhomboids lay under the trapezius and run down the spine; their main function is to retract the shoulders.

By now we’ve covered the muscles that make up the back and their main functions, now how do we work them out?

The back is worked out using pull movements. Opposite the push-up for the chest, the pull-up is an exercise for the back. Why does it work the back, because arms extended overhead on a bar cause the lats to flex and pull the torso up towards the bar. Most of the functions of the muscles in the back allow for fully extended arms to be brought backwards towards the body or brought downwards if extended directly overhead, this means that putting weight in extended arms and bringing them towards you’re body should work the back out.

So now I’ll provide some of my favourite back exercises that will help you target each muscle in the back and get you jacked with a nice V-shaped frame.

To target the traps,  I recommend performing a variety of shrugs. Some examples of exercises include:

Barbell Shrugs

DB Shrugs

Seated DB Shrug

Upright Row

Cable Upright Row

DB Upright Row

Barbell Shrug Machine

Rope Face Pulls

To target the rhomboids in the middle of the back, we row, row, row baby. Rows help you add that thickness and meat to your back. Some of my favourites row variations include:

T-Bar Row

Seated Cable Row

Standing One-Arm Cable Row

Bent-Over Row

Pendlay Row

One-Arm Dumbell Row

Low-Cable Rope Rows

Deadlift

To target the latissimus dorsi muscle, we use a variety of pullups, chinups, and pulldowns. Some of my favourite include:

Wide Grip Pullup

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Close-Grip Lat Pulldown

Chinup

Plyometric Chinup

One-Arm Lat Pulldown

Hi-Cable Rope Row

We’ve reached the end of another post, I hope you’ve learned and I’ve made it interesting for you, now that you know a bit about your back, lets get training and making gains. Until next time, stay jacked friends!