Welcome to the first installment of ‘AC’s Workout of the week.’
Today’s workout of the week is going to be a back “thickness” workout. Aiming to give that important depth to the back that will give you a strong solid look from the back.
A lot of people place important emphasis on the V-taper and the latt width, but for me back thickness is more important. A thick back generally means a strong back and thick latts; big traps and a strong spinal erector can make you look seriously big.
This workout is designed to hit all those muscles as well as the hard to hit muscles up the middle of your back. It’s a very tough workout though so not for the faint hearted. It does involve some pretty heavy weights so make sure your form is perfect and you aren’t trying to push yourself to use weights you aren’t capable of.
So here it is:
Deadlift – 3 x 3
The first exercise is the most important. It is, in my opinion, the best mass building exercise there is. I want you to warm up properly for this so do 5 minute walking on the treadmill, spend 5 minutes stretching your hamstrings and back then do at least 3 warm up sets at less than 60% 1RM. After that pick a weight that is about 85-90% 1RM and aim for 3 sets of 3 reps.
Rack deadlifts (from just above knee height) – 3 x 6-8 reps
Some may say that doing rack deadlifts after normal deadlifts is pointless but I disagree entirely. With deadlifts there is a lot of work needing to be done by the legs. It develops overall size and strength. Rack deadlifts from this height place far more emphasis on the lower back and spinal erector muscles alone. Doing slightly higher reps will really get deep into the already fatigued lower back and work every single muscle fibre.
Underhand Barbell rows – 3 x 10 reps
Keep your back at a 45 degree angle, let the bar come down to stretch the lats then squeeze your elbows back as far as you can and squeeze your full back. Try to pinch your shoulder blades together at the top to recruit the full back. This exercise is great for hitting the full back and you can really get a good squeeze back when you do it underhand.
Reverse grip pulldowns (shoulder width grip) – 3 x 12 reps
Doing pulldowns will hit the back from a totally different angle. With the back being made up of so many different muscles you have to attack it from all sides to really be effective with your training. Doing these underhand takes the emphasis off the lat width and puts it across the full middle of the back as well as the lats.
Dumbell shrugs – 5 x 8 – 10 reps
Some people do shrugs with shoulders but I prefer to do them with back if I am training back thickness. The traps make up a large part of the upper back and are key to getting a thick-set physique. You will have already worked the traps on deadlifts and rack deadlifts so just finish them off with dumbbell shrugs. Don’t roll your shoulders. Just let the weight hang down at your sides and shrug up and down. Squeeze hard at the top and feel your traps working.
So that is my workout of the week. Give it a go on your next back workout day and see if you can feel the squeeze in a part of your back that may be new to you.
See you next week.