Out of all your muscle groups, you will probably find the back to be the most complicated one to really develop. This is largely due to the fact that there are so many muscles within your back and they work in so many different ways with muscle fibres stretching here, there and everywhere! Some exercises help add width whilst some help add depth and thickness. But what about detail? If you’re an avid Jason Statham fan like myself you will appreciate the striations which decorate his back when you see him do pull-ups. For me, there is nothing which looks more impressive than a finely detailed back, so here are my top 4 tips for fine tuning your back!
Pull-ups are without a doubt the best back exercise in my mind, in fact, many athletes build a sick back just using several variations of this one exercise. Whilst regular pull-ups and chin-ups are awesome, to really seduce the muscle fibres in your back, in particular the lower region, to pop out like frog’s eyes you need to go one step further.
Wide Chin-Up . . . . . And HOLD!
Hit the chin-up bar and as you get the point where your sweaty chin is kissing the bar hold this for about 5 seconds. This will be immensely strenuous and doing a set of 6 will be the equivalent to doing 15 or so regular chin-ups. Why do this? When you hold, your core is engaged in a major way to help maintain your position. One of the key areas of the core, which is engaged in this particular instance, is the ‘Christmas tree’ area of your lower back. This exercise is absolutely amazing for adding zig and zags to your back!!!
Wide Chin-Up . . . . . . And PUSH!
This exercise is nuts and extremely hard to do. In fact you can’t really SEE that you are doing it, yet you certainly FEEL that you are doing it. Let me explain! As you reach the very same position as the previous exercise, instead of just holding your weight try and push yourself away from the bar. In reality you will probably move a centimetre, if that, away yet the effect it has is dramatic. Obviously, working with the laws of physics by pushing yourself away from the bar you weaken your position. As a result your body acts like an over keen recruitment sales person on their first day and recruits every muscle fibre in your back, again, particularly in the lower region. As a result your back muscles will be jumping out of your skin! This exercise is also amazing for general core strength as you can imagine!
Close Chin-Up . . . . . . And LYE DOWN!
This will take some explaining due to my poor choice of descriptive words in the title! Take a much closer grip on the bar so your hands are no more than 6 inches apart, maintaining the same grip with your palms facing AWAY from your body. Pull yourself up into the primary position and as you reach the top bring your legs up so you are literally lying down in mid air. At this point you could be forgiven for feeling as if God is trying to suck your insides out of you through your skin. Your abdominals get a beating here, yet it is your lower back which is really forced to work hard. The feeling of your back working in this exercise is amazing; you can almost count your newly found muscle fibres.
One of the very best exercises to target your lower back area is of course hyperextensions. However, we have a better variant of this exercise which is sure to work. Instead of placing your hands across your chest, put them up in the air, straight, as if you are on a rocky rollercoaster! As you come to the top of the exercise where you contract, bring your arms right down by your side as if you are doing straight arm pull downs. This will stimulate iso-tension in your back, promoting great muscle development!
Decorating your back with a crazy Christmas tree, knotty lumps of muscle and striations like a map of a maze should be well within your grasps with these secret tips! But remember, when you are walking around with a back like Arnie, remember where you learnt how to achieve it!