Tips & Advice from the professional personal trainers at OneLife training gym in Kelowna.
Your back muscles aren’t usually the first muscles you show off, but they’re no less important than your arms, chest, and abs. Back muscle exercises are an integral part of a complete bodybuilding workout plan. Your back, your spine, keeps you walking upright, and your back muscles provide the bulk of support and strength to perform virtually any activity. Back muscles can improve your posture and are vital for muscular balance and maintaining a strong core. If you ignore your back by overtraining your front (pectorals, abdominals, etc.) you run the risk of developing posture issues, such as hunching forward or being left with a rounded back. Let’s look at the best back exercises for building mass.
Stand facing the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Contract your abdominals, push your chest up, keep your back straight, and bend your knees until you can reach the bar. Start lifting the barbell off the floor by straightening your legs and keeping the bar close to your body. Once the bar reaches knee level, straighten your legs while extending your back, and stand upright. Do not hyperextend your back – keep your shoulders and hips in a straight line. Exhale and hold this position for two seconds while bringing your shoulder blades together for extra upper back stimulation. Keep your back straight and lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.
Holding a barbell with your palms facing down, bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist and keeping your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. While keeping your torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell to you. Keep your elbows close to your body and use only your forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze your back muscles and hold for a brief pause. Then inhale and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
Rest your left knee and left hand on a flat bench, and put your right foot on the floor. Your bodyweight should mostly be supported by your left side as you lean forward. Reach down for the dumbbell with your right hand while keeping your back flat. Bend your elbow to bring your right arm up to chest height. Pause at the top of the motion before lowering the dumbbell in a controlled manner. Repeat for desired number of repetitions and switch to your left hand.
Grab a bar with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your hands facing away from you and hang all the way down. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Take a slight pause, and lower yourself all the way back down. As you lift up, concentrate on isolating your back and biceps. Start by doing one or two reps and try to do a few sets. Remember to go all the way down, keeping your arms perfectly straight as you do so.
Sit down at a lat pulldown machine and grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder-width. With palms facing forward grab the bar with a wide grip. With a tight core and a straight back pull the bar down to your upper chest. Keep your elbows pointed straight down. Pause at the bottom of the movement before returning the bar to the starting position.
Always keep your spine straight during your workout. Do not round or arch your back as it may cause injuries. Do not push yourself too hard, as overtraining is counterproductive. Mix things up but aim to keep the big compound movements like the deadlift and barbell row involved as they are the most intensive exercises. And remember, if you want to get big, you have to eat big. You need to be eating more calories than you burn, and should be looking to get roughly a gram of protein per lb of lean body mass.
Whether you train to gain, or are keen to get lean, at One Life Fitness gym in Kelowna we tailor our fitness programs to meet your specific goals. We are Kelowna’s premier personal training company, and we never disappoint. So don’t wait another day.