Working the back

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by budec, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. budec

    budec New Member

    I need some help on working my back... I hit my shoulders good (do side raises, forward raises, shoulder press), but hitting the middle of the shoulders, the middle back and lower back I don't know what to do.

    I have access to dumbells. I've tried squats and dead lifts before but screwed up my back twice on them.... and really don't want to risk around injury.... (I have no cordination what so ever).... I've also tried doing dumbell rows, but I can't isolate my back muscles, it feels like it's working my arms more then anything.

    I'm good at doing exercises where I don't have to balance, but if I have to balance and get corrdinated to hit a muscle I ussually #### it up badly.

    Any ideas?
  2. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Do you train at a gym? Or at home? What equipment do you have access to?
  3. OneMoreRep

    OneMoreRep New Member

    deadlift rules for back IMO.
  4. Lance

    Lance New Member

    When i started lifting for bodybuilding, i stuck with the basics as most suggested. The most basic movements for the back are the deadlift, chins, and bent over rows.
    I had lifted for about 3 years for football, doing basic compounds. Mostly squats and bench. I had a strong foundation, but wasn't very big. Just tight, conditioned (term i learned from HST =) ).
    Anyways, i started lifting to be a bodybuilder, and with these 3 movements my back really blew up. It's one of my prize posessions of my body. Here are 2 back pictures from 5 months after i started lifting with these exercises.
    They are on the bottom pictures. When i was a little more ripped. =)
    This was my back before, after lifting for football for 3 years, but before lifting like a bodybuilder.
  5. WhiteBro

    WhiteBro New Member

    I like bent-over one-armed dumbell rows... using an appropriate weight and getting a full ROM (specifically at the top). Concentrating on the back really helps burn that area. I used to do bent-dumbell rows (both arms) sitting on a bench...concentrating on squeezing the middle back together helped a lot. For lower back I like good mornings, but if you can do weighted hyperextensions, they're awesome. [​IMG]
  6. budec

    budec New Member

    I work out in my apartment's gym.

    They have a good dumbell set, but everything else is junk. They have a chin bar that and one of those um, dip bars?

    They also have some cable stuff, one that pulls down. They don't have a row machine or lat pull down machine.

    I've been trying rows, but it feels like I'm hitting more arms then my back... I've messed my back up with deadlifts and squards... I'm trying to find something simple that will isolate my back muscles.

    I'll try chins, that should work the lats right?

    What else will help with my back?
  7. rowdy

    rowdy New Member

    A very simple, isolation exercise would be Reverse Flyes. Lie on a bench on your stomach. Then raise two dumbells outwards, like your side raises for your shoulders, only now its for your back.

    But most people advocate some kind of row for the back. It sounds to me like you need to work alot on your technique and form. Ditch the heavy weights, go very light (or nothing at all) with a barbell, and concentrate on your back as you do some Bent Rows. Also, check a few exercise sites to learn correct form. Once u get the form down pat, then start to crank up the weight.

    Also, you could consider buying a weights belt to protect your back on the heavy lifts... though some will say this only increases the weakness in your back.
  8. budec

    budec New Member

    Thanks... I look up a few sites.
  9. Kate

    Kate New Member

    Hi, budec! :D

    It's interesting that you say you feel as if you are using more arm than back on your exercises. That may be exactly what you are doing [​IMG]

    The muscles that will add bulk to your back are attached to your shoulder blades and your upper arm. If you aren't getting those shoulder blades moving, you may not be getting as much work out of those lats and traps as you'd like.

    To give you an idea of what this should feel like, try this. Stand in strong posture with feet shoulder width, shoulders pulled back, chest up, abs pulled in. Now hold your arms straight out front from your shoulders. From here, try to squeeze your shoulder blades down and together, without bending your elbows. (It's almost like a downward shrug)

    Try getting a feel for squeezing the shoulder blades together and pulling them apart. Now, start with this motion (scapular retraction) and when you can't squeeze them together any more, add in a bending of the elbows. You should get a little more motion in those scaps, but it is only a very small range of motion compared to what you can get by retracting and protracting those shoulders.

    Same thing works for pulldowns and chins. The chest comes up as the arms come down. Try to aim the top of your chest toward the chin bar and squeeze your back to get you there. There are a lot of people at my gym who finish what they think is pulldown by crunching down with their abs and pecs [​IMG]

    Preaching form as usual....
  10. budec

    budec New Member


    thanks for your advice everyone.

    I've been doing 'reverse dumbell flyers' to hit the back of the shoulders, that works well and using 'dumbell miltary press' to hit the "tops" of the shoulders... my upper back is doing good. Also going to throw in some chin ups (thanks Kate :) ) and that should get my upper back in shape.

    Still not sure on how to hit the muscles in my lower back (near the waste). Any suggestions?

    Also is there any exercise that "isolates" the lats? I really want to kill those good :)
  11. Dont_quit

    Dont_quit New Member

    I'm not sure why'd you'd want to isolate the lats, but if you really want to, I'd suggest straight-arm pulldowns
    Straight-arm pulldowns-standing
    you can also do them on a bench, but standing has much better range of motion
    As for the lower back, deadlifts rule, either kind. Good mornings and hyperextensions work as well, but deadlifts are king.
  12. Heavy Duty dude

    Heavy Duty dude New Member

    You can do one-arm rows too since you have dumbells. They're pretty good.
  13. Scott S

    Scott S New Member

    One tip when rowing is to start the lift from the back, and pull to the lower abdomen (with a barbell) or toward the hip (with a dumbbell). You'll probably have to use less weight to get the feel of this, like the others said.

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