Multi-Angle Bodybuilding Back Attack
Let me show you an example of smarter upper back work that will light you up! Attacking the back from multiple angles is really the key to strong and healthy shoulders, as well as developing a sick back.
I’ve been saying, “back is the new chest” for years because of the importance of attacking some aspect of the back – shoulder flexion, extension, horizontal abduction, thoracic extension, flexion, spiral rotation, torso rigidity (anti-movements; dynamic, isolated drills set first and then reinforced with breathing), and other integrated movements – in every single training session.
The problem with most programs is that they aren’t balanced. The same attention that is spent under tension with these fixed movement patterns should also be spent on ensuring supple movement and the ability to move freely is not lost. Breathing sequences that utilize breath holds and slow exhales will get you moving in the right direction, and mobility drills, animal movements, crawling, rolling, and soft-tissue tempering work will also be part of the solution.
The only issue is that most finesse drills to “fill in” the back that compliment heavier compound movements – like pull-ups, deadlifts, bent over rows, heavy lat pull downs and rows – miss and important piece of the strength puzzle – tension.
Prone (multi-angle) posterior flye variations and dumbbell rows performed on a flat bench only focus on the upper body. The key phrase is “more tension equals more strength.” Pulling in tension from the lower body can IMMEDIATELY give the athlete or client more strength for ANY upper body movement they are performing.
For example, think about the difference between prone db flyes performed on an incline bench vs. posterior db flyes performed while isometrically holding a back raise in a GHR.
Another example would be the following two exercise sequence (done after a heavy press) performed STANDING instead on lying on a bench. This simple lower body engagement feeds forward into more strength for the upper body work.
SMARTER UPPER BACK WORK
1) Heavy DB Military Press, 5 sets x 10 reps
2A) Standing DB Posterior Flyes, 5 sets x 10 reps
2B) Standing DB “Y” Flyes, 5 sets x 10 reps
Don’t forget, after you attack the upper back and lats, make sure you’re keeping your range of motion (ROM) and the extensibility (and quality) of your muscles open to maintain your posture and function.
By Smitty on June 25th, 2017
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