by Matt Basso | September 2012

Get Your Sexy Back

Training our back is very important. It's not only key for staying pain free and muscularly balanced, but also for aesthetics.

Back health is so important that I even use it as a biofeed back trigger. Meaning, for myself and my clients, how our back feels can change an entire plan for a workout. I don't like getting derailed from my program so getting my back exercises in is paramount.

Our core is used in everything we do. Even if we are doing bench press. If we are engaging properly, although we are lying down, we should be squeezing are core to stay safe and powerful. This means no matter what, we can use are lower back as an indicator of how intense our lifting should be that day.

If only for this reason, we want to be diligent about strengthening our backs muscles. People tend to get caught up on pressing. Chest pressing and shoulder pressing are important, but it's more important to have a strong back so you can support those movements, maintain excellent posture, and stay pain free.

On the aesthetic side of things, people notice when you have a nice back.

Guys: Ladies love it when they can feel the definition of your back when you're laying on top of them.
Ladies: Wearing a low cut backless dress, or top that reveals a shapely back is sure to get you attention.

I find that because there are so many back exercises to choose from, as a result of the vast musculature of our posterior chain,  that people tend to over complicate their "pulling" days.

We are going to stick to the KISS method... Keep It Simple Stupid.

The variables that I account for in my back workouts are volume and legs. Yes I said legs. If you want to really change an area of your body throw in some leg work before you start the main act. More specifically do either squats or deadlifts BEFORE you begin your back workout.

Do this for 2 reasons:

1) Doing squats and deadlifts get your entire body firing on all cylinders. Both movements involve your back enough to get them going but not too much (limit sets we'll talk about that in a sec) to tire them out.

2) Success in changing your body requires the right hormones to fire up. Working the bigger muscles in your body, which are in your legs, help release hormones that are going to contribute to your goal of a stronger sexier back.

On the volume not. For those of you who don't know what I mean when I say volume, I'm referring to amount of work that you do. So, higher volume means more sets and more reps. As opposed to low volume meaning low reps and limited sets.

To build a better back use higher volume. Our back muscles get a ton of work. They contribute to so much in our daily life that when you need to stimulate change, you need to go above and beyond to challenge your back muscles.

One more thing..."cheating" is allowed. I know I know...I'm always a stickler when it comes to form. The reality here is that you need to get better at pull-ups. Many struggle with pull-ups so I suggest that you allow yourself to "cheat" on the pull-ups using kiping to help you get the reps done. You'll mix in slow perfect form pull-ups with momentum pull-ups and pull downs so you can really train the lats hard and get comfortable with the movement.

The basic frame work for the KISS Back Workout is:

A)Full Body Warm-up:

B) Legs: Either back squats using 60%-70% of your max or Deadlifts using 60%-70% of your max 5-8 sets no more then 10 reps per set except on the last set if you want to burn out. Then take at least 3 min rest before you go into...

C) Pull-ups or Pull downs. If you "can't" do pull-ups either do cheat reps supersetted with pull downs or modified pull-ups with a band, assist machine or negative drops. 6-8 sets trying for 10+ reps/ failure every time. If you fail early superset with pull downs.

D) Seated rows: Use a straight bar and vary grips between close and wide, and supinated and prone (palms up or palms down). 5-6 sets going for high reps.

E) Bicep drag curls 3 sets max

So it might look like this...

Back Squat: 1-2min rest between sets.

  • 135x10x1
  • 155x10x1
  • 165x8x1
  • 185x8x1
  • 185x5x1
  • 165x15x1

Pull-ups:  about 1 min rest between sets.

  • 20x1 supinated grip
  • 15x1 pronated grip
  • 15x1 supinated grip
  • 10x1 wide pronated grip
  • 8x1 pronated grip superset pull downs 12 reps
  • 6x1 supinated superset  pull downs 10 reps
  • 8x1 kiping pulls superset pull downs to failure

Seated rows: about 1min rest between sets.

  • 20x1 supinated  narrow grip
  • 20x1 pronated wide grip
  • 20x1 supinated narrow grip
  • 15x1 wide pronated grip
  • 12x1 pronated grip
  • 15x1 supinated narrow grip
  •  12x1 pronated wide grip

Alternating bicep drag curls:

  • 20x1
  • 10x1
  • 10x1

As you can see we're talking high reps and an intense workout.
It will work. Try it

Filed under: Training