When bodybuilding at gyms in Philadelphia, you’ll have an image of the ideal physique in your head. It probably involves a barrel chest, massive biceps, a six pack, neck muscles that stand out, and toned, muscled legs. But what about your back? Unfortunately, some weightlifters forget about their backs, since they can’t see them in the mirror. However, they are just as important to your total development as other areas of your body. In fact, since the muscles are essential for many of your workouts, it’s absolutely crucial that your back get the proper attention. At Sweat Fitness, we are dedicated to helping you get the perfect body.
Here are some of our recommendations for the most important back exercises to ensure your complete development:
- Deadlift – This exercise is great for strengthening your lower back, provided of course that you perform it properly. It involves squatting, grabbing a barbell, and moving into a full standing position. This will bring the weights to the height of about your lower hips or wherever your arms naturally fall. You then reverse the motion to lower the barbell. There are two main methods for performing this exercise: the conventional deadlift and the sumo deadlift. The conventional variety starts with an overhand grip, the feet directly below the hips, and the barbell directly over the shoelaces. Because of the relatively narrow placement of the feet, this deadlift requires a bit more bending and puts more stress on the core.The sumo deadlift begins with feet far apart and pointed away from one another. You squat and pick up the barbell, but because of the stance, this style involves a great deal less pressure on your core, lower back, hips, and knees. Because of this, it’s a good choice for people who are starting out, those with long legs and short arms, and those who have lower back pain.
- Pull-ups – Who hasn’t done pull-ups in public school? However, while your old gym teacher probably only insisted that you do the bare minimum and let you skimp on getting your chin over the bar, you can afford no such luxury if you want to improve your back muscle. A good way to go if you’re a beginner is to start with Lat Pull-downs, which are similar to pull ups, except that you are using a machine and pulling downwards.These are a bit less intensive, however, making them excellent for people who haven’t yet built up the muscle for pull-ups.
Having progressed to pull-ups, choose wide, neutral or close grip, depending on which muscles you want to work (wider grips target the teres and lats, and are good for increasing back thickness). And remember: the wider the grip, the harder the pull-up. Make sure to pull your chin up at least as far as the bar, then slowly drop down, hang, and repeat. Don’t bend your knees or lean back during the process.
To be continued . . .