Training back can be quite a challenge for new bodybuilders who aren’t all that aware of which exercises target which muscle groups, and which set and rep schemes work best. Many will bounce around the gym, tinkering around with different movements, never quite getting a grasp of what makes a solid back workout. Never fear. Here is an easy plan for setting up your back day training. Choose exercises to your liking from the groups listed below, and train your hardest. Manipulate the poundage you use for the movements to hit the designated set and rep scheme below. Good luck!
Select a lower back movement
Hyperextensions, deadlifts, or rack deadlifts should always start your back day. This will be the most weight you’ll move today, and probably all week! You might as well hit this movement while you are at your absolute strongest. Use a weightlifting belt to protect your back during either flavor of deadlift. Don’t fall into the hype of training with an insane amount of weight for just a few repetitions just to keep up with your compadres in the gym. If you cannot move the bar for eight repetitions, then you are using a powerlifter level of weight, and not bodybuilding levels. Keep the weight heavy yet manageable, and training the lower back will add a lot of beef to your physique.
Select an upper back movement
This is the exercise which will target the lats, the “wings” of the back that flare out in almost every single bodybuilding show. You will want to choose a barbell or dumbbell rowing exercise for this area of the back. Free weights always work best. They stimulate not only the back, but the arms, shoulders, wrist grip, and other parts of the body as well. Your repetition range should be at least ten each set for this exercise. While the lower back may be more about moving the weight, the upper back movements you choose should be dedicate to “feeling” the weight with each repetition. Stay focused!
Select an isolation upper back movement
Walk to the machine area of your gym and select a high, medium, or low row Hammer Strength machine which fits your liking. Or, opt for a t-bar rowing machine. Many gyms experiment with machines offering a wide variety of back training arcs, and so should you. These machines allow the trainer to use his energies for moving the weight, not balancing, controlling, or aiming it. You simply push. This doesn’t develop the stabilizer muscles, but they’ve already had their workout with the first two exercises.
Select a Trap Movement
Barbell shrugs are an excellent choice for developing your trapezius, but you don’t have to settle. Dumbbell shrugs allow for just as much growth, with perhaps a bit more flexibility. And, you can always check out cable shrugs using the entire stack. Some gyms have dedicated shrug machines, and others have a flat bench press machine which can double as a shrug machine by creative lifters!