Tag Archives: Back

Often overlooked for other more desirable body parts, the back is arguably the most important region of the body. There are numerous muscles in the back that run from the neck all the way down to the waistline. The back is important for many daily functions like picking up things, bending over, sitting, standing upright and more. A strong back can improve the overall quality of life and make one’s daily functions easier. A chiseled and muscular looking back reflects hard work, dedication, and a commitment to “pounding the iron”.

Terry Crews

Terry Crews: Expendables Workout Plan

Being a former NFL player, Terry Crews is no newbie to the gym. You don’t get this from taking it easy and lifting light. There’s no doubt we can all learn a little something from Terry’s routine.

Monday: Shoulder/Arms/Abs/Cardio

Superset

  1. Upright Barbell Row – 1 set of 6 reps
  2. Power Clean & Jerk – 1 set of 6 reps
  3. Romanian Deadlift – 1 set of 6 rep
  4. Jump Squats – 1 set of 6 reps

Giant Set (4 rounds with 30 seconds between each round)

  1. Alternating Dumbbell Front Lateral Raise – 1 set of 10 reps
  2. Arnold Dumbbell Press – 1 set 10 reps
  3. Lateral Raise – 1 set of 10 reps
  4. Rear Dumbbell Flyes – 1 set of 10 reps
  5. Hammer Dumbbell Curl – 4 sets of 10 reps
  6. Rotator Cuff – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between each set)

Giant Set (30 seconds between sets)

  1. Crunches – 1 set to failure
  2. Leg Raises – 1 set to failure
  3. Cardio – 30 minutes treadmill at 3.5 miles at 7mph

Tuesday: Back/Cardio

  1. Barbell Deadlift – 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 second between sets)
  2. Pullups – 3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between sets)
  3. Behind the Neck Pull-ups – 1 set of 15 reps (30 seconds rest)

Giant Set: Side To Side Chins

  1. Side To Side Chins – 1 set of 6 reps, right. 1 set of 6 reps, left. 1 set of 3 reps, middle
  1. Reverse Barbell Row – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between sets)
  2. Machine Row – 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between sets)
  3. Seated Row – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between each set)
  4. Cardio – 30 minutes treadmill at 3.5 miles at 7mph

Wednesday: Cardio Day

  1. Treadmill: 45 minutes, 7.0 MPH (5 miles)

Thursday: Chest/Arms/Abs/Cardio

  1. Power Clean & Jerk – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between each set)
  2. Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between sets)
  3. Incline Barbell Press – 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between sets)

Superset (30 seconds between each set)

  1. Dumbbell Flyes – 4 sets of 10 reps
  2. Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 10 reps

Superset (30 seconds between each set)

  1. Dips – Chest Version – 1 set of 15 reps
  2. Pushups – 4 sets of 20 reps

Giant Set (30 seconds between sets)

  1. Crunches – 1 set to failure
  2. Leg Raises – 1 set to failure
  3. Cardio – 30 minutes treadmill at 3.5 miles at 7mph

Friday: Legs/Triceps/Abs/Cardio

  1. Barbell Squat 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between each set)

Superset (30 seconds between each set)

  1. Single Leg Leg Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
  2. Calf Raise – 4 sets of 10 reps
  3. Hack Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between each set)
  4. Close Grip Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 reps at desired weight (30 seconds between sets)
  5. Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 10 reps (30 seconds between each set)

Giant Set (30 seconds between sets)

  1. Crunches – 1 set to failure
  2. Leg Raises – 1 set to failure
  3. Cardio – 30 minutes treadmill at 3.5 miles at 7mph

Saturday: Cardio Day

  1. Treadmill: 30 minutes at 3.5 miles at 7mph

Sunday: Cardio or Optional Day Off

  1. Treadmill: 30 minutes at 3.5 miles at 7mph or Rest Day (optional)

Lateral Pull Down

The lat pull down is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscles of the back. The latissimus dorsi, or “lats” for short, is the primary muscle used in this exercise. However, numerous other muscles of the upper body play significant roles in properly executing this exercise movement. The lat pull down is performed on a cable pulley system with a wide bar to grab on to.

Anatomy

The lat pull down directly targets the latissimus dorsi, which is a large muscle of the back. This muscle originates in the middle of the back and spreads outward underneath your arms. The latissimus dorsi is primarily responsible for various movements of the shoulder joint and it also assists in scapula movements.

The brachioradialis, brachialis, levator scapulae, teres major, the posterior head of the deltoids, the rhomboids, lower and middle portions of the trapezius and the pectoralis minor all assist the latissimus dorsi in the lat pull down movement. The triceps brachii helps to keep the elbow joint stabilized during the pull down movement.

Exercise Equipment

The lat pull down is performed on a lat pull down machine or a lat putdown station, which is connected to a larger cable pulley system. A wide bar is the traditional piece of equipment used to pull down the weight.

Grips and Hand Placement

The lat pull down is performed with an overhand grip and a wider placement of the hands to ensure direct targeting of the lats. For most individuals the hand placement will be roughly 6 to 12 inches outside of shoulder width. A close grip lat pull down, where the hands are 6 to 12 inches from each other, shifts the emphasis from the lats to other muscles in the middle of the back.

How To Do A Lat Pull Down

  1. Sit down on the machine and place thighs under thigh pads.
  2. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and a wide hand placement.
  3. Lean the torso back roughly 30 to 45 degrees.
  4. Keep the back straight at all times.
  5. Pull the wide bar down until it touches the upper chest.
  6. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles as the bar is lowered.
  7. Return arms and shoulders to a fully extended position.
  8. Repeat this movement for the desired volume of sets and repetitions.

Caution

Individuals should take the following cautions into consideration when performing this exercise:

  • Do not rock back and forth when performing this exercise. It will create momentum, which makes the exercise less effective.
  • Make sure the legs are firmly placed under thigh pads to prevent falling off the seat.
  • Do not pull the wide bar down behind the neck. This is an advanced movement and cause injuries to the neck, shoulders and rotator cuffs if done improperly.
  • Keep eyes on the bar at all times.
  • Make sure to lean back 30 to 45 degrees. This will prevent any pulling of the bar down into the face or head.

 

Pull Ups

Pull-ups are great exercises to increase overall strength in the back. The pull-up is also one of the most popular bodyweight exercises as it requires individuals to pull up their body weight. However, additional weight can be added for individuals who can easily pull up their bodyweight. A pull-up directly targets the latissimus dorsi, “lats” for short, but requires numerous other muscles to assist in the movement. Another great aspect of pull-ups is that this exercise can be performed anywhere including at a gym or one’s home.

Anatomy

The pull-up directly targets the latissimus dorsi, which is the large muscle of the back located in the middle of the back and spreads outward underneath the armpit. The “lats” are primarily responsible for the extension, adduction and internal rotation of the shoulder joint and they assist in movements of the scapula.

The brachialis, brachioradialis, teres major, levator scapulae, posterior head of the deltoids, the rhomboids, lower and middler trapezius and the pectoralis minor all assist the latissimus dorsi in the pull-up movement. The triceps brachii helps to keep the elbow joint stabilized during a pull-up.

Exercise Equipment

The pull-up is typically performed by using a pull-up station which has a long bar to grab with an overhand grip. The bar is roughly 6 feet high so most individuals will not touch the ground when performing the pull-up. If an individual’s body weight is too much to pull up, an assisted pull-up machine can be used instead. These machines have a platform to kneel on and help decrease the amount of weight being pulled up.

For more advanced exercisers, weight can be added to increase difficulty. A pull-up belt can be used to wrap around the waist and then hook around a weighted plate via a 12 to 18 inch chain that hangs down.

Grips and Hand Placement

The hands are placed out wide roughly 6 to 12 inches beyond shoulder width. Some pull-up stations may have two handles to grab onto which are roughly 18 to 24 inches apart. These handles place the hands in a neutral position, which eliminates the need for certain muscles like the posterior deltoid to assist in the exercise movement. Placing the hands too far outside of shoulder width or too close to each other will limit the range of motion and lessen the exercise’s desired effects.

Grabbing the bar with an underhand grip, at a shoulder width distance, will change the pull-up into a chin-up. Depending on the distance between hands, the chin-up can continue to target the lats or shift the primary focus to the biceps brachii.

How To Do A Pull Up With Proper Form

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip roughly 6-12 inches outside of shoulder width.
  2. Use a bench or chair to reach the bar if necessary.
  3. Lift the legs off the ground by bending at the knees and point feet behind the body.
  4. Look up toward the pull-up bar to keep head and neck aligned.
  5. Lean slightly backwards and stick the chest outward.
  6. Pull the body up until the neckline passes the pull-up bar.
  7. Slowly lower the body back down until arms are fully extended.
  8. Repeat this movement for the desired volume of sets and repetitions.

Caution

Individuals should take the following cautions into consideration when performing this exercise:

  • Do not rock back and forth when performing a pull-up. This can lead to a loss of grip and potential injuries from falling.
  • Do not swing the legs during the pull-up as this can lead to a loss of grip and potential injuries from falling.
  • Keep looking upwards at all times to avoid hitting the head or face on the pull-up bar.
  • Keep thumbs wrapped around the pull-up bar to avoid loss of grip.

Seated Vertical Row

The seated vertical row is an exercise that targets numerous muscles of the back. It’s a great exercise for individuals of all fitness levels. The seated vertical row is traditionally performed by using a triangle (V-bar) and a cable pulley machine, which can be found in most gyms.

Anatomy

The seated vertical row incorporates almost 20 different major muscles to properly execute the exercise movement. This exercise directly targets the middle of the back which includes the following muscles: the middle and lower trapezius, the rhomboids, the teres major, rotator cuff muscles, and the latissimus dorsi. The brachialis and the brachioradialis, which are muscles of the arm and forearm, assist the pulling motion.

The posterior head of the deltoids and the sternal head of the pectoralis major assist in the rowing motion. The biceps brachii and the long head of the triceps brachii help to stabilize the elbow joint during this exercise. The hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae and various core muscles like the rectus abdominus help to keep the body in a fixed upright position.

Exercise Equipment

The seated vertical row requires a low pulley machine that has a bench to sit on. Triangles (V-bars), long bars, short bars, cables, or ropes can be used to pull the weight. A triangle (V-bar) is typically used for this exercise. Some gyms have vertical row machines, which can be a substitute for the low pulley system.

Grips and Hand Placement

This exercise is typically performed with an overhand grip. However, the palms are facing each other (neutral grip) instead of away from the body. Triangles, cables, and ropes can be used with this grip. Long bars and short bars force the hands to be in a traditional overhand position, however, the hand placement on the bars can vary to provide different results.

A wide hand placement, roughly 6 to 12 inches outside of shoulder width, will target the latissimus dorsi more. A closer hand placement, about 6 inches apart, would be more similar to using a triangle, cable or rope.

How To Do A Seated Vertical Row

  1. Sit on the bench and place feet on vertical foot pad.
  2. Lean over and grab the triangle (V-bar) with both hands.
  3. Fully extend the arms and lean back to sit upright.
  4. Keep torso upright at all times.
  5. Extend the legs with a slight bend in the knees.
  6. Pull the triangle (V-bar) towards your torso until it touches the midsection.
  7. Make sure the elbows stay close to the body and do not flare out.
  8. Allow the arms to return to a full extension.
  9. Repeat exercise for desired volume of sets and repetitions.

Caution

Individuals should take the following cautions into consideration when performing this exercise:

  • Do not rock back and forth when pulling the weight. This can cause back injuries.
  • Do not lock the knee joints as this can cause joint injuries.
  • Do not flare out the elbows when pulling the weight as this can limit range of motion and lessen the desired effect of the body.
  • Do not lean backwards when performing this exercise as it lessens the desired effects, limit the range of motion and potentially cause low back pain.
  • Do not perform this exercise if suffering from back pain or back injuries.