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DAY 4 : BACK TRAINING by John Heidrick


You should be well-rested from your day off, so it’s time

to get back into the gym. Day Four means it’s time to

blast the back. One tip I like to keep in mind whenever

hitting the back: Always use your hands as hooks.

Otherwise, you’ll tire your forearms out. If you tire your

arms and forearms out, you won’t be able to do any

more. Use your hands as hooks, and really use your

back to train rather than pulling with your arms and


Seated Cable Row

First up is the narrow-grip seated cable row. This movement is great

for hitting the meaty part at the center of the back, and to do that, you

need a close grip. When you do your reps, remember to pull your

shoulders back and pinch them together. As you are pulling back, you

want to be pulling the bar into the middle of your abs. Do 4 sets of 12

to 15 reps.

Lat Pull downs

I recommend doing your lat pull downs to the front. To really hit the

lats, pull the bar right down so that it touches your chin. When you

perform your reps, your upper torso should be perfectly vertical with

your chin up so you can touch it with the bar as you contract your lats.

Your elbows should travel slightly in front of your torso as you execute

each rep, and as you pull down, your shoulder blades should squeeze

together. Do 4 sets of 15 reps for this exercise.


Bent-Over Dumbell Row

This is a unique back exercise I recommend to my clients needing

more back size. You start by lying on an incline bench with a dumbell

in each hand and your palms facing you. You then row both dumbells

up at the same time back into your hips. The reason I use dumbells

instead of the barbell for this movement is because it allows you to

pull the weights further back for a better contraction and pump.

As you row the dumbells into your hips, slowly twist the dumbells so

that at full contraction, your palms are facing away from you. Also, as

the weights travel to your hips, your chest should begin to rise and

angle upward, and your lower back should remain arched. This

movement calls for 4 sets of 12 reps.


One-Arm Standing Cable Row

To do this unique movement, start by facing a weight stack with a

one-hand handle attached to the cable down by your feet. Then, bend

over slightly about 45 degrees at the waist and grasp the handle. Your

feet should be staggered, and your head should be up. Then you pull

the cable attachment into your hip as you contract your back muscles.

This exercise calls for 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.


Dead lifts

I prefer dumbells to barbells when it comes to dead lifts. They allow for

a deeper stretch, but you want to make sure that you don’t go down

too low. You just bend over at the waist so that the dumbells go down

just below your knees, and then you pull straight back up, squeezing

your back. Do 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps.



When doing hyperextensions, suck your stomach in and pull up. This

way, your erectors are the only muscles used. The program calls for 2

sets of 15 to 20 reps.

This article was published on Wednesday 01 November, 2006.
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