Common Back Workout Mistakes
The back is the second largest muscle group of the body. Although it is only the latissimus dorsi that is visible frontwise, you should not forget about the thickness of your back muscles either, provided that you are not just a beach boy who only goes for the looks.
There are several mistakes you can make during your back workout, if you are not careful enough. Below you can read about the most notorious ones. Does your back not develop? Read on to find the solution.
1. Not Working All Areas
One of the most common mistakes is working only certain segments of the back musculature. Let us highlight it: there are no back exercises SOLELY for width or SOLELY for thickness, but there are exercises which are more suitable for highlighting the width of the back, while others are more effective at developing thickness. However, you cannot isolate each area of the back musculature like that.
Work your back muscles from every angle. Do pull-ups or pull-downs, rows and deadlifts to reach each fiber of your back musculature. Pulling moves (up or down) add more to the width of the back, while deadlifts and rows add more to thickness. Plus, it is also worth experimenting with grip width: if you apply narrow grip for a row, for example, you will stimulate the outer parts of your back musculature, while the inner area near the spine can be reached by using a wide grip. Needless to say, concentration is essential. This requires a highly developed mind-muscle connection so you can feel even seemingly negligible differences. It’s just a matter of practice!
2. Neglecting the Lower Back
This will lead to a common phenomenon: when your upper back muscles are wide and thick, but getting closer to your waist, your back seems to “disappear”. Shit happens, even with pros. OK, the lower back gets some stimuli during rows, but it takes targeted exercises to make this area really well developed.
If your genetics and health allow, do deadlifts during every second back workout. Do them at the end of your workout. The number of repetitions depends on your training routine. Should you have any issues with the regular deadlift, both stiff leg deadlifts and hyperextensions are excellent for working this area. Good-mornings are the same. However, we do not recommend this exercise, as it is a real lower back killer, even if performed properly.
3. The Grip – The Weakest Link
Every chain is just as strong as its weakest link. This applies to you as well: if your grip is not strong enough, you won’t be able to use heavy weights during your back workout. Not mentioning concentration: you won’t be able to focus on your back if you are too busy trying to keep the bar from slipping out of your hands.
Many believe the key is increasing grip strength, which is important indeed, especially if you have powerlifting aspirations. But if your first priority is working your back, you’d better use lifting straps. By using lifting straps you will be able to work your back much more intensely and efficiently. And, not the least, it is much easier to disconnect your biceps from the move this way. Namely, it is a common issue that the biceps takes a significant part of the load.
4. Machine Mania
True, there are great lat machines these days. They can help you feel your lats, which is a good thing for mind-muscle connection. However, you should not fall for working with machines all the time. Doing so, you will limit the range of motion, and a limited motion range might even cause injuries in the long run.
Do as many exercises with free weights as machine exercises. Your training routine should be based on pull-ups, rows and deadlifts. It is best to do a pull-up and a rowing exercise during each workout, and a deadlift during every second workout.
5. Involving Accessory Muscles to a Too Large Extent
Many have trouble “getting in the groove” when it comes to feeling the back muscles, mostly because of wrong technique or too much weight. That’s when one helps with the lower back muscles when doing deadlifts or pull themselves up using the biceps, failing to arch the back etc. These mistakes should be corrected if you want to provide maximum stimuli for your back muscles.
Keep in mind: the weight is just a tool, not the goal itself. Use only as much weight which still enables you to do the exercise in a strict form. Plus, it is also important that you should focus on your elbows when doing the exercise, not the bar or your hands. Lifting straps can be of a great help for making you focus on your elbows and use the power of your back instead of using your arms too much. Again, the key is: Concentrate! Always pay extra attention to identify the muscles that are actually working while you are doing the exercise. If there is no other way, increase rep counts brutally. You bet the working muscles will burn like hell so there won’t be any more doubts about focus (if this was your problem).
That’s all, folks. If you recognized yourself in any of the above points, you’d better start working on those issues so you can use the full potential of your back!
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