Super Intense Back Workout

21-10-2016 | 
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Here we are again, with an offbeat training method, because we dig these quasi heretic approaches. The concept is as follows: super-strict repetitions with a slow negative phase and an even slower positive phase. Plus, all exercises are isolation exercises, including deadlift.

Isolated deadlift?! WTF?

The name is quite weird, I agree. How could an exercise be isolated, if it works the full body by nature? Alright, let me tell you a secret: deadlift will never be completely isolated. I mean, “completely”. But, since it is a back program, you can guess what it will be concentrated on.
When does your back work in this exercise? Well, at the lowest point, as you are lifting the bar up from the ground, your legs will do the work. So, first step is to eliminate this phase. Today, there is a power rack in every well-equipped gym. So, all you need to do is to set the safety pins in line with your knees. This will be the starting position.
It there is no power rack, do not despair: pick up the weight from the ground only at the first rep and next time, lower it only to your knees. Please note that stopping the bar at half of the motion range (at your knees) would kill your lower back... if you did this with a heavy weight. But now, the weight does not matter. The goal is to bomb your back muscles to pieces by doing every single rep as strictly as possible.
First, put your ego aside, because you will need to reduce the weights drastically – to about 50% of your one-rep max.

To cut a long story short, let’s see the full routine:

  • Sit-ups with leg raises 3x10 reps
  • Hyperextensions 3x10 reps
  • Concentrated deadlifts, 4x10-12 reps
  • Single-arm pulldowns to the chest, 4x10 reps
  • “Twisted” rows with low pulley cables, 4x10 reps

Please don’t let the relatively low rep counts mislead you: slowing down the positive phase is of key importance. Forget about explosive technique for a while. If you keep the weight under full control all along, flex your back at the top point and let it stretch fully at the lowest point, it will be quite a challenging workout. You better get a pair of lifting straps or hooks, if you haven’t got any yet, so that you can isolate your back to the maximum possible extent.
Sit-ups with leg raises and hyperextensions are perfect warm-up exercises, which will help you reduce the risk of injury while doing deadlifts. You don’t need to go mad in these two exercises. With so many (or few) reps, you will be far from failure anyway. But in the rest of the exercises, you should reach failure in the last set, so choose the weights accordingly.

Single-arm pulldowns to the chest?

You can hardly see this form in the gym, even though I think it’s quite self-evident: grab a single-handed handle and do pulldowns to the chest with it. You can do it by sitting to the side of a lat pulldown machine, but a simple high pulley will do, too. If you wanna make it even more intense, you might as well do both sides alternatingly, without rest.

Twisted rows are not much different from the traditional machine version, but this small thing will make a big difference: here too, you will need single-handed handles instead of a bar or rope. Your palms should be facing the ground in the starting position. As you are starting to pull your elbow backwards, start to twist your wrist inwards at the same time, as if you were doing single-handed bicep curls. As a result, you can press your back muscles together better in the top position, especially if you flex and hold them for a few seconds.Of course, here too, you can also alternate your arms without rest, if your lungs are strong enough.

What you can expect from this program:

  • The slow positive and negative phases make it more than suitable for developing the mind-muscle connection.
  • Thanks to the slower and more concentrated form, it pumps an extra amount of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood into your muscles.
  • This unusual type of movement is also great for tricking your nervous system, or for shocking, if you have reached a plateau.

If you don’t feel your back while training, or you just want some variety to confuse your body, it is definitely worth a try. The slow negative phase can work magic. Plus, it is also more joint-friendly: your muscles will do more work in each repetition, so they will tire out sooner, and you will need to lower the weights.In other words, less load will be exerted on your joints, while the targeted muscle dies just as it would during a normal workout, or even more ;)

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