Back-training: common mistakes
Take a look at these:
#1 Missing the target
Because your back is such a vast and complicated muscle group, there is much confusion about how to best train various areas. Many believe you simply need to pull your hands to the area you want to stimulate–low for lower lats, high for upper lats etc.–but it’s not that easy to hit the target.
For lat width, focus on chins and pulldowns with a grip wider than shoulder width. For lat thickness, focus on freeweight rows: barbell, T-bar and dumbbell. The key to lower lat activation is keeping your elbows close to your sides and pulling them as far back as possible. Two good exercises are underhand, shoulder-width pull-downs and one-arm low-cable rows, both performed with maximum ranges of motion at the contractions.
To hit your middle, upper-back muscles–especially the rhomboids, and lower and middle trapezius–do wide-grip rows pulled to your chest. Using a Smith machine or a low cable while seated, instead of a barbell, can make balancing easier when rowing to your chest.
#2 Neglecting the lower back
One area not mentioned in our preceding rundown is spinal erectors. That’s because the most common problem here is not in missing the target, it’s in failing to even try. It is true that your lower back is stimulated during virtually any standing exercise, but to maximize the size and strength of your lower erector set, you need some isolation time, too.
Do deadlifts at least every other back workout. Deads work your spinal erectors in conjunction with numerous other muscles. Do 4-6 sets of lowerback isolation exercises at the end of each back routine. Back extensions, stiff-leg deadlifts (note: these are different from Romanian deadlifts, which involve less flexion and extension of the spine, and more hip flexion and extension to focus on the hams and glutes) and good mornings are excellent erector isolators. Another exercise is the back crunch, which begins like a back extension, but is a much shorter movement. Instead of bending at your waist/hips, contract your abs and curl your torso down (as if doing an ab crunch), and then rise back up by contracting your erectors.
The other 3 tips are coming on our next article, deal? Have a great week and always remember: look for professional help!