What’s one of the first things you notice when you see a bodybuilder? That huge and never ending back. You may not want to become a bodybuilder, but the point is: huge backs are impressive. And most guys that go to the gym want one.
You will see lots of guys with huge arms or huge chest in your gym, but probably there are just a few with a good developed back. The truth is, developing a huge, thick and wide back is actually quite hard.
Today I am bringing you 6 basic yet effective (and often forgotten by a lot of people) tips to build a back that eclipses the sun.
Let’s get started!
MMC IS EVERYTHING
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: If you want a bigger back you need to improve your MMC (mind muscle connection). One of the big reasons why people find it so hard to develop their back is the lack of focus. Since you can’t see it on the mirror when you are training it, you need to imagine it working instead.
You need to visualize every exercise you are going to do before you start working out. You need to visualize your muscles contracting and working on every rep during every set, and you have to be 100% focused on your task, which is working on your back as effectively as you can.
Tip: do a couple of warm up sets with your eyes closed, trying to visualize your back working and every muscle fiber in it contracting. This way you already telling your brain what you are supposed to feel during the rest of the workout.
See where the fingers of the spotter/partner are toughing?
One of the most effective ways to potentiate MMC and engage the correct muscles is to actually touch them. If you have a training partner, ask him/her to touch the muscle you are working every few reps to “remind your brain” what it is supposed to be contracting and to remind yourself to engage and contract the muscles you are supposed to.
If you train by yourself, you still can do this on unilateral movements. Let’s say you are doing a one arm cable pullover, for example. Touch your lat with the hand that is not doing the work.
If you have a poor MMC, add this to your workouts and you will notice the difference.
THE BASICS ARE THE KEY
With so many workouts and exercises all over social media (specially Instagram) it’s easy to lose a bit of perspective of what you should be doing and what not.
All those fancy and crazy exercises may be very “Instagramable” and fancy but they are probably not the most effective. The basics are the key. Always. It doesn’t matter what muscle group are we talking about; the basics are the basics for a reason. And that reason is because they are the exercises that work the best. Most of the times they are very versatile too: you can do different grips, add different accessories, hit different angles, etc.
Of course, those crazy exercises have their place too, but 80% - 90% of your workouts should consist of the basics. If you want to add an exercise or two of this type just for fun and to do something different, do it! I do it too sometimes, but don’t base your workouts on them.
We always tend to overcomplicate things. Effective training is not that complicated: basic exercises with proper form, heavy weight and good balance between intensity and training volume ;)
SLOW IT DOWN AND SQUEEZE
This one is related to the first point. Again, since you can’t see your back in the mirror when you are working it, it is hard to see if you are doing things correctly.
So, in order to compensate that, take your time to squeeze on every rep. If you’ve performed a set of dumbbell rows and you haven’t felt a thing on your back, that’s a wasted set. That simple. Take your time on every rep to squeeze and engage your back till you actually can feel it contracting and working. Slow down your sets and feel what you are supposed to feel.
Otherwise you will be losing your time and energy.
INCREASE INTENSITY AND FREQUENCY
Your back is the biggest muscle group in your upper body, which means it can handle a lot of intensity and volume.
Most people struggle to grow their back because they just take it too easy. Your back days should be very intense and challenging… and more frequent. Frequency is the other factor you should increase when programming your back-training protocol. Reduce your training volume, increase the intensity and increase frequency. Studies show that a higher frequency (and lower training volume) approach is more effective for back growth and development than just a huge high-volume monster back session per week.
Two back days a week, with around 15 - 20 working sets per day, should be a good starting point.
EAT AND REST
I feel like most people don’t remember this when they read articles about muscle growth. And most articles don’t include the reminder.
If you want to grow you need to be in a caloric surplus. You can train your back (or any other muscle group) as much as you want, but if you are not in a surplus, you won’t grow. That simple. Eating enough calories is as important (or even more) as training. So, make sure that you are eating enough if you want to grow.
The other factor that a lot of articles forget to mention is rest. Your back needs to rest and recover. If you have spent 90 mins today training your back like animal, don’t go to the gym tomorrow and spend other another 90 mins training your back.
You want to increase intensity and frequency, not to rip your back off your body. Make sure you sleep enough, and your back is fully recovered before training it again. 48 – 72 hours in between back sessions should be enough, but it will be different on every person.
In short, eat-train-sleep-repeat. As cliché as it sounds, it is how it works.
That’s it for today’s post!! If you have any doubt, question, suggestion or constructive critic, please do not hesitate to let it in the comments section or use my social media.
And don’t forget to share the post!
See you in the next one! :)