Workout 12: Back & Abs


Back Exercises

1. Pull-Up

  1. Grasp the pull bar with a grip wider than your shoulder-width.
  2. Take a deep breath and depress the shoulder blades. Drive your elbows straight down to the floor to pull yourself up. Simultaneously, try to activate your lats.
  3. Pull your chin towards the bar until your lats are fully contracted. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat. Try to do this motion slowly.

2. Wide Grip Seated Cable Row

  1. Sitting at a low pulley cable station, hold the straight-bar attachment with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Using your legs, push your torso back so that your arms are fully extended and you are supporting the weight.
  2. Keeping your chest forward, shoulders down, and back arched, pull the bar toward your waist. 
  3. Return the weight to the starting position.

3. Single Arm Smith Machine Row

  1. Set the smith machine bar low. Bend over so your back is at a 90 degree angle and lift the bar out of its place so that your arm is hanging down freely while holding the bar.
  2. Remaining with your back at a 90 degree angle, pull the bar up, driving your elbow to the ceiling. Keep your elbow tucked into your side as you pull.  
  3. Slowly let the bar back down and repeat.

4. Lat Pulldown

  1. Attach a wide-grip handle to the lat pulldown machine. Adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height to prevent your lower body from moving while performing this movement.
  2. For a regular lat pulldown, grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your arms at the end of the flat bar. 

For a reverse-grip lat pulldown, use an underhand grip and your palms facing your body. 

For a close grip, your hands should be positioned shoulder-width apart.

  1. Extend both arms up above you while holding the bar. Keep your back upright, create a slight curvature in your lower back, and stick out your chest.
  2. Keep your torso stationary and pull the bar down towards your body by drawing your shoulder blades and upper arms down and back. Squeeze your back muscles during this movement. 
  3. Slowly raise the bar in a controlled motion back to the starting position. Your arms should be fully extended and your lats fully stretched.

5. T-bar Row

  1. Load an appropriate weight onto the end of the T-bar.
  2. Stand over the bar so that it’s in between your legs and your chest is resting on the pad. Keep your back flat and make sure you have a firm grip on each side of the V-grip handle. 
  3. Remove the bar from the rest. Keep your chest up, your hips back, and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Lead the movement with your back, your arms should follow. The focus should not be on the angle of your arms, but on the contraction of your back.
  4. After your back reaches its maximum contraction and your shoulder blades are retracted, slowly let the weight of the bar pull your shoulder blades down to stretch your back. 
  5. Let your arms follow naturally until the T-bar is returned to its starting position.

Ab Exercises

1. Kneeling Cable Crunch

Caution: Do not choose a weight that is too heavy. This can result in straining your lower back.

  1. Find a cable station and attach a rope handle to the top pulley. Grasp the rope attachment at each end, and kneel down so your knees are bent at a 90° angle.
  2. Your arms should be stretched over your head. Your palms should be facing each other when holding the rope and your hands should be placed next to your face.
  3. Slightly flex your hips forward. There should be tension on the cable, and you should feel a stretch in your abs.
  4. Keep your hips stationary, contract your abs, and crunch your chest towards your hips until your head is between your knees. Your elbows should be approaching the middle of your thighs. After reaching this point, hold the contraction for a second.
  5. Slowly reverse back to the starting position. Keep as much tension in your abs during this whole movement.

2. Hanging Leg Lift

  1. Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arms length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
  2. Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Hold for 0.5-1 seconds. 
  3. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

3. V-Up

  1. Lie straight on your back with your legs together and your arms together, straight above your head.
  2. In one motion, raise your legs off the floor while keeping them straight. Also raise your torso and hands to meet your legs in the middle of your body.  
  3. Repeat!

4. Bicycle Crunch 

  1. Lie flat with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your head slightly above your neck. Lift your shoulders into a crunch position.
  2. Raise yours legs so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your shins parallel to the ground.
  3. Simultaneously, slowly go through a cycle pedal motion kicking forward with the right leg while pulling in the knee of the left leg. 
  4. Bring your right elbow close to your left knee by crunching to the side. Then crunch to the opposite side as you cycle your legs and bring your left elbow closer to your right knee. 
  5. Alternate sides.

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