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Workout 30: Back & Abs


Back Exercises

1. Close Grip 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.

2. Straight Arm Rope Pulldown

  1. Attach a rope at your shoulder-level on the pulley of the pulldown machine. Grab the bar with an overhand grip with your palms facing downward, and make sure your grip is wider than your shoulder-width.
  2. Take a couple steps back and make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Slightly hinge at the waist so that your torso is leaning forward. Keep your arms fully extended so that they’re parallel to the ground. Your arms can have a slight bend at the elbow.
  3. Pull the rope down while keeping your arms straight. Continue pulling down until your hands are beside your thighs; you should feel a contraction in your lats. 
  4. Reverse this movement while keeping your arms fully straight.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Reverse Grip Seated Cable Row

  1. Sit down at a cable tower with a row attachment. Grip the handle underhand at shoulder width. Brace through the core before beginning the movement.
  2. Pull the handle to your chest, keeping your back upright and tight throughout the movement.
  3. Focus on bringing the shoulder blades together at the end of the range of movement. Return to the start position under control, maintaining the same braced position in your torso.

Abs Exercises


1. Standing Oblique Cable Crunch

  1. Start off standing with your side next to a high pulley cable machine with a grip attachment connected to the machine.
  2. Grasp the handle with one of your hands, with your feet shoulder width apart and the other arm rested at your side.
  3. Slowly pull down with the arm grasping the cable with your obliques until you feel a stretch in your abs.
  4. Return back to the starting position and repeat. Only when you’re done with one side, move to the opposite side. 
  5. Repeat! 

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. 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.

4. Plank

  1. Position yourself face-down on the ground and place your hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your back as straight as possible, push your body off the ground, through your hands.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself downward, until your chest nearly touches the ground.
  3. Exhale and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.