Workout 56: Back & Triceps   


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 wide bar 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 bar 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.

Tricep Exercises


1. Skull Crusher

  1. Lie back on a flat or slightly inclined bench. Using an overhand grip, grasp the innermost grips on the EZ bar. Hold it with your elbows tucked in and your arms perpendicular to the ground.
  2. Keeping your upper arms stationary, lower the bar by unlocking your elbows to a flexed position. Pause once the bar is directly above your forehead.
  3. Reverse the bar back to the starting position by extending your elbows while flexing your tricep.

2. Rope Pulldown

  1. Secure a rope attachment to the high pulley at its highest position. Stand in front of the pulley, hinge at your hips, and grab the rope with your palms facing each other.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your torso, while using your triceps to pull the rope downwards toward the outside of your thighs. At the most contracted point of the motion, your arms should be fully extended and perpendicular to the ground. Your forearms should be the only part moving. 
  3. After reaching the contracted position, slowly bring the rope up to the starting point.

3. Close Grip Bench Press

Caution: In order to protect yourself, it is advised to have a spotter help you.

  1. Start by lying on a flat bench. Retract your shoulder blades as far back as possible so they are touching the back of the pad and make sure to keep them there during the movement. 
  2. Using a close overhand grip, more narrow than shoulder-width apart, lift the bar from the rack. Hold the bar directly above your sternum with your arms locked.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the bar until you feel the it on (or close to) your chest. Your forearm should create a 45° angle to your body. To optimize the workout for your tricep, keep your elbows tucked in close to your torso at all times. 
  4. Bring the bar back to the starting position as you exhale. If you can, try to take at least  twice as long to go down than you did when coming up.

4. Diamond Push-Up

  1. Start by lying on the floor face down with your hands closer than shoulder-width apart. Hold your torso up at arm’s length.
  2. Lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor.
  3. Using your triceps, press your upper body back up and squeeze your chest.

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