Workout 64: Back


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. 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.ย 

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

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.ย 
  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.

3. 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.ย 
  3. Return the weight to the starting position.

4. T-Bar Row

  1. Load an appropriate weight onto the end of the T-bar.
  2. Stand over the bar so that itโ€™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.ย 
  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.ย 
  5. Let your arms follow naturally until the T-bar is returned to its starting position.

5. 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 theyโ€™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.ย 
  4. Reverse this movement while keeping your arms fully straight.

6. Bent Over Barbell Row

  1. Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist. Ensure that you are keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
  2. Keeping the torso stationary, lift the barbell towards your torso. Keep your elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
  3. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.ย 
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Do not bounce up and down to get the bar up and down, and do NOT perform this exercise if you have back issues!