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Workout 1: 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 yours 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. 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.

3. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Slowly raise the bar in a controlled motion back to the starting position. Your arms should be fully extended and your lats fully stretched.

4. 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, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
    2. While 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.
    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!

    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. Starfish Crunch

    1. Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out into an “X” position.
    2. In one movement, bring one arm straight up across your body while simultaneously lifting your opposing leg and lifting your head.
    3. Attempt to touch one arm to your opposite ankle, or try to come as close as you can.
    4. Alternate sides.

    4. Plank 

    1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned beneath your shoulders. Keep your arms parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance. (You should be in a push-up position, only on your forearms rather than your hands).
    2. Ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Be careful to not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
    3. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your back. Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.
    4. Keep your back flat and hold the position for as long as possible without compromising form.