Workout 05: Back & Abs
- Grasp the pull bar with a grip wider than your shoulder-width.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slowly raise the bar in a controlled motion back to the starting position. Your arms should be fully extended and your lats fully stretched.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.
- 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!
- Load an appropriate weight onto the end of the T-bar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let your arms follow naturally until the T-bar is returned to its starting position.
5. Bent Over Dumbbell Row
- Find a flat bench and place a dumbbell on each side. Start by placing your right knee on top of the bench.
- Bend your torso forward from your waist. Your upper body should be parallel to the ground. Place your right hand on the bench with your palm facing down, above where your knee is positioned. Place your left foot on the ground beside the bench.
- Use your left hand to pick up the dumbbell with an overhand grip (your palm should be facing your torso). Keep your arm fully extended and make sure to keep your lower back straight.
- Keep your elbow close to your side while you pull the weight straight up towards your chest. As you pull the weight up, concentrate on squeezing your back muscles and shoulder blades (you should feel a contraction in your back muscles).
- Slowly lower the weight straight down with control.
- Alternate sides.
1. Kneeling Cable Crunch
Caution: Do not choose a weight that is too heavy. This can result in straining your lower back.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slightly flex your hips forward. There should be tension on the cable, and you should feel a stretch in your abs.
- 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.
- Slowly reverse back to the starting position. Keep as much tension in your abs during this whole movement.
Stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding dumbbells.
Jump into a wide squat position and touch the floor (or close to the floor) with one arm extended towards the floor.
- Jump your feet back together in a straight, standing position.
- Jump immediately back into a wide squat position and touch the floor with opposite hand.
- Keep alternating arms back and forth.
*Try to keep your chest lifted while you do this.
- Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out into an “X” position.
- In one movement, bring one arm straight up across your body while simultaneously lifting your opposing leg and lifting your head.
- Attempt to touch one arm to your opposite ankle, or try to come as close as you can.
- Alternate sides.
- 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.
- Inhale as you lower yourself downward, until your chest nearly touches the ground.
- Exhale and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.