Monday: Back and Biceps

The sets listed in the workout below do not include warm-up sets.

Back Sets Reps *
Lat Pull-downs 2 4 to 6
“V”-Bar Pull-downs 2 4 to 6
Barbell Rows 2 4 to 6
Alternating Dumbbell Curls 2 4 to 6
Straight Bar Curls 2 4 to 6

* Remember, the weight you use should be light enough to do four reps, but heavy enough so you can’t do more than 6 reps. Each set should be done to positive failure.

Lat Pull-downs are performed on a cable machine. This is a popular back exercise and basically simulates pull-ups, but you can adjust the weight. Do these in front not behind the neck. Keep your elbows back and pull the bar to about mid chest. Use a grip about 6 inches wider than shoulder width. At the top of the movement stretch your lats and flex them at the same time

* A big mistake most people make doing pull-ups or pull downs is that they use too wide of a grip. Just because the bar is bent on the ends does not mean you should grab it there. Too wide of a grip increases stress on the fragile AC joint and also limits range of motion of the lat muscles. The wider the grip the less overload the lat muscles will get.

“V”-Bar Pull-downs are performed on a Lat Pull Down Machine. Use a V bar and pull the bar to just bellow your sternum. Lean back on the way down about 45 degrees. Stretch and flex at the top.

Barbell Rows are best performed on a bench to allow for a full stretch of the upper back muscles. This is an excellent back movement to add thickness and width. Keep your back straight and pull the weight to the bottom of your rib cage with your elbows in toward your sides. Lower the weight under control and stretch at the bottom.

Alternating Dumbbell Curls should be done standing. Curl the weight up one at a time. Supinate (rotate from palm facing your side to palm facing up) your wrist on the wrist on the way up. On the way down keep your palm facing up the entire way. One thing about curls that’s important is that at the top of the movement you do not cross the perpendicular plane to the floor. Always keep constant tension on the bicep the entire movement.

Straight Bar Curls are still the king of all the bicep exercises. Your form should be slightly loose. A good bit of weight can be used with this exercise. I find most people don’t use near as much as they could or should. It’s okay to be a little loose with your form as it will allow you to go a good bit heavier. Don’t be stupid and swing the weight like a mad man. Use a very controlled form of cheating. Lower the weight twice as slowly as you raise it.

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